(Grandpa & Thingy, April 5, 2014)
Have you ever had those moments when you needed something, but you didn’t know what to call it? Maybe you called it a thingamajig, a doohickie, a whatchamacallit … but when you got it, you knew that it was absolutely perfect for the task at hand.
Our family has a Thingy. Her name is Sue, but to all of us, she is Thingy. The whole story of how she got that name is “need to know”, so if you don’t know …
Thingy became my step-mother in 1985, a little over a year after my Sweetie became my Mrs. I don’t think it is too strong a statement to say that, in many ways, Thingy and Dad rescued each other. If it wasn't a match made in heaven, it has been, at the very least, a great partnership and grand adventure.
She has been Thingy to us from the beginning. When Mrs. Sweetie and I called to tell them we were expecting their first grandchild, we told her she was going to be a Grand-Thingy. It didn't take long for the grandchildren to simply make it Thingy.
She has filled our lives with laughter (often at her expense), wisdom (she is not particularly hesitant to share an opinion), fun (yes, “Thingy” fits), and a visible example of strength and courage. Thingy has been completely wheelchair bound with Multiple Sclerosis for the past 20 years. That is as long as some of her grandchildren have been alive and I’m not sure that any of them have anything more than a vague recollection of her being able to walk. Thingy’s wheelchair has been a part of our lives.
Last September, she was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery to remove her bladder came in October. Two weeks ago, tests revealed that the cancer has returned aggressively and is in lungs and liver and is spreading through her bloodstream. It appears that, in a few short months, God is going to say, “Hand me my Thingy.”
She had all her kids and grand-kids with her this past weekend. We laughed, told stories, and made plans for her memorial celebration. We all went together to her church, where she led the children’s sermon. There were some tears once in awhile, but it was not a somber time. She told me she doesn't want any “draggy” songs at her memorial celebration. So I promised her none of us would come in drag.
Since my life is lived out in my column/blog, I knew I would be writing about her at some point. I decided I wanted to write it now, while she is still here to read it. So, indulge me for a moment.
Thingy, I love you with all my heart. I could not have asked for a better partner for Dad, a second mom for me, or a better Grand-Thingy for my children. Someday we are going to run laps in Heaven.
The wheelchair stays here.