Mommi

My grandma is old.

She has always been old, to me.

I remember going to her house one day when I was 4. My mom was going to Hutch. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to go to my grandma’s house, or Mommi’s house, and play with the Berenstein bears in the log cabin that Doddi built.

She was old already, back then.

She was already old when Doddi died from complications from open heart surgery when I was 9.

She was old when I went to Thailand the first time over 8 years ago. And she has been getting older every time I come home again.

And each time I leave, I say goodbye for the last time.

Every time I see her, she is a little bit smaller, a little bit whiter, and a little bit thinner. But she is always, always as sweet and kind as ever. This last time is like that, when I go home for my visit.

My grandma is old. She has always been old, but now she is older than ever. She is 100 years old. She sleeps on a hospital bed and eats her meals from her chair. My mom and my aunts take turns staying with her every night and day.

One time I stay with her so that Mom can go to her cousin’s garage sale. I read from the Budget at the top of my lungs until Mommi has pity on me and tells me I can stop. Then I read through some of the 200 cards she received on her 100th birthday until Mom comes back to stay with her for the night.

She is starting to forget things, which is painful to watch, not so much because she is becoming forgetful, as would be expected for a woman of 100, but because she realizes that her sharp mind is not quite as sharp anymore and it bothers her. So, I try not to ask her too many questions about something that she might not remember well.

I give her a small handbag made by a team of ladies in Thailand. She is delighted with it, and keeps on commenting about it and saying thank you. “It’s so pretty that I won’t want to take it anywhere for fear something will happen to it,” she says. A minute later, she remembers and says almost apologetically, “Well, I don’t go anywhere anyway anymore.”

On my last day at home, I go over in the rainy evening to say goodbye. She is sitting on her brown chair with the colorful orange and brown afghan, eating her supper. Dorothy is there with her for the night. I sit down and we chat for a while before I say goodbye.

She is smaller than ever. I give her a hug and hold her hand for a bit, and then leave before the tears can burst from the floodgates.

The last I see her is as I drive past. Dorothy is waving, and so is Mommi, a thin white hand from the window.

I am glad for the rain streaming down the windshield.

8 thoughts on “Mommi

  1. I’m at Walmart waiting on the pharmacy and reading this. The water is leaking out of my eyes and I have to take my mask off to wipe my running nose. Your Mommi is very dear to me. I think I realized more how precious she is after her mom, and my Mommy Beachy, died in 1995. Going to visit Aunt Katie was the closest thing to going to visit Mommy. After Mom died last year at 100 and almost 8 months going to visit Aunt Katie was the closest thing to talking to Mom. When Sue was dying I reflexively said, “I’m going to Aunt Katie”. And when her sister-in-law and also my Aunt Katie died I knew this Aunt Katie needed some flowers and a visit. She admitted that it was a hard day. It’s always hard on her when another dear family member passes on to their reward. Last week I took her a bowl full of my miniature roses – my Mom always liked those so much. She seemed a bit more frail, still sparky with the light of life in her eyes. My Mom holds the record of longevity from this corner of the community (not including Yoder) I told her it’s totally ok if she breaks Mom’s record and she replied, “I think I will!😀”. I usually wave as I go out the door, never knowing whether I’ll see her again on this side of eternity and she waves back. What a dear lady!

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    1. Hi Beulah, so good to hear from you! I know that Mommi loves your visits, and so do my mom and aunts as well. And flowers are her love languages. I always love the fact that now when I go to see her, which is only when I am at home, I also get to see at least one of my aunts there too. I think it pulls them together to have to have someone there all the time. And I think they consider themselves blessed to be able to care for their mother at such a time as this.

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  2. Dear Lori, I have a special memory of your grandma. I think it was at Sam and Susan’s wedding that your mother arranged to have us sit together at the table. I felt honored to sit with her and enjoyed her so much. She indeed is a special lady and she has a special family who so lovingly takes care of her. I love this blog about your mommi!

    It was so good to hear from you again. I think I may have missed receiving one of your updates because when I received the prayer requests when you were preparing to come to the states it took me a bit to put the pieces together. The last update I had received was the May to July one until now this last one. If there was another one would you mind sending it. I so enjoy reading your updates and following your life in Thailand. I do trust and pray you have settled into your teaching routine and that you can soon teach in person. All the virtual teaching that has needed to be done makes me so very thankful that I am on this side of teaching! I think most of the schools in this area are back to teaching in person.

    My life has been different this summer. I had knee replacement surgery on August 31. Thought I was getting along quite well but when I had my six-week checkup with the surgeon the x-ray showed what he called a mild collapse of the tibial bone. So he wanted me back to using a walker full time and doing a minimum amount of walking and putting limited weight on that leg (the left one). Now this coming Wednesday, five weeks later, I have an appointment to find out what has been happening with that bone. I am hoping and praying for a positive report. He had alluded to the possibility of needing a second surgery, but I am praying and trusting that won’t need to happen. I don’t have any pain for which I’m very grateful. I am so blessed with all the kindnesses and support from family, church people, friends, and neighbors. My Aunt Priscilla, a retired nurse, came from Ohio to care for me the first two weeks after I was home from the hospital. That was so special.

    Faithful is He who called you, who also will do it. I Thess. 5:24

    Love and prayers, Great Aunt Rhoda

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    1. Aunt Rhoda! So good to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by! I am hoping, yes, that we can go back to “normal” school in the next few months. I prefer that even though that is not without its challenges as well. I am sorry to hear about your knee surgery. I had no idea you have that experience. Not having it be quite successful must have been a blow, but I am glad that you had your aunt looking after you. I am praying that another surgery won’t have to happen! No… I don’t think you missed an update. It was more like, I wasn’t doing very good at sending them out. :/ I had switched to doing an update about every two months, but it seems if you don’t do them monthly, it’s so easy to forget them. I had also not wanted to mention in any updates that I was going home, so was a little unsure how to word some of the prayer updates. My reason for this was because I wanted to surprise my nieces and nephews. I told my parents and siblings that I was coming home, but not my nieces and nephews. The result was very fun to watch. 🙂 I know better than to try to surprise my parents, especially my mom because she loves looking forward to things. That is half the fun for her. 🙂 Thanks for your prayers and continued support. Praying your knee surgery goes well. Blessings!

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