Fran peeked in the door of her grandmother's hospital room. She saw her mother sitting in a chair beside the bed. She was holding Granny's hand. I could see the tears rolling down her face.
Fran came quietly into the room, moved a chair so that she could sit beside her mother. She could not believe how silent her Granny was. The only way she had ever seen her was with a smile on her face, an apron around her waist and her arms outstretched as they waited to give you a hug.
Fran's mother turned to her and told her that she was so sorry that she and Granny had not always gotten along. They were so different. She then began to tell Fran about her life as a child.
Seems that Granny had once acted as if mom was a kitten crying at the door and for weeks she had gone around mewing all the time. She remembered the time that she had cut her toe open and how it was her mother who had cleaned the open wound and bandaged it.
Mom's eyes looked as if she were not even sitting here but had gone back in time. She began telling memory after memory of what her mother had done for her. She told of how she had always sat with her in church; and how one Sunday Granny had pinched the back of her arm really hard because she had wiggled too much.
Mom told of how Granny never made her get down from the top of the trees that she had loved to climb. Everyone else thought it was a horrible thing for a girl to do, but Granny had let her. Granny had even let her bring in her collection of rocks and display them.
Mom said that she could still her Granny say each night after everyone was in bed, Y'all get still, and don't forget to say your prayers.' She said that if she closed her eyes, she could still hear Granny humming as she did her housework. It was always a Christian hymn. She said that she did not think that Granny knew anything but Christian music.
Mom closed her eyes and began to tell of the time that Granny had stayed up most of the night to finish sewing all of our clothes for Easter Sunday. She had even made a shirt for Papa. But Mom remembered that on that day when they all dressed up, Granny did not have on a new dress.
It was Granny who had sat in that rocking chair until almost midnight, waiting for the safe return of her daughter who had been on her first date. Mom said that it was also Granny who had persuaded Papa to let her begin driving. Granny had sat on the seat right beside her and had smashed her foot with her shoe because she did not think Mom was braking soon enough.
Mom began crying softly as she remembered finding the piece of paper in Granny's Bible that had the day written down that each of us had accepted Jesus as our Savior. Why she had even written down the song that had been sung during the invitation time.
Mom bent over and kissed Granny on the cheek. Granny opened her eyes and a tiny smile crossed her lips. Mom asked her to please forgive her for not understanding all that she had done for her over the years. She pleaded with her to forgive her for not listening to her gentle words of wisdom through the years.
Granny smiled and said that there was nothing to forgive. It was all covered in a mother's love.
Granny then closed her eyes for the very last time. A small gentle Christian mother who had devoted her whole life to her family and to her God. She had tried to instill in her children all the knowledge she had of how much God loved them. A woman whose life had been a living picture of selflessness.
Mom and Fran both cried. One for the loss of her Mother and the other for not showing her Mom how much she really loved and respected her.
Fran would still have time to build a closer relationship with her Mom. She knew that after today, she would look at her Mom in a different light. She stopped and thanked God right there for allowing her to have a Christian Mom. One who showed God's selfless love in all she did. Oh, why had it taken so long for her to see how much her Mom loved her? Or that her Mom had always done what she thought would be the best for her?
She asked God to forgive her for all the times that she had rebelled against her Mom and to forgive her for all the negative, hurtful thoughts and words she directed towards her down through the years.
Together, they told Granny goodbye and then left the room, arm in arm.
"Honor your father and mother"--this is the first commandment with a promise: "so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." (Eph 6:2,3 NRSV)