This week I started taking care of James Grandpa in his Aunt’s home. He’s a spunky little ninety-two-year-old italian with dementia.
Back before James and I were dating, he was one of the things that brought us together. I was in California for Erin’s wedding and James told me later that watching me talk with his grandpa and laugh at his jokes was the first time he thought, “I bet this relationship could work.”
So grandpa has a dear place in our hearts. He doesn’t remember most of the jokes he used to tell–on repeat–anymore and he doesn’t really remember any of us at all, but he still has a light in his eyes.
I’m working 24 hour shifts, four days a week and James’ cousin, Rachel, covers the other days.
So here’s story number one from my time with Grandpa:
Last night he got up for a bathroom break pretty early in the morning and I helped him back to bed. Then he grabbed my hand, kissed it and said something in Italian. I asked him what it meant and he said “You are. You are *insert italian phrase here*.”
I smiled, not knowing if he was flirting with me or telling me thank you, which he does quite frequently. He’s adorably sweet. In any case, I keep reminding him I’m married to his grandson, just in case he thinks he’s flirting.
I laid back down in my bed and as he’s falling asleep he usually mumbles “Hallelujah, blessed savior, blessed savior.”
But this morning, clear as day, he said, “Do I have to do more than what I can do, *same italian phrase that he called me*?”
Do I have to do more than what I can do?
I’m pretty sure I heard God speak to me through this 92 year old man on this Good Friday.
I lay in my bed wide eyed, tears peeking through.
I wanted to jump up and run back to his bed and look him in the eyes and say, “No, you can stop striving! You don’t have to do more than what you can. You don’t even have to do anything. It’s all taken care of.”
But I felt paralyzed. And I was pretty sure he’d already forgotten what he’d asked.
Somehow he verbalized a question that has plagued me a long time.
The thing is, I already know the answer.
Now I guess it’s time to let go.