Hidden under the heavy blankets with the fan whirring above me I finally let it out. Tears. Not sobs or that ugly cry. Just tears. One after another. Like someone had opened the release valve for my heart.
His body, crumpled by years and time, precariously perched in his wheelchair watching as I hung the crayon masterpieces delivered by sticky hands with sing song descriptions and tales. This is his life now. These beige walls. Beige carpet. Little rooms. Where time hangs heavy, moments pass slowly and sadness covers the room like a late winter blanket of heavy, crusty snow.
Pushing the scotch tape against the wall with every thing I had, I was willing myself to keep it together. As if this tiny piece of tape holding paper to concrete could somehow hold my heart together. Swallow the tears. Get it together.
Words have failed her for a long time. Locked in a world of early memories she functions in her own world these days. I listen to her crying and grunting as they change her. All dignity lost. Like a child she is laid out to have her body cleaned and clothes changed. Her discomfort and confusion palpable in the noises she makes.
I push the scotch tape to the wall.
Helpless. We all are.
Time has robbed them of so much. Even the memories of better days...
She's singing "In the Garden" and dancing in the living room. She tells me of God and His love. That Jesus loves me...and so does she. The seeds she planted wouldn't sprout for years in my life, but how her love and her faith changed me. I remember.
He's working outside. Hands in the dirt. Planting. Building. Always busy. And even as my little legs struggle to keep up with him, his heart was never too busy for me. On our walks and in his garden he taught of love, responsibility and family. As I look out the window at my garden I know why I am drawn there...that's him in me. I remember.
And there I stood. Scotch taping my heart.
In my hurt I cry out to God. Why? He doesn't answer. I ask over and over on the three hour drive. Question Him. His plan. He doesn't answer.
As my eyes burned from the tears hidden in the dark, from somewhere in the depths of me I wailed to heaven. What can I do???
And I recalled a blog I read the other day. (Ann Voskamp's A Holy Experience) about love and using your words when that is all you have to give. That love itself is radical and God filled. And even as the tears stream down my face as I write I know God answered me last night.
I can't turn back the clock. I can't change the circumstances of my grandparents' life right now, but I can love them. I can show up with stacks of the kids' art for their walls, I can call and tell the same stories over and over again, and I can hold their hands when there is nothing else to be said. Love. I can do that.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.