Recently, my faith has been tested while watching both of my amazing grandparents struggle with very scary and serious health issues that just seemed to be getting worse as time dragged on. While my family was dealing with assisted living situations at home, I was five-and-a-half hours away from everything in my college dorm just trying to process it all. In my 19 years of life, I had never known more Christian people and I didn't understand why they had to live in these terrible conditions. Being so far away from everything didn't help either, I had a very hard time focusing on my schoolwork and I had an even worse time going to sleep at night. Some nights, I wouldn't be able to sleep until nearly 6 in the morning because I just couldn't stop wondering why they were being put through this. There was a very real possibility that my grandfather wouldn't make it until I could come home for break. Every night, I prayed, begging God to just let me see him one more time.
When I arrived home for Christmas break, I was able to go and visit both of my grandparents. Seeing the struggle in real life just pushed me even farther into sadness. It was one thing to imagine it from a far away distance, but completely another to be there in real life. My heart ached for my family who had been home dealing with it while I was away at school. My grandfather was in the worst shape, stuck in the Surgical Trauma ICU with a grim outlook and completely relying on the ventilator to breathe.
One afternoon, my mom received a call from the hospital saying that he had taken a turn for the worst and to start preparing ourselves. So, we piled into the car with blankets and decided to stay at the ICU as long as possible. When I got there, I was very distraught. My grandfather who once stood so tall and strong was weak and swollen, and connected to so many machines. I knew that it was a very real possibility that this was the last time I would ever see him. I knew that he could hear, but he couldn't talk because of the ventilator. My mom asked me if there was anything I wanted to tell him. In my head, I came up with a few things I could say, like "I love you" or "I have missed you so much" or "Thank you for being the best grandfather in the world". After a few seconds of struggling to find my words, I told my grandpa that I finished my English class with an A. I felt pathetic, but I just couldn't find the words to tell him what I wanted him to. While I was sitting in the waiting room, I prayed that God would tell my grandpa what I had really wanted to tell him, or give me the strength to tell him myself.
My younger sister had school the next day, so we left the hospital around midnight. I walked back into his room in the ICU where my mom and my aunt were sleeping in chairs, and walked up to the side of his bed and told him that I loved him and that I knew he would pull through. I walked out of the room, however, believing that the time was drawing near. I prayed that God would give my family clarity in all of this horrible sadness. Christmas, our most favorite time of the year, was just a few days away, and all of us were preparing to say goodbye to my grandfather. This was not the time. I begged God to just get him through Christmas.
The next day, my mom was visiting the hospital, and my grandpa had made it through the night. The male nurse who was attending to his care was someone we had never met before, and we knew most of the nurses on the staff. She asked his nurse if there was any chance that he would come out of this and be able to get out of the hospital. The nurse replied "Well, miracles happen, I guess." My mom prayed for my grandpa to be able to see my grandma again and to be able to talk. I was convinced that the nurse was an angel, and that something good would happen soon.
One day later, my mom, sister, and I were on our way to the mall to try to clear our heads for a few minutes. When the phone rang from the hospital, we all got very nervous about what we were about to hear. The nurse, Chantelle, told my mom that my grandpa was off of the ventilator and was able to breathe completely on his own. We were amazed, and rushed to the hospital. He was awake, with his eyes opened and we were able to wave at him and just see his sweet face. It was seriously one of the best things that had ever happened to me.
I prayed that night, that we would be able to have a conversation again. The next day, I was at the dentist and my mom got a call from her good friend who had spent the morning with my grandpa and told her that he was talking. I rushed right over there after my dentist appointment. His words were very quiet and shaky, but he was able to say hello and I could talk and he could listen.
Christmas eve came, and he was beginning to look unfortunately worse. Nurses were beginning to ask my mom if her mind had changed in regards to resuscitating my grandpa if he were to go downhill. We prepared for a very sad Christmas and I braced myself for him to go back on the ventilator. During communion at our Christmas Eve church service, I asked God to give our family something to smile about on Christmas day, even if it was small.
The next day, our family got together at a Chinese restaurant, since the meal was always held at my grandparent's house and we just couldn't handle being there without them both. On our way to the restaurant, my mom got a call from my grandpa's nurse, he was alert, talking, and asked if he could watch a Christmas movie. He was also breathing completely on his own, and was receiving less oxygen than ever before. It was a Christmas miracle. We all arrived at the hospital and he was able to talk quite a bit.
Since Christmas, he has begun to get even better. He also has come out of the Intensive Care Unit and has been moved to a regular room. What happened to him was unfortunate, but he is making a slow and steady comeback and we are praying that he will be out of the hospital as soon as possible. On New Years Day, I walked into his new room for the very first time and he looked more like himself than he has since he has been in the hospital. I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face.
This roller coaster experience with my grandparents has taught me a lot. I have learned to never underestimate God, and that prayer truly does work. Five or six days before Christmas, no one thought that my grandpa would even make it to see the holiday he once loved so much. Instead, he woke up on Christmas morning breathing on his own, completely aware of the day, excited to see his family. He made it out of the ICU just a few days later, something we never thought would happen. My faith in God has been one of the few things that has gotten me through this.
Your faith will be tested at some points, but you have to put your worries in God's hands and trust that He will keep everything under control. I truly believe that His plan is mysterious, and that faith is the only thing that can help people through situations like these. Regardless of what happened to put my grandpa in the hospital, I now completely believe that he will be out soon and make a recovery. There is truly nothing more amazing than the power of prayer.