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  • Writer's pictureDee Aspin

A Grandma who Blessed my Thanksgiving

Once upon a Wednesday, over a decade ago, I met a special Grandma, the day before Thanksgiving…

Poor boy. Our last work day before Thanksgiving, I had read the surgery scheduled Eye Tumor Removal and noted age ten, before I spotted the child with the huge unsightly mass in pre-op.

Hours later, an anesthesiologist rolled his gurney into my station. White sheets dwarfed all but a few black curls atop the head of my newest little post-op patient. Leaning over him, I scanned the mound of gauze on his right eye, listened to his rhythmic breathing and noted the relaxed expression as he slept.

The capped anesthesiologist lowered his face mask to give report. “This is Joey. He did fine…”

“Were they able to take it all out?” I hoped the tumor was benign, encapsulated and safe to remove.

“Well, I think so…” he grimaced. “We won’t know for sure until the biopsy comes back. You never know if a few cells are still in the cavity that may have spread.”

I gazed down at the long black curly lashes on one eye, the patch on the other, and patted the soft fuzzy head. The sleeping ten-year old awoke briefly to complain his “tummy hurt,” and returned to sleep.

A well-groomed woman in a windbreaker and jogging shoes strode in, introduced herself and kissed Joey’s forehead. She sat on the chair beside him, stroked his hand and smiled at me. Grandma was legal guardian, raising Joey and two siblings.

“He just had his appendix out two months ago”—and then this popped up!” She frowned. “In one month he developed a tumor on his eye the size of a walnut.”

Now, Grandma’s voice lowered and her eyes seized mine. “Just last week he asked me, ‘Grandma, do you think I’m supposed to be here?’”

“What do you mean, Joey?” She raised her eyebrows.

“Well it just seems like I have a lot of trouble none of the other kids have.”

“Of course you’re suppose to be here. God made you, Joey, and God has a purpose for your life.” Her voice equaled her steady gaze.

“You’re here to share with others whatever He’s given you and not to be selfish.” She spoke with such confidence I felt peace.

My little patient continued sleeping under the effects of anesthesia, his breaths even and soft.

The beeping monitors signaled all was well for now. She delved a bit more into her story as a single parent and how she raised all her children in the Baptist church.

“Why, just a month ago one of my son’s called me from another state.” She grinned at the recollection.

“Mom, you know I started to get this sick feeling in my stomach, like I haven’t been doing things right.” She chuckled to herself. “And so I went into that closet that you always told me about and I talked to God. And Mom, it works…I felt better right away…And so now I’ve been doing what you told me. My pockets are empty all the time, Mom!”

She laughed aloud as she relayed they had laughed together on the phone when he concluded his conversation.

I grinned, listening enraptured.

“I raised my boys telling them if you have change in your pocket don’t wait for someone on the street to come up and beg. Don’t wait for them to ask you for some change. If they’re sitting there you go up and give them the coins in your pocket…” She winked. “They might need to warm up on a cold day with some coffee or a cup of soup—you just give it to them.”

She extended an invisible mug in her cupped hand, one I’m sure had existed at any point in her long and faithful life.

I felt such deep respect for this woman—humbled by her life. I’m grateful Joey has her with him to be a daily source of encouragement. I felt immense gratefulness for the life and beauty God has given me. Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see God… She speaks and lives in such away she is impacting generations following her, how to live on earth as in heaven. People like this touch the poor and homeless as Jesus would, in ways I don’t even understand.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:3

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