What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, February 09, 2009

van der Jagts

On Friday, I loaded up my children and hitchhiked a ride with my mom to visit Oma and Opa.

Would you believe Oma and Opa hadn't yet met Adele'?!?

I'd been meaning to go out there-but with the holidays, visitors and every OTHER weekend being devoted to splitting wood to heat this monstrosity we call "home"~ it just hasn't worked out on the weekends. Then, Mom and I planned for several weeks to go-but week after week Oma would beg us not to come because she was too ill or too tired.

Finally, in frustration, I told Mom we ought not wait until she is feeling better, because the truth of the matter is, she probably won't. The truth is~ she is dying.

Cancer. Remission. Cancer. Remission. Her whole life has been a fight~ with uncaring, unfeeling disease spreading more and more throughout her body, stealing from her energy, wellness and forcing the sacrifice of even her own body. Her teeny five-foot frame holds within it a gigantic will and an incredible strength though, that unleashed, has made her a worthy adversary.

But on Friday, when we went into the Retirement facility meeting room, her exhaustion was written on her withered face. In her eighties now, she continues to fight...only this time the fight happens to be with one of the most devastating cancers (esophageal),with a weakened heart to boot and with no energy at all, since the simple task of EATING food has become a chore.

My six-foot tall frame bent down to kiss her and in doing so, grasped her upper arm and frighteningly felt bone covered with soft, draping skin. Clothing costumes skeleton when fat cannot. My laugh was jovial but inwardly I groaned. Her upper arm felt like my wrist and there she stood.

Throughout lunch I laughed and chatted with others, but stole secret glances at Oma and caught her furrowed brow and exhausted deepset eyes as she tried to muster the energy to get through the lunch. When someone looked, she smiled. She tried so hard to make it, to get through the visit but the truth is, she was worn out.

I told her I'd like to get some photos of her and Opa holding Adele' but worried she wouldn't have the strength so I told her Corynn could hold the baby sitting next to her. But that giant spirit flashed out of the tiny frame and told me "Ach, NO. I'll hold her!" So she did, smiling all the while.

I hope I have just a bit of her inward strength when I am gray-haired. And I thank God for every moment He gives me with her.

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Grandma Bibby said...

These pictures are priceless. I am so thankful that you finally were able to go. Each visit with them is a gift.

Bonnie said...

I've been meaning to ask you how she was doing. She has quite the brave "mask" on, but you're right, she looks tired. I pray for her when I think of it, and will continue to do so. These pictures are wonderful, and I'm glad you got in a visit!

Quinne said...

Continuing to keep your precious Oma & Opa close in my prayers as well. Love, Q

Michelle said...

I am so glad you and your mom went up there to visit! What precious photos and memories you will have.

I also am continuing to pray for Oma and Opa.

Peggy in Alaska said...

Oh how wonderful to still have an Oma & Opa! Your Oma is so beautiful! Her spirit shines through even though she is so ill! Look at the pride and love in her eyes as she holds her precious great-grandbaby and is surrounded by her loved ones!! I will keep her and all of your family in our prayers! My dear grandma Rose passed away almost 11 years ago at 90 yrs of age. How I miss her so! But I have sweet memories of the times we had together. Not as many as I would like as we lived so far away (over 4000 miles and an ocean apart) for so many years!
Peggy in alaska (hopefully soon to be NY, we'll practically be neighbors.. :) )

Andie said...

I am so thankful that you were able to spend time with them. THese pictures are priceless. I pray God gives her peace and comfort...and I'd like a bit of that spunk myself!!

PS...have you gotten in to have Adale checked yet? Just curious since I know she already has the BEST mom that God could have designed just for her!

Little Towhee said...

I think your Oma is beautiful. . .

abigail said...

May God strengthen her and you all in this difficult journey.

And, yes, she is beautiful.