Lily has always been very close with my mom. Grandma stayed with her for four days while Ed and I were in the hospital with baby Emmy, and that cemented their bond even more. Before our trip to Iowa, my sister asked if I had prepared Lily for seeing her Grandma. That day, very casually, I asked Lily how she thought Grandma would be when we saw her again. She knew my mom had gone through her “treatments” since the last time we saw her, and was now bald “like Daddy.” What I think took her aback when she did see Grandma was how different certain medications had made Grandma’s face look, along with Grandma’s lack of hair. My mom has taken to wearing hats and no wig, just as I did. As soon as she got special hugs and kisses from Grandma, though, everything was all right. Later, Lily confided to me that Grandma’s hair was going to grow back, just like our willow tree will grow back in the spring.
We took the girls to see their Great-Grandma. She had been sick, and so I asked her if she had asked for help from the nurse that is on staff in her building. No, she said–she is afraid they will take her to the hospital. I admire her desire for independence, but am glad her friends check on her! I brought her jam from my sister, and she told me, “Oh, I don’t go down for breakfast. I like to stay here and have some toast and jam.” Grandma, you’re priceless!
On our last night, Mom, my sisters and I lie on Mom’s bed, talking. No matter how old we grow, we continue to plop down next to Mom, ready to talk, ready to listen.
The weeping willow has always been my favorite tree. One stood in our front yard in Nebraska when I was very young. Their tiny leaves and twigs scatter everywhere in the breeze, and yet when a strong wind blows, the willow is more apt to bend, not break. After a storm, it is the maple trees that lose the biggest branches. May we be like the willow when storms sweep through our lives, as good weather is bound to reappear.