I am typing this from my Holiday Inn hotel room in northern Wisconsin. My girls are asleep in the adjoining room, the Olympics are happening softly on the TV next to me, and JJ is taking a shower. A trip into the hotel pool necessitates the shower. We are enjoying our time here, although it got off to a rough start.
We headed up to northern WI knowing that Curious J was sick. Remember that? Well, more or less it’s continued this whole trip. Last night, our first night in the hotel, she was particularly bad. I considered taking her to the ER (at 1am!), but decided not to due to the fact that while she was having a hard time breathing, she wasn’t fighting for breath. I knew her problem was that she had bronchiolitis again (the same bronchiolitis that landed her in Children’s Hospital when she was weeks old and necessitated a Mother’s Day trip to the ER), and so I knew what to expect.
So, this morning, I took Curious J to the walk-in clinic. Thankfully, I knew where the walk-in clinic was located because it’s near the Hospice House where my Grandmother is living out her sunset days. Thankfully, I got in and out of the clinic fairly quickly (just over an hour), and since I was mere blocks away from my Grandma, I drove over to the Hospice House to visit Grandma on my own.
What a blessing! We’ve been having a wonderful trip, but it’s really hard to have good visits with people when you’re in a large group and have only limited time. So, to have some time for a one-on-one visit with Grandma was wonderful. I took the opportunity to share some heartfelt thoughts with her, mainly centering around how inspirational she is to me. Here she is, in a Hospice House, waiting for the angels to come and take her to heaven, and yet she’s cheerful, as active as she can be, interested in the lives of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and confident in her salvation. She’s been wondering for a long time why she’s still alive, but she trusts that God has a plan. I told her today that it’s inspirational for me to watch her face death with confidence and a smile, and I told her that when my last days come, I hope I can face them with as much courage and trust as she is doing. I cried as I told her this, but I was SO glad to have the chance to say those words.
She told me something, too, something that doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider what her life has been and how many huge difficulties she has (cheerfully) dealt with, it’s amazing. She told me, “Don’t worry so much, Emily. Just let things flow.” This from a woman who had to take care of an invalid husband for 15 years, run a dairy farm more or less on her own, and who has been busy and active her entire life. If anyone had a reason to be worried and stressed out, it was her. Perhaps she spent some of those early years worried and stressed out, too, but the fact is that now, she’s facing the final chapter of her life worry-free.
So, I’m really going to try to not worry. Well, actually, I’m going to remember Grandma, and with her and her life’s example in my mind, I’m going to try to not worry. Thinking along those lines, I realized that I’m grateful that J is sick, as it gave me a chance I would not have had otherwise to talk with Grandma alone, and to receive her words of wisdom. There really is a silver lining in every cloud, and I don’t need to worry about anything. God truly does have it all under control.
It’s easy to not worry here. There is something very peaceful about northern Wisconsin. There is calm in driving tree-lined county highways, and there’s peace in visiting loved places from my childhood. There’s serenity in picking apples off my grandma’s tree with Lyd and JJ, feeding the bruised ones on the ground to the curious heifers 5 feet away. It’s relaxing to pick beans in a garden. These things are so far away from my life in California, and while I do love my CA life, there are definitely things I miss about Wisconsin.
I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad that Curious J is going to be okay. I’m glad to spend time with my Grandma, as well as many other family members. I’m glad to be driving country roads. I’m glad to be in a hotel (with high-speed internet access!) that has a separate sleeping room and three fun pools (hot tub, big regular pool, and warmed kiddie pool). I’m glad to be in this environment, and I’m glad for the break from my worries.
Our vacation is at the halfway point, and it’s going well.