Yesterday was Thanksgiving and this past week I had written a few posts discussing some of my family’s traditions. If you read about them, you know that we have a lot of Thanksgiving traditions and we love Thanksgiving. Because of how awesome our Thanksgivings always are, it’s my favorite holiday. Yes, more than Christmas.
The day I wrote my “Thankful Part Two – “Share Time” post, I came home to my mom crying. Face buried in hands in her favorite rocking chair downstairs. My dad came home a while later and started crying as well. I looked at my brothers and they just shrugged, not knowing what was going on. I could gather that my mom had talked on the phone to my grandma, so I figured that my grandpa must have been diagnosed with something bad. You see, my grandpa’s been sick for about two months. Last week, he came to the ranch a couple of times and had to take his boots off because he said his feet were hurting him really bad. He thought that the pain was because of the newer pair of boots he was wearing. But he went to the doctor this past week, and was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Which brings me back to the tears that my parents were crying. On Tuesday night, they told me the news. I was shocked and my heart was heavy. My healthy, strong grandpa had a terrible sickness. And I felt like everything I had just posted about on my blog that day of being thankful for was being taken away from me. (You know how when you pray for patience, and then you feel like God is giving you every possible situation that tests your patience, instead of just handing you patience? I kind of felt like that. Everything I just said I was thankful for earlier in the day…was being tested.)
On Wednesday, grandpa stayed in touch with my uncles since they were working at the calf ranch. They put him on speaker phone in the office so we could all hear him. He said that his white blood cell count was so high that the doctors said he was at a risk of having a stroke, so they needed to get him to one of the university hospitals quickly because they have a special machine that would help get that under control. After he shared that frightening news, he asked how corn prices were looking. (Totally made me giggle because only my grandpa would ask about something like that in a time like this!)
Thankfully, Stanford University’s hospital accepted my grandpa. So Wednesday night, my grandpa and grandma were driven up to Stanford via ambulance. The rest of my family then did what we usually do the night before Thanksgiving: pizza night. There were a few tears that were shed when everyone saw each other, but then the rest of the night was filled with laughs, good pizza and family time and ended with 19 of us praying for grandpa in the middle of the pizza place.
On Thanksgiving morning, we all packed our cars up with luggage and Thanksgiving food and headed to Stanford. Our family usually runs a 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, so in honor of grandpa, we all wore our Turkey Trot shirts! 28 of us piled into grandpa’s room and hung out for a bit. Then we went to an atrium in the hospital and unloaded our Thanksgiving day feast. Grandpa was able to come out for it too, even! I wish you could have seen the doctors’ and nurses’ faces when we all piled out of grandpa’s room though…priceless.
The atrium was on the bottom floor of the hospital and there were, I believe, 3 stories above us. It was all open though, so people from the 3rd floor could lean over the railing and see us in the atrium. So imagine, walking through a hospital and seeing a group of 30 (grandpa and grandma are included in this count now!) people eating a Thanksgiving feast in the atrium of the hospital. Yes, we received a lot of stares. Before we feasted, grandma read from Psalm 23 and said a prayer.
After we ate and visited and laughed, we continued with the tradition of worship time. You see, grandma loves singing praise songs. So, a guitar was brought and my brother, Austin, played while the rest of us sang along. We sang “Everlasting God” and “Holy is the Lord.” So, not only were we 30 people in the middle of the hospital, we were 30 people singing praise songs. Awesome, right? Yes. And I couldn’t help but smile and get a bit choked up because worship time is just a glimpse of how deeply rooted my family is in Christ. Even though this hard time came our way so unexpectedly, we still know that we have much to thankful for.
Although we had a few more tears (a few more than a few) than usual, it still felt like a great day to me. Because even though we have a road of difficult times and uncertainties ahead of us, I know we can get through them with God as our shepherd and a family that believes and lives fearing no evil because we know that God is with us, always. Through the green pastures and the darkest valleys.
Today, the doctor’s diagnosis was quite positive. They’re just waiting on results from a few more tests, but they said that 1 in 3 patients are able to be completely cured of the leukemia after chemotherapy. They also said grandpa is way ahead of the curve because even though he’s 68, his body is in the shape of a 50-year-old man. (I think it’s all the cauliflower and broccoli and carrots that he eats for lunch. And all of the hikes and walks that grandma made him go on! :)) If you’d like to continue to get updates on how my grandpa’s doing, you can become a member of Care Pages and search for “Grimmius.” His name is TomGrimmius. Please lift him and my grandma up in your prayers when you think of it. We do greatly appreciate it!
Oh, and grandma said today, “We’re the talk of the hospital, you guys!” It’s hard to miss a group of 30 in Turkey Trot shirts singing praise sings 😉 So, Thanksgiving wasn’t how it usually is, but it was still just as good. I am so blessed for a family who loves the Lord and loves each other through everything. And that love goes back to how my grandparents have led our family through all of these years.
A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD