“Comforting Grandma,” Friend, May 2003, 17
Soon after Will’s fourth birthday, his Grandpa Swaner died. Grandma Swaner was old and in very bad health, both mentally and physically. Grandpa had been caring for Grandma, so when he died, she needed someone not only to comfort her but to care for her. She needed help getting in and out of bed, chairs, or wherever she wanted to be. Several family members took turns spending the night with her.
Two nights after Grandpa’s death, it was my turn to spend the night. Will and his daddy and I were with her that afternoon and evening, and Daddy was going to take him home while I stayed the night with her.
But when Will was told to clean up his toys so that he and Daddy could go home, he said, “No. I’m going to sleep with Grandma.”
No matter how much we tried to persuade him to go home, he insisted on staying. Finally we let him put his pajamas on and get in Grandma’s bed. We thought that he would go to sleep right away, and Daddy could take him home. An hour later, I went to see him. He was still awake. He said, “I’m not asleep because I’m waiting for Grandma to come to bed. She needs me because Grandpa isn’t here.”
He was still awake when Daddy and I helped Grandma into her bed. Will snuggled up to her. During the night when I checked on them, I often found Grandma covering his shoulders with the blankets or rubbing his back while he slept.
Will knew best. Grandma was sad and needed comforting and someone to care for, and he wasn’t going to leave her alone that night. He was truly trying to be like Jesus Christ.