The Day I Walked Out On A Woman Who Would Not Have Walked Out On Me

Granny lived in the old house across the road for about 35 years.  She moved there when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  She loved the simple life and would give away everything she had if she thought it would help someone.

Granny loved to help.  If dishes needed to be done, she did them.  If a garden needed to be weeded, she weeded it. If a little boy needed tutoring with homework, she tutored him. If a little girl needed snacks for a gaggle of friends, she spread the peanut butter and poured the Kool-Aid.

A multitude of memories and stories exist about this woman.  She was courageous enough to stomp a rattlesnake to death, physically strong enough to survive two major heart attacks and still garden and care for others, and spiritually strong enough to survive the loss of two husbands and to rear five well grounded children.

But there came a day when her strength began to fail; and her memory began to fail, and her courage began to waver. About a year before she died, Granny developed Alzheimer’s.  She did not want to go to a nursing home.  Her children did not want her to go.  So she continued to live in the little house across the road.

The family did their best to provide someone to stay with Granny 24/7. Sometimes it was a family member.  Sometimes it was a hired caregiver.  But somebody was usually there with her every minute of the day.

As the disease progressed, so did Granny’s fears. I suppose she comprehended that she was losing her ability to care for herself and becoming disabled in any capacity frightens even the most courageous.

One morning, as I was completing my morning milking and feeding chores, I heard Granny yelling my name.  She was standing on her front porch.  As I crossed the road to see what she needed, she went back into the house.  I found her curled up in her bed.  She said that there was no one there, (The night caregiver had gone home, and it was going to be about an hour before one of the family members could arrive.), and that she felt sick (a ploy she was learning to use to for manipulation purposes).  She asked if I could stay with her till someone arrived.

I knew the sick part was a ploy, but she looked so feeble and helpless laying curled in the fetal position in her bed.  She was really just asking for help because she was afraid to be alone. I thought about staying.

But I had chores to do; bottle calves to feed; hay to put out; the milkers to wash and the barn to clean; plus some unique farming activities that I had planned.  In my mind, all this had to be done by a certain time.  I could not be late.

So I told Granny that I would keep an eye on her and that I would not leave the farm until I knew someone had arrived to stay with her.  I told her that if I completed my chores before anyone arrived, I would come sit with her until everything worked out.

And I left her curled up in the bed.

Everything did work out that day. The family member arrived as planned. Granny was not sick. And I got my work done.

But you know, I can’t remember any details about  the things that were so pressing that day.  I know that I did finish my work on time, but that had no bearing whatsoever on the success or failure of the farm.

What I do remember is that I walked out on a frightened little old woman whom I loved; a woman who would not have walked out on me.

Each time that particular memory flashes through my mind, I wish that I had taken the time to sit with my Granny for that hour.  It may not have changed anything about her health or her life, but it would have changed several hundred moments of mine.

Time cannot be relived.  Use it wisely while it is yours to use.  You will thank yourself many times over.

“15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) ESV

“12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12-14)ESV


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