Yesterday I had a crazy day of taking my grandma shopping for a new outfit for her grandson’s upcoming wedding. My dad said I was the perfect person to take her shopping because of my styling skills and I would have more patience than any of the other family members to take her dress shopping.
My grandma was like a kid receiving a toy when I arrived to pick her up. Someone was taking her out for the morning to fill in the empty space of time that had filled her life since my grandpa passed away a year and a half ago.
It has been a big adjustment for my grandma to live without her soul mate. Grandpa drove her everywhere, he handled the finances and she was used to being a housewife and homemaker. But when the love of your life passes away, who is there left to home make for? Sadly, since my grandpa’s passing my grandma’s memory has taken a turn for the worse and the most simplest of tasks have become a burden and have caused her to fret.
She had been recently fretting that she didn’t have anything nice to wear to the upcoming wedding of her grandson. Yesterday was the day to take her shopping and what a day it was.
With my daughter in tow, I lost grandma twice, and my daughter once while helping grandma try on clothes. Unfortunately there was little choice in styles for older women in their 70’s and 80’s. Everything was too dark, too bright, too bold, doesn’t have a collar, too expensive, too see through, too long, too short and at one point my grandma said ‘that dress looks like it’s been made by the devil’. EEeek!
We finally (praise God!) found a lovely beige suit jacket with matching skirt that was ‘just the right length’ and a blouse. It was an effort to find that outfit and after the purchase we went to Shingle Inn for morning tea.
At this point grandma talked seriously to me about the difficulties of not being able to think or remember things. She talked about how grandpa passed away and how she didn’t expect him to go. Why didn’t he go after she had gone? He would have coped with this life more than she was now.
I gently explained to grandma that God hadn’t called her home to heaven because his work for her life was still not complete. She argued ‘But what work? I can’t do anything! I can’t think and I can’t remember’. Her point was true and I couldn’t argue with it.
What was God doing? Couldn’t He see that grandma was struggling? It’s not like she could go and help with a soup kitchen or visit the sick and elderly.
But as I pondered about grandma’s remark, I concluded that maybe my grandma’s momentary troubles weren’t there to grow her, but to grow me and those that interact with her.
Maybe God is using my grandma to teach me the fruits of the spirit including love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
After I dropped my grandma home, later that afternoon I had a call from my dad requesting I ring grandma because she had started to fret that she had lost a dress that we had purchased that day.
I rang grandma and tried to ascertain what she had lost. She had lost the main blouse that went with her suit. I then worried that maybe she had thrown it in the bin so I organized to pick my husband from work and we drove to grandmas to find the new clothes.
When I arrived, the bags had been emptied but the clothes were gone – except the suit skirt. I started to fret then.
My husband and I looked through every cupboard and every orifice in that little self-contained unit to find the clothes. We looked in the microwave, oven, fridge, bathroom, dirty clothes hamper, bed, every draw and cupboard and practically every nook and cranny of that house. Half an hour later, my husband found the clothes in the garage.
My grandma asked if I had put them in there for her to which I frustratingly I replied no. It was at that moment I realized that maybe my grandma was still here on earth so that God could complete a good work in ME. My patience had been tested, my kindness had been stretched, my rising temper had to be controlled.
My grandma apologized profusely because she couldn’t remember putting the clothes in the garage. I was just thankful that we had found them and I put them in her wardrobe safe for when she would need to wear them.
As my husband drove me home, I pondered over the conversation I had with my grandma over morning tea and I realized that God still has a plan for grandma’s life and it’s not up to me or anyone else to judge when she’s ‘ready to go’. Instead I need to be thankful for the time that I have left to share with her and be thankful of the lessons that she will teach me before she’s called home.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”