Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: Grandma's Ride
By May Flowers
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Tears streamed down Mom’s face as she managed to step into the living room. Grammy was waiting as she struggled to say, “I can’t take care of you anymore.”
It had started out to be a beautiful spring day, the sun was warm, and the air was full of possibilities. It had been six weeks since Mom had moved in with Grammy, to care for her because she had broken a bone in her foot. The fracture meant bed rest while it healed. She still lived in her own home at the grand age of ninety.
I was proud of Mom when she said she would look after Grammy. I visited as often as I could. We had such good times. Grammy was always interested in what we had to say, and she had such fascinating stories of the depression, and taking care of the family when grandpa was in the war. She could remember all the names and birthdays of her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Grammy flourished under Mom’s care, but that ended when Moms’ back gave out. Mom knew without the doctor telling her, that those precious days with Grammy were over.
It was going to be another two weeks before Mom could handle the drive home. I felt so helpless because I knew Mom was worried about Grammy and she could do nothing about it.
I arrived as quickly as I could from work when Mom phoned. Hannah, the seventy-year-old companion to an aunt who had arthritis, arrived also. The only option was for Grammy to go live with them. I suggested we wait for Eric to get off work, so he could help get Grammy down the stairs.
Eric arrived and Grammy, sitting in her wheelchair wearing a pink dress and white sweater that matched her hair, with pink crocheted slippers on her feet, was ready to go. Mom and Eric looked as horrified as I felt, as Hannah pushed Grammy out on to the landing. She decided she should take Grammy down the stairs.
Hannah maneuvered Grammy onto the top step and as she pushed towards the second, she seemed stuck as she leaned forward with the wheelchair. The more she leaned forward, the farther back the wheelchair tipped. By the third stair, Grammy was laying on her back in the wheelchair looking up at the sky, her skinny legs sticking up like two fancy toothpicks. Eric frantically tried to grab something, anything, to get her upright, but there was nothing to grab. The wheels just spun when he reached for them. Hannah bent over as far as she could, her arms stretched out to the limit. Her face was mere inches from the stairs, and she was unable to move one foot forward from the landing. I marveled that she was so flexible, and hugged the purses she had given me to hold, unable to shove her out of the way and grab the wheelchair.
To Eric’s look of horror and my whispered, “Oh no,” Hannah let go, unable to hold the wheelchair any longer. We watched helplessly as it thumped down the remaining steps, Grammy jouncing like a rag doll.
The wheelchair came to a stop on the last step. Grammy lay on her back, her slippered feet poking in Eric’s face.
He was white as a sheet, as he gasped out, “Are you alright Grandma?”
She chuckled, “Yes. That was quite a ride, wasn’t it?”
He grinned, ‘Yes it was.” He looked so relieved.
We managed to get the wheelchair upright and Grammy settled into Hannah’s car. Eric came inside with me, his face covered in sweat, and managed a weak, “I thought I killed Grandma.”
We laugh about it now, but at that moment…
Grammy died that year, unable to return to her home and I was asked to give the family tribute for her. There was so much I wanted to say. I had given Grandpa’s tribute when I was sixteen. I still have trouble picturing him in knickers. I miss them both.
Mom said God gave her that gift of time with Grammy, and she treasured every moment, and learned a lot. She said Grammy’s example of patience, love and acceptance was so Christ like, and was the epitome of what a grandma and mom should be. She said those things were so lacking in her own family.
I watch Mom playing with our children. They call her Grandma, but I see Grammy.
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