Thursday, December 20, 2012

Love and Courage and Strength, a True Story


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu
Bob's father, who's lived a unique life, turned 89 in October. His best present was that he was finally getting around on a newly healed ankle, broken last spring when he tripped over a board on the footbridge in his backyard. An annoying infection sent him back to the hospital to have the plates and screws removed from his bones.
In spite of patient care from Grandma B, heroic assistance from his daughter Lucy, devoted attention from his son John and various grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Grandpa got to a point where he hadn't eaten for 4 days and was unable to swallow even liquids. Hydrated through IV lines, he lost 30 pounds. It looked like the beginning of the end when he stated in no uncertain terms that he didn't want any heroic measures taken to prolong his life.
The trouble is, he forgot that his family is made of heroes.
Determined to see Grandpa one last time, my six sons and husband converged on his hospital room all on the same day. Their combined love blasted Grandpa, building on the love already delivered by other family members. Grandpa told stories and laughed until he cried. He ate four bites of food. After hugs and goodbyes, my boys went out to eat, having way too good of a time at the restaurant. (See photo above.)
The next morning, my two oldest sons went for a final visit before making their long drive home. They found Grandpa sitting up and drinking through a straw. Instead of being on the brink of death, he was on the brink of returning home.
I have to believe that the deep love poured out to Grandpa from all his family gave him strength to continue living with us on earth for awhile.
Don't ever underestimate the power of love!

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