Life is Hard, but God is Good

Dear Grandma,

I knew this day would come, but I’m not prepared. Even though I’ve wondered when this day would get here every day for the past several years, I’m still not ready. I’m not ready to say goodbye. I’m not ready today. I won’t be ready tomorrow or the day after that. We don’t know when God will take you, but we know, it’s not going to be much longer.

We have all watched your health decline and your mind slowly leave. You look peaceful right now lying beside me. But, I hear you slowly slipping away. I’ve been holding on to hope that you will open your eyes, look at me, and say my name. As much as I want to hear it one last time, I haven’t heard you say Amanda in several years. You are just tired. You have fought so long. And, boy, have you put up a fight!

I have told dementia that it is not my friend so many times. I even wrote a blog post about it once. This disease has robbed us of so many years with you. We don’t understand why. The only response that we have is God is still good.

We know your pain and suffering has to be for His glory. He has used it as recently as tonight to show me areas that I really need to work on in my life. He has a way of turning really tough situations into something to be used to point others to Him. I’m so thankful for that.

I love you. I am so grateful that I have had you in my life for so long. In my eyes, you are still such a young grandma. When I was in middle school, I used to brag to my friends that my grandma was the same age as some of their parents.

That’s why it’s so hard right now. You still have years left to live. Your mind was taken from you way too young. I know I have to stop focusing on that. My kids are afraid. They are afraid their grandparents, their mom and dad, and even when the time comes, they might suffer with dementia and Alzheimer’s one day.

We all know we shouldn’t live in fear, but watching you decline from this horrible disease, has changed us. It has created a whole new thought process. It has made all of us think, “What if it does happen? or “If it does happen, how early will it come?”

These thoughts make me cry out to God and ask him to have mercy on all of us. We do not want to have to suffer the way you have unless it’s His perfect plan. We don’t want our family members to see us suffer the same way you have had to.

We don’t know God’s plans. And, honestly, that scares me and punches me in the stomach more times than I care to admit. What are we going to face in the years to come? Can we handle what is ahead of us?

The answer is simple. Yes. We are all going to be okay. No matter the outcome. No matter what He has chosen for us. Even if dementia or Alzheimer’s is in our future, He will continue to give us grace. He has given us so much grace and mercy this entire decade with you as you have declined. And, even through the fear, watching you suffer has taught my kids how to really love. You have taught them how to take care of others and how to be selfless. Thank you, Grandma!

Just today, I was able to smile at some of the things that happened a several years ago as your mind began to change. I smiled at the time you fed the fish every few minutes because you couldn’t remember you had just fed it. I chuckled at the time you gave the cat a plate full of pretzels because you thought it was cat food. I also smiled thinking about the day the kids got you on their horse! I didn’t know how in the world I was going to get you back down. I’ve smiled because if I don’t I will not stop crying.

You are my last grandparent. This chapter in my life will most likely close sooner rather than later. That’s a tough pill to swallow. We lost your mama just a little over a year ago and Papaw Paul just a month ago. Grandma Yvonne has been gone almost seven years now, and Papaw Pennington since 2002. That’s so hard to believe! You have missed him so much. The pain was almost too much for you.

Growing up, I never even gave a second thought to the day you all would leave me. I’m glad we didn’t understand how difficult these days would be when we were little. If we understood how badly these days would hurt, we wouldn’t have been able to breath. We wouldn’t have been able to live. We wouldn’t have been able to enjoy each day we spent with you. We wouldn’t have been able to laugh as we explored the woods behind your house, we wouldn’t have sang to the top of our lungs as we traveled to the beach every single year, we wouldn’t have participated in backyard baseball, kickball, or badminton, and we wouldn’t have celebrated each holiday to the fullest! Those holidays always brought all the fried chicken and mashed potatoes anyone could ask for! You loved to cook for your family. I have missed that so much these last ten years. I have missed you!!

Sometimes in life, we focus on the negative things of the past. But, God has a way of making those memories disappear, and He allows us to focus on all the really good times we had! He opens our eyes to how wonderful our lives really were. How wonderful they still are. He shows us the truth.

I’m thankful I’m learning how to breathe through all the hurt. I’m learning how to accept God’s love and His plan. I’m learning how to be molded for His glory. God has used your sickness to show me how important it is to trust Him.

There is one thing for sure, this life is not getting any easier. I know as the days go by, it’s just going to get more difficult. But, God is good even though this life is hard. I can’t wait until you get to see Jesus not because I’m not going to miss you, not because I’m ready, and not because it’s going to be easy to say goodbye. It’s because I can’t wait for you to be free again. I long for you to be whole again! I know you are so ready. I love you, Grandma!! 💕 I love you so much!! And, I know you love all of us, too.

Love Always,

Amanda 💕

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

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