Monday, May 10, 2021

First You Pray

Clemmie, an institution in our family, was a dear lady quick to issue words of wisdom. She suffered no fools and always had a sense of humor.

Her advice to my daughter, if she ever had any problems with husband, was to just "Choke him and dare him to die."

She always looked on the positive side. She told me the one day. "You know what I say - first you cry, then you mourn, then you pray, then you get on with life."

When a physical therapist commented to her, "We can always hope and pray." She quickly corrected him, "No surree, you pray, then you hope." When he asked her if she thought she would be able to take some steps the following day, her response was, "Now, you know I ain't got no a $94 answer to your $84 question."

We had visited her in the hospital when her stays there had became more and more frequent. As she got more frail and her her gray hair thinned, we knew her time with us was growing nigh. But she was always upbeat. She always kept that sense of humor about her.

Then early the following week about 9:30 one evening her granddaughter called, "I just wanted to let you know Grandmama has given up she is ready to go home." Knowing she was already at 'home" and not at the hospital I was not sure how to interpret this.

So I asked when did this happen. Her reply, "Oh, just today. See she stopped eating and drinking last Friday."

"Oh, I am so sorry. What can we do?"

"Well I thought you might want to come see her before she passes. She's real weak but she opens her eyes and she knows who is in the room. I'm just not sure she'll be here tomorrow."

Obviously my initial interpretation that wrong. Good thing I didn't ask when the arrangements were. I thanked her for calling and told her we would probably be out there later that evening.

We did go and she was alive, just barely. It was Tuesday and she had not had anything to eat or drink since Friday.  Clemmie had told them weeks earlier, when it was time, it was time. She did not want any help. She was DNR. After we visited with her, we stepped in the kitchen to talk with her granddaughter.

"I don't see how long she can go on like this?"

"Well," she said,"we think she is waiting on my uncle Earl to come from Philadelphia. She keeps asking for him."

"When will he be here?"

"Not until Friday."

We left. I took the family some food on Thursday and Clemmie was about the same, just a shadow of her former self, still holding on for Earl.

On Saturday morning her granddaughter called, "Grandmama's gone."

I chose my words carefully for fear of misinterpreting her. For all I knew she could mean - "gone" to the hospital or "gone" up the road. Hopefully she had gone "home" as they say. "I am so sorry. But this has to be for the best. She was so frail."


"But did Earl make it?"

"Yes mam he did. His train came in about 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon."

When I put the phone down I knew a very important part of our family's life had ended. I also knew her words of wisdom would always be with us. 

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