She is so tiny and frail lying there in her hospital bed. She took a nasty fall in her apartment sometime between the afternoon of June 13 and the morning of June 14 and when she fell, she landed on the arm that holds her emergency "call bracelet"…the one that could have brought help sooner. But in the trauma of the fall and the hours spent alone on the floor, no call for help could have been sent so the assisted living personnel found her when she did not check in with her "I am OK" call on Sunday morning.
Her nieces keep the vigil with her now and wonder at her spunkiness in spite of such obvious injuries…her face is bruised, swollen, it had been bloodied— but the ER staff cleaned her up; now she just bears the heavy bruises caused by the fall. Her arms and chest and back are bruised, probably from struggling to get up. She really cannot remember much about those hours after the fall. That is probably a good thing….not to remember the details of such a trauma. The Lord is good and gives Grace in all situations for those who trust Him and she trusts Him!!!!
Her daughter arrives after having just gone home the day before…..the surprise call came as she was leaving a Sunday morning church service and she hopped back in her car and returned to Fargo Moorhead immediately. So now three younger women are with her as she lies in her hospital bed and talks and talks and talks. She is "hyped up" in spite of losing sleep for hours and hours and not having any food. The IV drip is taking care of the dehydration and the loss of other important elements like potassium. She is still a strong woman in spite of the frail appearance. Her spirit is undaunted also. She very much wants a couple of oatmeal cookies and cup of really hot coffee!!! Her niece orders it from the hospital food service and it arrives quickly. She eats both cookies and spills a bit of the coffee on the bed clothes in her eagerness to have a sip of that good old "Norwegian Gasoline"
She is still so strong that there is no evidence of any broken bones. She is a tough survivor, the last of her generation, the last of her family. On June 14, 1933, she was 13 years old. Her oldest sister got marrried that day and the reception was at the home farm with a cake baked by their mother. The bride wore a real wedding dress….a long satin one, close- fitting, cut on the bias stylish dress with a train and she had a bridal veil as well. There were beautiful roses for the boquets too….this was highly unusual for the Depression Years; the wedding had even been at the country church where the family were members. Almsot no one had a church wedding in those days. It was a happy day for a 13- year old youngest sister.
Five years later, she was almost 18 years old when her first niece was born; she lived with her oldest sister and her husband then, while going to high school. The new baby became her baby to play with and take care of. She brought the 1-year old downtown a year later and gave her a taste of a frozen malt at Lakie’s Cafe and later, the 1- year old niece fell off the sled and was lying like an overturned turtle on the snowcovered road…but the baby was still smiling up at her when she realized she had fallen off and went back to put her on the sled again. The two of them have laughed about that day over the many years both of them have grown older.
As the nieces and the daughter keep their vigil by the bedside, all of them remember her when she was young and strong and vigorous…..the oldest niece remembers her as a competent bookeeper at the small rural store near where she grew up. It is the place she met her future husband and the niece remembers those courting days too…the young man would come to pick up his Sweetheart and two nieces…one from the Twin Cities….would tickle his ribs while he was waiting for his Love to get ready. The two little girls spent many days staying at "Grandma’s farm" in those bygone days.
All of the three younger women remember her as a strong and capable co-owner of another country store—this one in the lakes country where she and her husband worked 7 days a week, from dawn to dusk, serving the many "lakers" who depended on them for gas and groceries, for hardware, fishing tackle and even fishing boats, lawn mowers, even appliances like stoves and refrigerators. They remember when they retired and enjoyed good years at their lake home, bought after retiring. Then her husband began to fail from Parkinson’s and they moved into town to be closer to help and medical facilities. After his death his wife, still strong and active, lived in her home and cared for it and the big lawn and garden for many more years. One of the nieces remembers a day in a January past when her Aunt led her on a merry chase on cross- country skis, overland, across frozen Big Cormorant Lake all the way to the village where the store used to be theirs. She was in her early 70s then and she wore her niece out completely that day with the niece arriving at the village pub for a pre-planned lunch with another aunt…. with her hair wet and plastered to her head from the exertion of the cross country ski journey. Her "young" aunt was not even puffing!
But now she is the fragile one. Her move to an assisted living apartment was no surprise. At the age of almost 90 she simply was not "up to" living at home any longer and the time in the apartment has been a good one, just like all the other phases of her life. Now however, she seems determined to move into the nursing home wing and have "everything done for me" but her daughter cautions her to "take one day at a time" and see how recovery and rehab turns out after this unfortunate fall. She comes from hardy stock—-her mother and sisters lived to ripe old ages and were strong til nearly the end of life. Her own aunt reached the age of 106 before she passed on to Eternity. This little frail, bird-like lady in the bed is not as weak as she looks!
Life is a long series of many phases. For those who live to advanced age as this tiny little Aunt has done…..many years go into the making of the life steps and stages. Meeting each one with a good attitude and a strong spirit has been her specialty. She is far from done with life yet and the 3 younger women are expecting to see her bounce back from this temporary setback.
She faced a lot of setbacks when her yet-young husband had to spend almost a year in a hospital facility in the mid-1950s after having a disease he had as a much younger man return when he was in his 50’s. His wife ran the store, and dealt with everything that had to be dealt with that long year he had to be cared for in the special hospital in Northern Minnesota. He recovered and came back to live another 40 good years with his wife and daughter and was able to work actively in their own home business in the lakes country. Toughness and perseverance is also one of her many "specialities".
No, the tiny frail lady is NOT done with life yet. It will be interesting to see how she brings her zest for living and her postive attitude into yet another "life phase".