When I think about Paw, what I remember is a grandmother who would jump in the water at Aunt Missy’s with us…a grandmother who would pull the wheelbarrow full of children…a grandmother whose shoes were off the minute it was warm outside. I remember her voice as she sang praise at church, tambourine jingling and feet flying as she danced. I remember my awe at her worship. She worshipped unashamed, abandoned, alive.
Even when she got Parkinson’s…and I remember the time of the diagnosis well. She went with me to most of my obstetrician appointments when I was pregnant with Julia. It didn’t matter to her that I got pregnant at nineteen, before I was married. What mattered to her was that she loved me. She was good company at those appointments. The Parkinson’s diagnosis came in that season and I hadn’t even known she was sick. We were at Hardee’s with my Aunt Felicia (Paw’s sister) and my Uncle L.T. (Felicia’s husband) on our way to one of my appointments when she told us the news. She said it as though in passing…like it was part of conversation. With a shrug and a smile.
As the years went by, she got sicker. She had two brains surgeries and she had a surgery to put an electrical thingie in her body to help the tremors. She fought through Parkinson’s for as long as she could. She gave being well her all.
And through it all…she didn’t change. She wasn’t bitter, she wasn’t angry. Just a shrug and a smile. It is what it is, this is my lot in life and in heaven I’ll be able to run and dig in the dirt again and swim and have bare feet all the time if I want to.
When I went to see her yesterday…she was my same Paw but she was also different. She is frail and she is small. She wants to speak up but she can’t form the words. I see HER in those eyes and I see recognition but it comes and goes. I remember all that she has been and I take in what she is now.
She is fearfully and wonderfully made.
And it is almost time for her to run again, to dig in the dirt again, to be busy and to dance like David danced on the streets of gold.
I close my eyes and picture her dancing like she danced in the aisles at New Covenant church. I keep going back to that image, because that sums up my Paw.
I love words…but I can’t find any to describe my heart right now.
She loves well. She has loved her five children well. She has loved her thirteen grandchildren well. She has loved her thirty three great grandchildren well. But what has shaped her, what has made her Paw, what has made her that Proverbs 31 lady of faith is this…she has loved Jesus well.
Paw’s faith is legendary.
Her Jesus will say when He welcomes her to His side, “Well done, good and faithful one. Well done. Now, let’s dance.” And the two of the, arm in arm will dance on the streets of gold.