January 1, 2008

Grandma Had a Secret

I learned something unbelievable today. At Grandma’s funeral, one of the people who chose to honor her life and my family’s loss by attending was a hospice nurse who had cared for her. Grandma’s battle was a long one, so the hospice staff had the privilege of spending many hours, days, weeks, and months with her. I was never privy to their conversations, but my Grandma was a private woman and a lover of people so I was certain she asked most of the questions. At the funeral, this godly Hospice volunteer pulled me aside and said she learned something important about Grandma that she just had to share. I have to admit, guilt and shame was my first reaction in learning that a stranger should hold a truth that I had not learned in all my years of loving Grandma.

She asked me if I had ever thought Grandma’s relationship with my youngest son was special. I had always known it to be, but had never voiced it out of concern for the feelings of my other children. Grandma was different with Seth. She held on to him as if he were her own. She was a part of his life from my pregnancy to her final days and he responded to her in a way I can’t explain. Even when he was just two and full of mommy attachment issues, he would climb down the stairs to her bedroom in my mother’s house and close the door. Sometimes more than an hour later I would retrieve him, astonished that a bedridden 90-year-old could keep his attention for that long. (Later my grandma revealed that he would shoot her and she would play dead.)  Seth loved her and spent time with her and played with her and cuddled with her and talked to her and listened to her...and shot her.

I learned at her funeral that there was a reason for all this. Grandma had had three daughters. But there was one child that came before her girls. When she was pregnant and ready to deliver him, a healthy full-term boy, the hospital made a fatal error and left my grandmother unattended while she was sedated. Her son died in childbirth while staff was down the hall. I knew the story but Grandma never talked about it. The Hospice nurse noticed Grandma’s relationship with my son and urged her to try to explain it. I learned today that there was something about Seth, something about the timing, something about Grandma’s need for closure, something about God that let her finally hold, sing to, and play with her baby boy. Can you even wrap your mind around something so extraordinary?

 Drew and I had always planned to have two children, God willing. Lucas and Sydney came (fourteen months apart) and we felt blessed beyond measure. In spite of all our plans, I just couldn’t shake the feeling we were meant to have another boy. I could almost see him. My dear husband didn’t question it and God gave us Seth. Now I know why.

I cannot wait to tell Seth of this special purpose he held. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am and how safe I feel that such a loving God holds us all.