Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going Home

It's an interesting time in our family right now. Towards the end of last year, my grandma had a major stroke which put her in a coma. She's been in that coma for the better part of half a year now and has been on life support for pretty much the entire time.

When Alicia was born, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between my new daughter and my old grandmother. Both were dependent on medical equipment for survival. Both were hooked up to IVs, feeding tubes and ventilators. Both needed round the clock medical care. Both were in ICUs. Both needed medication.

Tonight as I was having dinner with my family, I was struck again by the odd parallels between the two lives, and yet the different destinations both were headed for.

My parents arrived last night from the States. The purpose of their visit is two-fold. One to see and welcome their new granddaughter to the world. And two, to move my grandmother home and prepare for her imminent departure from the world.

As I listened to my dad's conversation with his siblings, I couldn't help but marvel at the timing of it all and the strange parallels that can be drawn between great-grandmother and great-granddaughter.

As I said earlier, both my grandmother and my daughter were on ventilators for quite some time. Both went through a weaning process from the vent in the hopes that they would start breathing on their own. Difference is, as time went on Grandma got weaker and weaker while Alicia got stronger and stronger and is now completely off the vent.

At this point, both still have feeding tubes inside of them, the difference is one is eating better and better on her own, the other may never eat on her own again.

Both at this point have no teeth. One's teeth hasn't grown in yet. The other's teeth fell out year's ago.

Both lives at one point hung in the balance, now one's life signs are more and more steady, and stronger and stronger, the other one is starting to fade bit by bit.

Both at this point are in transition and on the verge of hospital discharge. One's hospital discharge will signify the start of her life, the other's hospital discharge will represent her last few days on Earth and the end of her life.

Needless to say these past few months have been challenging for my family. Many of you have mentioned how impressed you are with Linda and I and our strength and faith. I'd like to direct your attention to my father. Now that's a man of faith. He not only had to deal with his granddaughter (Alicia) being born early, he also needed to handle his son (me) and daughter-in-law (Linda) going through a difficult time, his wife (my mom) adjusting to life with diabetes, and his mom (my grandmother) being in a coma after a debilitating stroke. A lesser man would have crumbled, but not my dad. He's my hero.

You know, one of my grandma's biggest wishes was to be a great-grandmother. And Alicia being her first great-grandchild, I can't help but wonder if somewhere out in the cosmos, God has prepared a special place for great-grandmother and great-grandmother to meet and chat before both move on to their next destinations. I imagine grandma chatting with Alicia passing on her wisdom and insight and handing off the baton of life to our family's next generation. It's as if the oldest member of our family is transferring all that God has given to her upon the newest member of our family. The life she once lived will now be carried on by a new little one whose life has barely just begun.

It is seriously uncanny how one life on Earth is beginning just as the other one is ending but both are heading home. Grandma's moving on to permanent home up in heaven, and Alicia's moving on to her home with Linda and I. The next few weeks should be interesting as our family prepares to welcome and bid farewell to these precious ladies in our family.

Through it all, there is one grand comfort. And it's that though the two lives will cross for only a brief moment here on Earth, by God's grace, they will have all of eternity to get to know each other once we all get over to the other side of Heaven.