Grandma Dawson

Had a great weekend at the lake. It was Dailah’s first trip and Trysten’s excitement was palpable for the past week as he remembered all the fun we have whenever we go. They are in the final stages of an addition so there was painting and things going on but it was a whole lot of fun, just as I remember. We even had our dear friends, the Hilsabecks, come out to say hello. It was awesome getting to spend some time with them.

I also got to visit my newest second cousin, Dawson Lee Bertran. As soon as I download his pictures you can see just how cute and charming (true to his name!) he really is. It was nice seeing all of my cousins and things and of course getting to hold baby Dawson did the heart good!

On a more somber note, my sister, my cousin and I visited my Grandma Dawson yesterday. She is 95 and has Alzheimer’s, among many other diseases, etc. Last week she went to the hospital and on Tuesday (the 5th) the doctor said she wouldn’t last 48 hours. This prompted my uncle from Texas to come say good-bye. As I’m sure you noticed, she is still living and beating the odds. She has congenitive heart failure so it is only a matter of time. At this stage I’m truly praying God takes her soon so she doesn’t have to go through a lot of pain when the time does come.

It is such a weird thing, relatives dying. Truth be told I was not extremely close to this Grandma and it was due in large part to her not being totally interested in a close relationship (even though we lived just 5 miles from her my whole life, and at one point we lived next door!). She didn’t always have the nicest things to say and would sporadically call me by my younger brother’s name (though to be fair, I was sporting an unflattering pixie cut at the time).

But she was my Grandma. It’s hard at this stage because I find myself not feeling the “right” to be sad. At some point you tell yourself that you shouldn’t feel sad seeings you never really had that great of relationship in the first place. But perhaps that’s why I am a sad. Some part of me not only mourns my inevitable loss, but also the loss that’s been there for 25 years. I just don’t know much about her. I know things only from stories from my dad or uncle (mostly my uncle). Grandpa Dawson died in a tragic drowning accident when I was quite young and the memories I have of him are there perhaps only because I’ve seen pictures. When we asked Grandma to write her memoirs she had just two entries, neither one was altogether interesting.

As a Christian I am excited for her new life after she dies. Her mind and body will be restored and she will again be renewed in God’s image. Not the image I saw on Sunday. Not the old, 85lb lady wasting away on her bed. Not the lady who doesn’t recognize her granddaughters and certainly not the lady who can’t say anything that comes out clearly. I feel so sad for my dad, who I’m sure can’t remember the last time Grandma expressed a whole lot of love or gave him a hug that every child needs from his/her mom. I hope he (and my uncles) can come to terms with the fact that their relationship might have to be built in Heaven where there will be no more anger or resentment getting in the way of a truly remarkable relationship.

Either way, here’s to my Grandma. The lady that called me “my smiler” in a few of my birthday cards. The lady that gave me Red Hots when I would come over to do laundry. The lady who made amazing pies and attempted to show us how before her mind started slipping. The lady who gave the world my dad and my uncles. The lady who somehow knitted such a tight relationship between her sons, they blessed me with my close relationships with my cousins. The lady who taught me how to sew. The Grandma who constantly reminded me to zip up my coat on a cold, Iowa winter day. The lady who survived the Great Depression, WWII, the death of a fiancé, the death of a husband and the death of her mind. The Grandma who asked if I was wearing white at my wedding. The lady who did crossword puzzles and had Christmas at her house. To the lady who (hopefully) gave my dad the ability to weather any physical storm and live a long, long life.

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