What would Granny do?

Granny, the last time we visited her (Sept. 2009).Jim's mom, aka Granny, is not doing well. She had a stroke in April, which I wrote about here. But she's held out and despite no longer being the Granny we all know, she's still here, still hanging in there.

Last Thursday evening, just as I was getting ready for my monthly drinking-and-bitching session girls' night with my former co-workers, Jim got a phone call. The nursing home/hospital where Granny resides had called Jim's sister in because Granny's vitals had dropped significantly and things didn't look good. I quickly cancelled my night out to be with Jim as he made and fielded phone calls with family.

Then he got a phone call from his sister, who put Granny on the phone ... to tell Jim "goodbye." Heartwrenching stuff.

After that call, there were no more for the night. No bad news, no good news. So Friday morning, Jim called the hospital to check on his mom. "She's stable," the nurse told him, "but death is near."

WTH? Who says that? I've never heard such a dramatic statement, even on the most sappy movie of the week. Images of the Grim Reaper standing in the corner of Granny's room are now hard to shake.

But Mr. Reaper is biding his time, it seems. Jim talked to Granny Sunday and she seems to be normal -- a sadly relative term as Granny is nothing like the normal Granny she used to be. But she's doing better than she had been.

And now all I can think of is the phenomenon of people who are on the brink of death seeming to recover briefly -- doing better than ever -- just before dying. I've heard of it again and again, and I saw it happen with my stepdad. It allows time for the one dying to say their goodbyes, I've read.

Which, if that's what's going on with Granny, death really is near. And I'm so conflicted about that.

I love Jim's mom to the core. She's the kindest woman I've ever known, and she's served as my spiritual compass for years. Forget what Jesus would do; I'll obviously never be like Him and questioning how He would handle things doesn't do me much good. But I've often thought to myself, "What would Granny do?" She's handled incredible bullshit from kids and men tough circumstances with patience, grace and faith, so when I face tough circumstances, I often wonder what Granny would do. She's gotten through far worse situations than I've ever had to deal with, and I'd do well to follow her example.

Odd as it may sound, I know Granny looks forward to getting to heaven. She's lived her entire life for that purpose, and now, in true Granny fashion, she's been trying to sneak through the pearly gates at a time when the focus is on Jesus so no fuss will be made over her as she makes her entrance. She attempted it at Easter and now she seems to be trying again at Christmas.

And although it's what Granny wants -- and I truly want her to have what she desires -- I don't want her to die at Christmas. For selfish reasons. I don't want every Christmas going forward to be colored blue by it being the anniversary of Granny's passing.

So I'm conflicted on what to pray for Granny. Do I pray for her to stick around, at least until after Christmas? Or do I pray for her to head off to heaven to hang out with Jesus, as she desperately wants?

What do I do?

What would Granny do?

What will Granny do?


Today's question from "The Christmas Conversation Piece":

If you kept a journal of Christmases, which year's Christmas would have the lengthiest entry?

My answer: The Christmas I thought would never happen ... the year that Jim and I separated briefly in the spring but thankfully didn't divorce and were back together as a stronger family by Christmas.