I am beyond excited about this blog series and today's post is so heartfelt and genuine. My heart breaks and smiles after reading this (I've read it multiple times) and I know this story will bless your day. Please enjoy this guest post written by Stephanie of Sustaining the Powers:
Hi! I’m Stephanie Powers. (Here I am with my husband, Nick.) I typically blog about the tales from my test kitchen over at Sustaining the Powers, but today Meagan invited me to share one of my favorite Christmas memories with you. Thanks for letting me share Meagan!
I want you all to meet Pat the Snowman. Pat is a very special snowman to me because he brought my family a lot of joy during a very tough year. Back in the fall of 2008, my grandma went to the hospital for extremely high blood sugar. I remember holding my mom’s hand while we got the diagnosis: terminal pancreatic cancer. It’s very fast, and very deadly. My grandmother took the news better than I ever could have. She refused treatment other than pain management and that which would allow her to be more comfortable as the disease progressed. She decided it was God’s time for her, and, at 87, prolonging her life would only add to the quantity, not the quality.
By December of that year, Grandma was bedridden with home hospice care, and my mom and I were helping to take care of her. She loved having her window open to watch the birds and squirrels playing outside, but they had mostly moved on with the first snows of the year. A friend from my small group at church came over to visit with her just before Christmas, saw the space outside of her window, and had the great idea to build a snowman that Grandma could see from her bed. He called a few friends and asked them to come over. Those friends went and invited an entire crew from their dorm floor to build “the biggest snowman possible”.
I was so surprised by the turnout – at least 3 carloads of people came to love on my family, some of which I had never even met before. At this point in the progression of the cancer, Grandma had hardly been able to stay awake for more than half an hour, but she intently watched us all afternoon as we played in the snow.
They were also not kidding about it being the biggest possible snowman. The snowball for the base was rolled nearly around the block to collect enough snow. It was actually so big that it had to be lifted over the fence with some improvised ramps in order to get it into the backyard. Grandma’s response: “Oh my word!” The other two snowballs followed suit in size, some odds and ends were collected for a face, and soon, Pat was born. He even got some flowers to hold.
While someone from the snowman crew ran to the grocery down the street to get hot coco for the group, we all gathered around Grandma in her bedroom and chatted with her. Always the story teller, she invented an entire back story to tell us about how Pat was a long lost relative to Frosty who came just to visit her and bring her joy. I think she’d been creating her story the entire time we’d been building the snowman. Grandma asked us to sing her a few Christmas carols, and then we all prayed for her before everyone left to head home.
When we were once again alone in the house, I sat with her on the bed as she thanked me for such an incredible day. I started crying, and she looked at me and told me,
“Don’t cry. I love you.”
“I love you too,” I managed to mumble through my tears.
“Good,” she said, “it works out even that way.”
I couldn’t help but smile.
Grandma didn’t want her photo taken that day (cancer is not pretty in the least), but here I am with Grandma (bottom right), Grandpa, my parents, and my sister. I’m the older little girl in the center.