Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bittersweet Magic

When I got married I not only gained a wonderful husband but a wonderful family as well.
Including, a set of awesome grandparents.  They're sweet, strong, inspiring and downright amazing!  
They celebrated they're 70th wedding anniversary a couple of years ago.  
Grandma is now 91 and Grandpa is 93.  

Grandpa has beaten the odds on life so many times.  Including, an accident when he was about 21 when he was given a mere four hours to live.  Years later he lost half a lung because of a tumor. Then, about 25 years ago he had a heart attack.  I think there are other similar stories about him but those are the big ones.  He's one tough guy!  We say that if anyone can beat the odds, it's Grandpa.  In recent years he's become almost blind, deaf and walking has become difficult but he's tried to not let it slow him down.  

He's been beating the odds again over the past couple of months.  He was in the hospital with pneumonia before Thanksgiving. They put him on oxygen full time and he went home.  He seemed to be getting better and stronger after that.  But, he had to go back into the hospital again a couple of weeks ago and his health took a drastic turn.  He was put on minimal life support and we weren't sure if he was going to make it.  However, by Christmas week he was doing well enough to move from the hospital to convalescent care. 

Grandma and Grandpa's love is deep and inspiring.  She stays by his side almost constantly.
There have been times when he wanted to be alone with her and would point to his lips wanting a kiss.  The night before his health got really bad, he had the nurses call Grandma late at night asking to see her.  He wanted to tell her that he loved her and hold her hand.  Amazing love!

Grandpa spent Christmas in the convalescent hospital and Grandma stayed with him most of the day.
We went to visit and it meant a lot to him.  He told us all how much he loved us and put an exclamation on it by saying, "I mean it!"  He has such a big heart.  I know it was hard for him to not spend the day with the family like he's always done.

He mentioned a couple of things while we were there...that he'd love to hear my daughter play "Silent Night" on her harp and that he loves split pea soup so much that he "could eat it two or three times a week".  We had to make those two wishes come true!  So, this afternoon we took him split pea soup, some flowers from our garden, and my daughter brought her little travel harp to play for him.
We managed to get him to eat a few bites of soup.  A big accomplishment considering he's hardly eating a thing these days.  After that, my daughter sat and played her harp for him.

The very first song was "Silent Night" and he started to cry.  It may have been at that point that Grandma and her daughter/my mother-in-law started to tear up as well.  Grandpa loved it and asked her to keep playing and playing.  Even the man who shared a room with him was enjoying it.  He was trying to sing along.  Nurses kept peeking in and a few came in to listen for a bit.  One stayed for a while and sang.  She seemed excited to see how it was affecting the other man in the room who has Alzheimers.  He kept telling my daughter that the music was beautiful.  Grandpa asked about hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".  My daughter looked it up on her cell phone/Internet and read the music from the tiny screen as she played and as Grandpa moved onto his side for a nap. 

It always amazes us how powerfully, emotionally, touching harp music is for people.
Today was no exception.  In fact, it may have been the biggest example.  It seemed to move Grandpa very deeply and touch so many others that heard it.  What a gift my daughter has!  I'm blown away at how big and wonderful it is.   And, so grateful for her, her giving heart, and what we witnessed today. It was an emotional and moving afternoon that we'll always remember.
It was bittersweet but it was magic!


Cindie said...

Just reading your post brings tears to my eyes - what a special afternoon.

Frantic D said...

Thank you for your story. It is amazing what music can do to comfort someone. Lauren has a true talent and sharing that with grandpa is love.

judith said...

So touching.

Teresa Kasner said...

Now I'm in tears too.. what a moving story! I read it to Dayle and he went.. wahhh.. it moved him too.. in fact he's over there wiping tears from his eyes.

You are blessed to have such a talented and generous daughter.

  *H*A*P*P*Y* *N*E*W* *Y*E*A*R*!*

((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Art and Sand said...

What a beautiful story - I loved reading about Grandpa and your sweet gifts to him at Christmas.

kathyinozarks said...

I am crying now too-beautiful-thank you for sharing

FredaB said...

This was a wonderful post about a real life family. It was very touching and makes you understand what
love there is in many families.

I had a Father In Law very like your Grandpa and he was a wonderful man. I still miss him.


benita said...

What a sweet way for a family to bond and what a blessing it brought to the others around you guys.

My payers are with you.

Delighted Hands said...

I am all choked up...what a ministry of love she shared!

Susan said...

Such a beautiful gift your daughter has (and gave). Music does truly soothe the soul and heals many hurts. Bless you and your family.

Debbie said...

Truly a pricless gift to give. Thank you for sharing on your blog.2526346653

Mereknits said...

I have goose bumps after reading this post. Your daughter is amazing and obviously she gets it from all of you in your wonderful family. Music is so healing, I am so glad she brought a smile to so many people and great peace to Grandpa. She will never forget this wonderful act of kindness.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a beautiful story to share. I'm so glad you get to spend time with them. Enjoy your week my friend. You really are a special person. Hugs, Diane

Maureen said...

Wonderful story to share with us - thank you... one can't help from tearing up too. Merry Christmas.

hula-la said...

Absolutely beautiful post! I, too am blessed to have a musical children who have even sparked an interest in me to start playing the honor of my Mother's Hawaiian culture. Mele Kalikimaka and Aloha to you and yours.

Quinn said...

There is just something about the sound of a harp...such a pure tone. And the instrument itself is so appealing. Can anyone walk past a harp and not want to reach out and touch the strings? I know I can't.

Thank you for sharing this experience, and letting us get to know your Grandpa and Grandma a little bit. I'm another reader with tears in her eyes. And your daughter is wonderful, as you know!

lynn cockrell said...

What a lovely and touching post! Thanks for sharing this with us.

Roxie said...

Thank you for sharing this. Blessings on Grandma and Grandpa and blessings on your daughter. A local hospice group includes a harpist who will come and play for the dying person. It is balm to the soul.

Sandy O' said...

All I can say is "WOW!" ... And please pass the tissues! Bless you and your family!

Patty Antle said...

What a beautiful story and so inspiring. Thanks for sharing your special family with us.

Deborah said...

I'm late on commenting but I wanted you to know how much I loved reading your post. Thank-you.

Neesie said...

Wow that's such an emotional post and brought tears to my eyes for so many reasons.
Thank you for sharing such intimate details.
Music certainly touches your heart and especially when it's harp and performed by a loving young relative.
My warm best wishes go out to your all of your family xoxo

KarenB said...

What a sweet story! How is Grandpa doing now? I hope he is getting stronger.