Summer is supposed to be time for picking raspberries in our yard, making rhubarb pies, and picking asparagus from our garden. This summer, however, we have had a different purpose, and I hesitate to write here for fear of bleeding all over the page with sadness. But I must tell you that all’s well here now. It just didn’t seem well a few short months ago.
Our 22 year old granddaughter, Jamie, was critically injured in late May in a car accident and air-lifted to Sacred Heart Trauma Unit in Spokane, where we live. In short order, family visited her in the ICU for days on end, she endured five major surgeries in two weeks, with a total of five weeks in the hospital. Living here, close to Sacred Heart Hospital, we became the Andrew B&B for her Kennewick, WA family, and were blessed to be here for all of them.
The good news is that Jamie is now home, healing well, deep into recovery, and hoping to be rid of her wheelchair and torso turtle shell at the end of this month, if not sooner. Lots of physical therapy awaits her. Her immediate goal is to be the Maid of Honor at her best friend’s wedding September 1. We all think she’ll make it, including walking down the aisle on the arm of the Best Man, and hoping for one dance at the wedding, and we’re sure if this happens it’ll be a slow dance.
And the rest of us? Still stunned that accidents can happen in a heart beat to people you love more than your own life. Amazed at how our worlds stop when something like this happens. Convinced that you will never fritter your time away again complaining about things that are impossible, and that you will focus instead on the possibilities. My husband and I are new members of Northwest Med-Star, the helicopter unit that transported Jamie to the hospital in time for her life to be saved, after an exceptional recovery by the EMTs who cut her out of the wreckage with the Jaws of Life. And then, of course, the trauma surgeons at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane. My heart hurts simply thinking about it all. I wanted to go stay with her 24/7, but that was not my role. We all wanted to stay with her 24/7, and fortunately her Mom and Dad (my son) were able to do just that. We are all blessed. She was saved for a purpose. I have become a Grandma on my knees in gratitude.
Last fall I wrote about things I loved, every single day in September. In October I no longer felt I had to do that and the posts tapered off. It was the stress of my Mom becoming more frail each day, and finally being moved in early December to a convalescent care center. In February I wrote an essay here about loving her Beyond Forever, my last posting. About the time I’d come to terms with my mother living there, doing her laundry, visiting with her, associating with the staff, and having lunch with her at least once a week, I coasted ~ not writing ~ grieving my Mom’s elderly status, the Long Goodbye as they say, and wondering why I gave away her lovely tan leather gloves. I want to touch them again now, right this minute, to feel like I am touching my Mother. All winter I unpacked boxes sent to our house and discarded so many of her life’s treasures. I even felt my own life was over.
Reality tells me otherwise, however. My other granddaughter, Tate, and a college friend came to stay with us overnight yesterday afternoon. They participated in a ‘Color Run’ in Spokane this morning, coming back with colored paint all over their running outfits, hair and faces. They were a mess. Really big messes. And laughing out loud. I took their pictures, before and after the race. They reminded me that life goes on, and sadness lessens with time. We had dinner on our patio last night with the girls, and picked raspberries from the garden for breakfast this morning, a little bit of summer yet remaining for us to enjoy.
This afternoon after the girls left, I ventured out to the patio and discovered a tiny red geranium bud on a plant I’d stuck in a pot last week. No fanfare. Just dug it out of a planter that had been getting too much sun and stuck it into a pretty pot a friend had given me earlier in the year, when I was grieving for Jamie and forgot to water it. Needless to say it didn’t survive. But Jamie did. And my Mom has. And I’m going to make it, too. Finding the tiny red geranium this morning felt like an omen to me. I can breathe again, and think seriously about my writing. This afternoon it all feels good. I can hardly wait to see the flower bloom on that little geranium.