Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Grandma Showed Up at Taekwondo

I walked into Taekwondo with the kids last week and noticed that Melissa wasn't sitting in her usual spot watching her children on the other side of the glass.  This was the 2nd week in a row.  Instead, an older woman sat very still, and just gazed into the window, but I could tell she wasn't really paying attention to what was going on.  
I got the kids settled and Luke ran into class.  I sat for a moment watching her and then I made the assumption that this was grandma.  
I lightly touched her shoulder and mentioned that we missed seeing Melissa here and was everything alright? 
The next thing I knew, through broken sobs, Melissa's mom cried out, "She's dying,  My only daughter is dying."  I couldn't help it.  I didn't know this woman. Chileans in general are very closed to strangers.  But I gave her a big hug and cried right along with her.  As we sat and watched our littles kick and and punch and laugh and jump, she began to tell me that everything was going along just fine.  
Melissa went in for her routine chemo right after class two weeks before and suddenly her liver began to fail.  They tried all sorts of bells and whistles and nothing seemed to be helping.  As of today, the doctors gave her only days to live.  Her mother talked and talked.  Telling me that Melissa's husband could eventually remarry but she will never get another daughter.  She cried and as she looked at the children.  Melissa had endured cancer during her entire pregnancy with her daughter and for the 5 years following. Those sweet kids.  "And why not take me instead?  I've lived my life!  She has these sweet babies to raise."

We talked a little bit more and then she decided to put her sunglasses back on so no one would notice the smeared makeup.  I wish I had had some of my own.  I just kept thinking back to that moment when Melissa happily told Kate to bring the crocheting materials to class and she would teach her while Kate waited for her class to start.  I was so impressed with the feeling of calm I had when I was in the room with her.  That day and every Monday, Wednesday, Saturday that she was there.  

I cried to Joe that night as I told him on the phone.  Why do terribly sad, horrible things happen to the "wrong" people?  I don't have that answer.  What I do know, is that we have a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who can see the whole picture and their hearts ache just like the rest of ours--probably even more-so.  I don't believe they give people people cancer so they are taken away from their families too soon.  I don't believe they cause car accidents to happen.  I believe that God created the heavens and the earth.  I believe that He created each and every one of us and somehow He knows each and every one of us by name.  And He loves us more than we can possibly imagine.  He sent us to this earth and gave us our agency to learn and grow and make mistakes.  He doesn't micromanage our existence.  I believe 100% in miracles.  I've had them.  But I also  believe that things happen.  Sometimes really awful things.  And that can be because of peoples own choices or because of accidents or because of a number of different circumstances.  I believe that God has the power to do whatever He wants.  He could fix every single problem with the snap of his fingers.  But sometimes what's best isn't always what we think is best.  And it's during those gut wrenching, painful, difficult to even breath moments, when we have to remember that we have not been left alone.  Not at all.  It's during those times that we are being carried.  

I pray this family feels it.  I wanted so much to give this woman just a drop of peace and knowledge that they were being cradled in the arms of a loving Heavenly Father who would give them the strength they needed to continue on.  That these children would be watched over and blessed.  Melissa slipped away 3 days ago.  

It still makes me cry.  

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