On September 16, 2008, I was asked to sit with my grandmother for the day. My mother, who had rarely left her side, needed to finish up some things at work, and my uncle was en route from Albuquerque, New Mexico to be with his mother in her last days.
I got to the nursing home a little after lunch time. She was asleep and wouldn’t respond to me. I held her hand and said her name, but her sleep was too deep to hear my words or feel my touch. I sat down in the chair beside her bed and read my book. She was so quiet.
After about two hours of silence, I became very afraid…like a child in the dark. I didn’t know what to do. I began praying Psalm 23 over and over again to myself. Then, I took out my Bible to read the Psalm, filling in the parts that escaped me. I needed to hear words from someone. I needed to be comforted, because I felt so alone with the one person who was always near.
All of a sudden my phone registered a text. It was from a sweet friend who knew that I was with my grandmother for the day. She asked, “Are you alright?”
I responded, “I am just praying Psalm 23 until I believe it’s true.” She told me that she and her husband were praying for me, and that I was not alone.
I took my Bible out again as the tears ran down my face. I felt so little again, trying to get to her when I was afraid.
And then it happened. It spoke to me. It spoke to me in ways that my grandmother could not.
I got a highlighter out of my purse and began marking the words.
Psalm 37 “The one thing I ask of the Lord– the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.
Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me. My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds……”Lord, I am coming.”***
The words poured over me, and I felt better. I was more at rest. So much so, that I picked up my book and began to read.
Another 30 minutes passed. All of a sudden, my grandmother cried out….”Oh, I’m SO Happy!!!”
It startled me. I jumped and turned around not knowing what just happened. She had been silent, save her breathing for four solid hours. Then, with her eyes still closed she said it again.
“Oh, I’m SO Happy!!!” I went over to her and called her name. “Memaw,” I said, “Can you hear me?”
She didn’t respond. Then she said, “Oh, I’m SO happy!!”
I said, “Memaw, Are you So happy?”
She said, “Yes Ma’am.”
I called my mother and put my grandmother on speaker phone. My mom left work immediately.
I went and sat by my grandmother’s side and held her hand. Then prayed, Psalm 23 out loud. over and over.
She then called out, “Oh, and I found my Puppy!!” “I found my puppy!”
I began to cry and laugh at the same time. I had tears in laughter. It was such a striking contrast. My heart was breaking, and it was also rejoicing. Out of all the things she could have said, this brought me the most comfort. I love puppies, and I loved that she was happy.
“Memaw, did you find your puppy?,” I asked.
My mother came in, and we both just sat with her. My mom said earlier that morning, my grandmother told her, “We’re going to miss you.” Meaning, they would miss each other. Memaw didn’t say anything else. Ever. Again.
The next day, she left this earth. My mother, my uncle, and myself were there when she took her last breath.
Never before had Heaven felt so near. And, I am happy to be confirmed in my suspicions that there will be puppies there.
***here are the other verses that He gave me.***
Psalm 22:24 “For He has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy, He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.”
Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 25:4-7 “Show me the right path, O Lord, point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.”
You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; or abandon me. O God of my salvation. Even if my mother and father abandon me,(My grandmother was an orphan) the Lord will hold me close.
v. 10 Lead me along the right path.”
Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
Psalm 30: 11-12 “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks…forever.”