I’m at home in Canada right now because my grandma has been sick and I wanted to be there to care for her and spend time with her while she is still with us. She has dementia and progressive aphasia so every time I see her she has a harder time finding her words. We spend most of our time trying to guess at what she wants to say while watching her struggle just to express herself. Something we all take for granted.
It reminds me of how precious this time is with her. Soon she may not be able to communicate at all and all of the stories and memories she used to share with us will only be in our memories. The blessing is that she still remembers us and I’m so grateful that. No matter what memories have been lost, I am still her granddaughter.
I’m also watching her experience moments of depression and hopelessness as her physical and mental health decline and I hold her while she cries like she held me as a child. In these moments she sometimes says she just wants to go to heaven and as much as this breaks my heart into a million pieces, I get it. This last stretch of her earthly life must seem exhausting and without purpose but to those of us who love her it is overflowing with purpose. She has lived for 91 years and I’m grateful for every second God has blessed us with her presence. She has taught us so much about unconditional love, true sacrifice for family and unknowingly what the love of Jesus looks like.
I find comfort in knowing where she is going and at times I wish I could go too. I wish I could be there to introduce her to each of my children and watch her wrap them in her warm hugs but the reality is that she will meet them before I do. On that day they will be some very lucky kiddos and I will be a very thankful mamma!
Because of her dementia, she still asks me at least once a day if I am going to have a baby and I have never been able to give her the answer she wants to hear. She tells me how she prays all the time for God to give us a baby and can’t understand why He won’t. I know that God has a plan and perfect timing but I have dreamt so long of sharing the news that I am pregnant with her, to tell her that her first great-grandchild is going to be born. For 3 years, every trip home has been planned out in my head about how and when I would tell her and every time I’ve only been able to tell her I lost the baby. I have come to realize now that she will probably never meet this miracle baby and it devastates me. All I can do is trust that God knows what’s best for me and for her, that He has a plan for every part of her life including the end of it.
Infertility has stolen so much from us, things that others take for granted because they came easily. There is so much lost- time, money, joy and of course, babies. I’m glad that it hasn’t stolen this time from me, that I’m not in the middle of a treatment cycle or miscarrying again, that I can just be here in service of her.
She has spent the last few days asking questions about adoption and how it all works while I tried to explain how complicated it is now from what she knew 50 yrs ago. I finally gave in and tried in the simplest way possible to explain embryo adoption to her. Instead of frozen embryos I described them as tiny babies in the freezer and how we were going to try and put then inside me to grow a baby and her eyes just lit up. I showed her pictures of our donors and their boys and she admired how cute they are. When she asked when this would happen I told her as soon as I go home and she quickly said, “when are you leaving?!” which made me burst into laughter because she had spent a week asking me not to leave. I don’t know if she remembers a word of that conversation we had but she has since stopped worrying and asking questions so I like to think she understood enough to calm her fears and the excitement on her face was worth every struggle we have endured.
I had come home sad to let go of my dreams to share a pregnancy with her but after that conversation I actually felt excited to get back home so that we could prepare for our first donor embryo transfer and I have hope for her living to see the day when her prayers are finally answered. My grandma is the sweetest person I’ve ever known and all I want is to rejoice with her at what amazing things God has done.