Christmas Stories: Day 9

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Going Home at Christmas

For days she had been telling us she wanted to go home.

I would come through the door to see her and she would say,

“Here’s Alison. She’ll take me home. I’ve got my bag honey. Let’s go.”

She would start to try to stand up, and then she would find she could not quite do it on her own. I would take her hand,

“Grandmother, you are home. Look around you. Here are all your things.”

“No, I don’t think so. I really need to go home. Will you please take me home?”

I remember looking at Nancy, our dear friend who sat with my grandmother during her last days, and saying, “I want to do what she asks.”

Instead, I just sat with her, holding her hand. She would ask to go home and I began to say, “Soon. Soon you will go home.”

She would settle for a while and then she would start again. “Can you please take me home? I’m ready to go.”

Weeks had passed since Grandmother had been outside, and actually, she had hardly been awake for the previous 48 hours. It was a sunny December afternoon, so I said, “Why not? Can’t we take her out for a minute? She just wants to go.”

So we all helped her up. We walked her outside, slowly up and down the street we went. The harsh daylight revealed her frail body’s true color, the jaundice reminding us how quickly the cancer was taking her now, bit by bit.

When we went back inside, she said she wanted some water. We even got her to take a few sips of a smoothie.

“That’s a wonderful smoothie. That’s delicious water,” she said.

“Isn’t the Christmas tree so nice?” She was marveling at everything around her.

At about 6pm, she sat up and said that it was time. She became very insistent.

“It’s time to walk through the door.”

She was pointing animatedly at something or someone only she could see.

She asked me if I was brave enough to walk through the door.

I walked over to where she was pointing and then came back to her. She hugged me and told me that I was so brave. Now she wanted to go through the door.

We helped her stand up. She looked around and said, “Look at all these angels here!”

“Crippled as I am, I am going to walk through that door!”

I asked her if she wanted her wheelchair and she said she wanted to walk.

“I am going to walk through that door and no one is going to stop me.”

Then she walked with us, my brother and I on her sides holding her up. We walked together across the room until she seemed satisfied.

When she sat back down she said that Bob, her first husband, had walked through that door. And George, her second, had walked through that door.

And now she had.

Then she went to sleep.

For six more days, my grandmother’s body stayed with us, and we even got her awake once or twice more, but not ever again like this day. It was on December 2nd two years ago that Grandmother decided she was truly ready to go home. She walked through the door to Jesus with her whole heart. I believe that she saw him.

Part of the gift of losing my grandmother at Christmas time is that I will always remember the stories of her last days when the holidays roll around again. At first this seemed rather cruel of God, since I have a little trouble getting excited for Christmas in the first place. Last year was bitter without her. But now I see that as the years pass, I get to open up these memories like treasures alongside the old ornament boxes.

Today I can hear her voice asking me again if I am brave enough to walk through the door.


alisonToday’s story is by Alison Chino.

Alison is the daughter of Craig and Julie Loibner, and the granddaughter of Marion Tschiemer. She currently lives in Scotland with her family where she is writing stories and taking pictures and hiking as many trails as possible until the Lord calls her back to Fellowship North. She’s counting down the days until all the Chinos come home to Arkansas for Christmas! Follow her on Instagram or read her blog: Chino House.

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