Bacon, Eggs, Toast and Grits

Bacon, Eggs, Toast and Grits

“…He said to me, “My grace elevates you, to be fully content.” And now, instead of being overwhelmed with a sense of my own weakness, he overwhelms me with an awareness of his strength! Oh what bliss to rejoice in the fact that in the midst of my frailties I encounter the dynamic of the grace of God to be my habitation!” 2 Corinthians 12:9 The Mirror Bible

When you’ve experienced the perceivable ‘worst thing that could happen,’ your paradigm shifts.   A fearless sense of invincibility rises.

“Grandpa just passed out in my arms,” I said to my aunt on the phone.

It was April 11, 2017 — a Tuesday to be exact. My morning started as it had for the last 17 months. I got up, three hours before work, to go tend to my grandpa. It all started the night my grandma passed away from pancreatic cancer. She lived 51 days from the date of her diagnosis. The night she transitioned was the first time I saw Grandpa weep. He wept so deeply; it moved my heart with compassion. We were all overcome with unfathomable pain and deep grief. My grandmother’s death left us stunned, shocked, bewildered.

Grandpa made it known daily that he missed his wife. But on this Tuesday morning, he did not get the chance to rant. He woke up gasping slightly for air. It sounded like whooping cough. His dry cough signaled no alarm, at first. Grandpa had been sick for a while. We had our routine each morning that helped him recover. His doctor made recommendations for steps to take before going to the emergency room. First try his inhalers and drinking  water and/or hot coffee. If that didn’t work, use the nebulizer. Most days the inhalers were enough. I’d spent my fair share of hours at the emergency room and, sometimes days in the hospital when he was admitted. Thinking about the full work day I had planned, I certainly didn’t want to land in the ER.

We managed to follow our routine and he got fully dressed. He continued to struggle to stabilize his breathing. Sweat beaded up on his forehead and dripped down his back. Still no alarm went off in me. Unfortunately, this was not an unusual morning, although I was concerned that the morning was not going more smoothly. I rubbed Grandpa’s back, prayed under my breath, and attempted to comfort him. My compassion for him enlarged greatly during our days together. I had assumed the role Grandma once filled. I’m amazed that she managed this space for 67 years. My flesh often wanted to complain, as it appeared I was the only one that sacrificed to keep Grandpa well.

Still gasping, he slowly moved to the middle room. He pulled away from me, not wanting my assistance.  He rested on an old chair. I looked intently at him. He looked back at me, rattled and frustrated.

“I’m tired. This is the worst part of my day,” he said. Then, he stood up. “I’m dizzy.”

As he walked toward the hallway’s full-length mirror, I followed closely behind. In a split second, he fell backwards like a feather in my arms. It was as if God or an Angel had laid hands on him. I received his body in my arms as his spirit transcended out. His eyes were wide open, looking up. I gently laid him to the floor, cradling his head. In a moment, I heard his last breath and felt his body power-down like a machine.

“He’s dead.” My brain triggered. My right hand pushed his eyes shut. “Today? This is happening today?” I exclaimed to God. “Okay. He’s with You now.”

I called 911 and notified my  family. For whatever reason, I did not panic. In fact, a graceful peace reigned over me. I celebrated that he was reunited with Grandma and no longer suffering. God had answered my prayer. Grandpa didn’t die alone. He passed in his home on his terms, and I, nor any other family member, found him dead.

I later journaled these thoughts: It has been an amazing journey. It was an honor to serve as a granddaughter. A caregiver. I got to know the man my grandmother once loved. Why she loved him was a mystery to me when I was a child. Grandpa was a mean alcoholic most of my life. Despite his flaws, I chose to honor her by serving him. I chose to honor them to honor God.

During our 17 months, I got to know a smart, crafty, humorous, sober Grandpa. He was sharp and witty, yet stubborn at times. I will forever remember his storytelling. Grandpa was very simple and complicated at the same time. He followed a routine. Every morning for breakfast he wanted bacon, eggs, toast and grits. Prepared the same way, no adjustments or additions. He had instant coffee to drink — black with two teaspoons of sugar. I can still visualize that beat-up tea kettle whistling on the stove.

I learned several lessons during those months with my grandfather:

  • Always ask more questions. There’s always more information to know.
  • Doing the ‘God thing’ is going a step farther than just doing the good or right thing. It’s not always easy to do the ‘God thing,’ but good works will be rewarded.
  • Before becoming offended consider the most reasonable explanation for the other person’s behavior, then extend grace.
  • Forgive quickly.
  • Hold loosely to plans. Just go with God every time.

Families can sometimes fall apart when a loved one passes away. I found myself getting ‘all in my feelings’ about who was doing or not doing tasks to care for my grandpa. I quickly realized that none of that mattered. People operate to their capacity. I happened to have the grace to be a great caregiver.

Grandpa affirmed me before he went Home. I’ll forever treasure the memories and time spent together. I look forward to the fruit of this season.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Shannon ,
    What an awesome heartfelt account of the many lessons you learned as you honored Grandma by honoring Grandpa by honoring God.
    Your growth during those months speak volumns. Continue in the path that God Jas set you on. Even this rending of this accountsre having a profound affect on someone reading this. Including me. I love you. Keep writing , What a word! To God gets to glory.

    1. Thank you Ms.Paula. I appreciate you and all the talks we had during the journey. You have been an inspiration to me! Love you! Be well!

  2. I am amazed, touched, inspired and moved by your story, Shannon. I pray your testimony finds it’s way to the many souls who need it to be ministered to… Thank you for sharing!!

    -Monet

    1. Thank you Monet! God’s timing is perfect!

  3. What a gift to know you, and learn with you how God sustains us with His grace. I’m grateful for the timing of this article too, as another friend is just about ready to let her mother go Home. Although she is exhausted from her days of caregiving, your testimony gives me hope that her season of honoring her mom will be rewarded too. Love you friend!

    1. Thank you Leslie! I appreciate all the support, Prayer, and love you extended to me during that season. Even though you were miles away in Boston I felt your support as if you were present. Love you Friend!

  4. Shannon I stand in awe of the wisdom growth humanity humility and the love shown in your writing. I have always known of your kind caring Godly spirit but to be able to express it so eloquently is a gift. One of the many gifts you demonstrate in your daily life. GOD knows your heart and your intentions so in that ability to recognize GOD’S plan in both your Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s life you have been able to encourage strengthen and inspire others. Thank you for sharing and continue writing and following the plan GOD has for your life. May blessings continue to overflow in your life. You are truly an amazing woman. I love you.

    1. Thank you Aunt Deb! Thank for your support and kind words! Love you too!!!

  5. Shannon,
    You are a young woman, whom I have met , but not really known. After reading this incredibly descriptive journey , full of feeling tones, I feel like I was following you around. At times, it was as if I was you.
    The scripture was impactful and a needed reminder for me, in my time of weakness.
    The Lord Gifted you for now. Thank you for your obediance. Thanks for allowing me to finally know you.

    1. Thank you Ms. Sylvia! I look forward to getting to know you more too! Love you!

  6. Shannon, I loved reading this account of your experience as caregiver for your Grandpa. While at times it may feel like a burden as we live through our hard times, it truly is an honor and a blessing to care for those we love. Your love and sacrifices matter to Grandpa and God. How special it must have been that God allowed him to transition in your arms! Well done❤️

  7. Thank you Ms. Rhonda! I appreciate your love and words of wisdom. You encouraged me through that time and season and I am so grateful to you!

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