October Runs On . . .

The last four weeks have held adventure and pathos. We have traveled out of the country and came back home unscathed, (but not unchanged). There has been both a wedding and a death in our church family. I spent five days in Washington, DC, helping out with childcare while Lem and Jessica were on vacation, then Certain Man and I traveled with Rachel and Rob to Guatemala to visit our “Almost a Daughter,” Lupe, and her husband, Ervin, and their three children, Nicole (13) Joshua (almost 10) and Sofia (6). We came home in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, October 12th, and we had a few days in our own space. We celebrated my 69th birthday (with more good wishes and accolades than I felt comfortable with, but the kindness and support were heart-warming and very much appreciated) and then we turned our eyes towards finalizing plans for our trip to Canton.

The days had passed swiftly. There were several times when I heard Certain Man say that we were going to Ohio, and then he was going to leave me there for probably two weeks to help out, and he was planning to come home. I perused the postings of our daughter in law to see if the timing was good, if they really needed me to stay, and if, in fact, I would be of any help. I wanted to stay if I was going to be helpful, but I wondered if maybe I would be of more help later in the course of Ellie’s six weeks of treatment. Daniel decided that he would give Raphael a call. Ever the one who tries to prepare for whatever, just in case, I messaged Regina and asked her if she and Raphael could discuss the options before Daniel called. Her response was swift and defining for me. And another whammy for our family.

Ellie had started her radiation on Thursday, but in the middle of all the already chaotic scheduling, our oldest grandson had a health crisis and was accepted into a two week Partial Hospitalization Program beginning Monday. While the admission to the program was nothing short of a “God-Thing,” the ensuing scheduling chaos reeked of the other kingdom. Regina and Ellie needed to leave for Cleveland at 5:30 am to get to her appointment in Cleveland. Raph needed to leave by 7:20 to take Si to his PHP and then go on to work, but that left the two younger boys with no one to get them on the bus. Then, at 1:50, pretty much in the middle of Ellie’s naptime, someone needed to head out to pick up Si from his program at 2:30. For once there was no beating around the bush, but rather, “So all this to say that starting Monday through the next two weeks, we will take all the help we can get.”

I was actually so relieved to know exactly what would be the most helpful, and Daniel was pretty much vindicated in his prediction that he was going to take me and leave me for two weeks while he went back home and got ready for chickens (and get into any of a number of projects that he wanted to do). And so, I started once again to pack for an extended stay. There were lots of loose ends to catch up, and I felt like I couldn’t think. We decided that we would leave right after church on Sunday since Daniel was scheduled to preach, and the projected deadline kept me plodding along, hoping that I didn’t forget anything integral.

Sunday morning. Daniel had been working on his sermon steadily and there were times when I was curious as to just what his topic was. Often when we would talk, both of us were in tears as we tried to process all the things that had happened in the months preceding. I, as I usually do, turned to music for comfort and encouragement and to set my heart straight. One of the songs on my playlist kept repeating itself over and over in my mind and I finally asked Daniel if this song would conflict with his sermon, or if we could possibly play it somewhere in the service.


Daniel preached on the Sovereignty of God that morning, and the song was played at the end of the service. Our church family, ever supportive and sympathetic, and some of our favorite people ever, gathered around us and prayed for us, for our extended family, and especially for Raphael, Regina, Simon, Liam, Frankie and Ellie. They wept with us, hugged us tight, and blessed us in the going, the staying and whatever else we felt we needed to do for our Canton Family.

We pulled into Raphael’s and Regina’s around 8:30 that evening, and were enthusiastically welcomed by our four grands and their Mama and Daddy. The schedule fell into place the next morning, Daniel left for home Tuesday morning, and so we have completed the first week of the two weeks that I’m planning to spend here. Canton is beautiful in her autumn dress. It’s amazing the colors just outside the front door that I see each morning as I watch Liam and Frankie get on the bus.

In other updates:
Ellie is finished with 7 of her 35 treatments. It’s no fun for this little girlie, but the personnel at Cleveland Clinic are beyond fantastic. They are working very hard to make things as easy for her and her Warrior Mama as they possibly can. There will always be things that just do not quite suit a little miss of four that has to endure so much more than it feels like she should have to, and it would be easy to spoil and give in and let her get by with a lot. She is opinionated, determined, and surprisingly strong for such a pint-sized girlie. (Last night one of her parents was commenting on “words that are most used in the household,” and the general consensus was, “No, Ellie!!!”) I’m proud of the two of them for the effort they exert to teach her obedience, kindness and helpfulness. She’s resistant, but they are tenacious (as she, though it aggravates her sore, needs them to be).

One of the things that the clinic does is have prizes for Ellie to choose each day. One day last week she came home with a 63 piece puzzle for ages 5+. She made good progress on her own, but I helped her finish it the first time. The second time, my help was very minimal, and the third time, she put every single piece in by herself! She’s done it on her own a couple of times since. It fascinates me because she does not start with the outside. She always starts with the same area every time and actually seems a little put out by the edge pieces. She’s really good at this, and it makes me wonder what she has going on in that brain of hers that allows her to see from the “inside out.”

Ellie works hard at her puzzle.
Ellie surveys her success!

Today is Saturday. Liam and Frankie had soccer tournaments today and Regina, Ellie and I went to the two that were in the middle of the afternoon. These younger boys are so athletic, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to see them in action. However, it’s a little like I told my family tonight, “Frankie’s team lost both of theirs after winning ALL their games this season. There were some coaching and officiating crazies that were unfortunate . . . And THIS is why this Grammy is no more enthusiastic about grandchildren’s sporting events than she was her own kids! If there is unfairness that affects MY KIDS, it doesn’t make sense that there is no appeal!” So, I’m glad I went, the boys played well, and I’m very proud of them, but I think that this was enough. At least for now.

And now it’s late on Saturday night, and I’m about to head for bed. Tomorrow morning, Lord willing, I hope to join my church family via zoom for our communion service. I wish I could be there. I have so much joy in preparing the emblems, ironing the linens, making sure the towels are ready for the traditional feet washing service. It will all be done, and they will be okay without me. But I’m not quite okay without them. This is where I need to practice what I preach and look for the joy. I’ve taken to rehearsing each night in the presence of my Father the things of the day that remind me of His blessings on me. In the comfort of a good bed and a comfortable almost dark room, it’s helped me so much to speak to Him of His goodness to me and our family and it helps me to keep perspective.

. . . and if the Lord tarries (and if He wills) and plans carry, I will be home by next week at this time. I’m very glad to be able to be here to help out in this challenging time, and I intend to enjoy and savor these moments that will never come back again. Raphael and Regina are more than gracious to me, and these grandchildren are exceedingly dear. But someone I love is waiting, and it’s HOME, and I can almost hear it calling my name. And when it’s time, I want to go.

My heart gives grateful praise.


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2 responses to “October Runs On . . .

  1. sue

    Wow. What is God making now?

  2. atagrandma

    I love that song. We all have trials and blessings in our lives. If I were younger I’d hop in my car and drive to Canton to meet you, but at 84 I don’t drive out of town anymore. My husband loved to drive but he’s been in Heaven for 7 years now. I do enjoy reading your blog, and pray for Ellie and for you.

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