Lisa leaves for Louisville tomorrow morning and will be there through the weekend, coming home Sunday just in time for kickoff for the early games.
Gosh I’ll miss her, and I hate it when we’re apart like this, but I also look forward to the reuniting as well. We always miss each other terribly and, usually when she gets home, you’d be hard pressed to find a gap between the two of us at night as we sleep.
But, it’s only four days…
Lisa’s maternal grandparents are both just about 90. Perhaps 91 but they’re right at that 90 year mark. They’ve been married 66 years now. Both of them are sharp as tacks mentally but, sadly, they’ve had their physical and medical problems. Grandma an insulin dependent diabetic and has had cardiac issues for some years now. Grandpa had a degenerative bone problem where the bones in his neck literally…melted (for lack of a better term) to the point where he needed a steel rod inserted in order to hold his head up. He has some medical issues of his own, healthwise, but for the most part, they’re still hanging in there and have done relatively well.
Two or three years ago now, Lisa’s mother was told by Grandma’s doctors that Grandma probably wouldn’t last the winter. Since Lisa’s parents usually “winter” in Florida, it was decided that they’d not go that year. Grandma not only lasted that winter, but has lasted to this point.
Apparently yesterday, Grandma got up to go to the bathroom (she uses a walker since she broke her hip some years back) and passed out. Not long after that, Grandpa found her sitting in her chair, slumped way to one side, and her teeth on the floor beside the chair. She was very rigid and stiff. He just held her and kissed her, believing he’d lost her, wanting to tell her good-bye. She wasn’t dead, but her heart rate was dangerously low. She’s in the ICU now, with a heart rate of around 40 and the doctors are talking about a pacemaker. She was apparently sitting up this morning, and doing relatively well.
Lisa’s a bit nervous about going to Louisville with her grandmother ill but, as her mother and I have both told her, we can’t just sit around, canceling our lives, just in case. Besides, Lisa can fly to PA from KY if need be, rather than flying home. I’m going to suggest that she go home next weekend to see her grandmother – it’s about a 4 hour drive, not so far, really.
I just adore Lisa’s grandparents. Her grandfather makes me laugh constantly, he has such a razor-sharp wit. And, don’t think you can slide anything by her grandmother, either, as she seems omniscient. This fiesty woman is a dyed-in-the-wool Yankees fan and don’t get in her line of sight when the Yankees are playing on television. I always enjoy visiting them whenever we go down there.
I think it takes a lot of courage to be married to the same person for 66 years. But it also takes a lot of love, a lot of patience, a lot of compromise, and a lot of forgiveness. They ran a dairy farm their whole lives. Married just before the onset of World War II, living through difficult economic times, raising kids to be productive members of the household as well as society, and never compromising on their values. As a young boy of 12, Grandpa’s father passed away and it was up to him to run the family farm and take care of his mother and siblings. He recalls times when they were so poor, they blocked off all but the kitchen in the house, and remained in the kitchen to sleep, just for the warmth. Lisa often talks about her grandfather’s “Farm of Distinction” awards, so particular was he with the cleanliness of his milking parlor, and the health of his cows. Year after year he earned these rewards. Lisa recalls him being a tough task master about cleaning and caring for the cows, which explains the awards. Lisa and her siblings grew up working on the farm as well, and I see a lot of her grandfather’s ethics in her. Her grandmother wasn’t one to shy away from the barn, either. She made a home for her family using whatever was available to her, and teaching her children to be self-sufficient and to work hard for, not only what they wanted, but for what they already had.
I can see Grandpa holding Grandma tightly yet gently, kissing her tenderly, and telling her goodbye. But I can also almost see the look of fear in his eyes at the thought of losing his lifelong companion, the love of his life, the one person in his life who accepted him as the person he is. Sixty-six years together.
Be well, Grandma Ruth!