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.