Last week, I boarded a plane and headed to Florida to see my Nana who had just suffered from a stroke. She’s ninety-six and a half (this begins to count again once you get to your nineties I guess) and has lived a strong, feisty, good life.
Each time I told someone where I was headed, I couldn’t help but hear my friend Molly’s voice loud and clear.
It was quite some time ago when Molly’s grandmother passed away, under the incredible care of hospice. I was driving Molly to her Special Olympics basketball practice a couple of nights later and she was, per usual, rocking out on her air guitar to the High School Musical Soundtrack. In an instant, she dropped the air guitar and pushed the power button on my car radio for an instant silence. She then asked, “Do you know hospice?”
I answered with some kind words about how hospice had taken great care of her grandmother. She looked at me and said, “No, Suzanne, do you know hospice?” So I began again, this time talking not only about her grandmother but also Christopher’s dad and how both of those experiences were filled with great care, kindness, grace and help.
It was clear that she didn’t like my answer because she quickly responded by pointing a finger at me and saying, “Hospice, it’s a bad idea. You go to hospice and you die.” And just as quickly as she powered the radio off, she powered it back on and picked up her guitar.
Well, I couldn’t argue that one and just decided to leave that up to her family, mainly her sister, knowing that someday, if they ever need hospice in their family, it won’t go over well with Ms. Stubborn.
So here I was last week, pulling into a Hospice House in Florida and thinking about Molly and so many of my other friends in Capernaum. It’s hard not to when a giant sign reads “Hospice” in front of you. Might as well of had a tag line reading “Come here and you die”.
I giggled and shared the story with my sister, and then proceeded to spend the next four days coming and going from this stunning facility, to be with my Nana. She lay peacefully in her bed, while we sat quietly in her room and talked to her despite the lack of hearing aids. With each visit, I thought about how so many of my friends in Capernaum have taught me what it looks like to just sit with someone. Our friends are amazing at sitting, with no purpose other than to be next to that person. They can sit for hours with someone and say nothing. They rest comfortably in the presence of friends, regardless of response. And with the same stubbornness that Molly has, believe, without a doubt that their friends know fully of their presence when they are around. They have taught me to believe and know the same to be true.
Molly was right. My Nana did go to hospice to die, but it certainly wasn’t a bad idea. They cared for her well and they provided us with a place to sit in the quiet of her room, knowing full well that she was aware and grateful for our presence.
I’m picking my air guitar back up because Hudson is requesting music from the Planes Fire & Rescue Soundtrack, which happens to have an ACDC song on it. Power on.