Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where Did You Get Your Name?

You have already read the Amazing Story of You (a trip down memory lane on Addie's arrival), and you know that she was named after "Little Grandma" Adelaida (my dad's mother), but there is a story behind how we chose the name Adelaide for our daughter.

When Brian and I first were married, we already knew that if we were to have a boy, his name would be Christopher Brian.... until two years ago when our nephew was named Christopher.  However, we did not have a girl's name picked out.  We just could not find one that we loved.   And then.....

Little Grandma was a very short woman, her children, grandchildren, and grandchildren-in-love towered over her, she shuffled when she walked,  osteoporosis was taking over her body, acid reflux was limiting what she could eat, and arthritis began limiting what she could do.  But one thing these ailments could not stop her from doing was spending time with her Lord or shake the faith that was so strong in her heart.

She loved the Lord with all her heart.  She spent her time reading the Word and watching preachers on TV because she was no longer able to leave the house.  At every meal, she prayed for each of her family members by name, beginning with the oldest child of hers and their spouse, children, and grandchildren until each person had been prayed for.  As I commuted to college, she prayed for my safety daily, and I know God heard her prayers- especially during some of the rough NJ winters we had. When I thought I would never get married, I used to ask God to allow Grandma to live long enough to name my husband in her prayers. 

Little Grandma's life was a rough one, but despite the hardships she endured, she kept her faith  and her trust in the Lord.  On Sunday mornings, she would take her four children to church with her, walking the entire way.  My grandfather was not saved at the time, so she had to bring a spiritual awareness to her children on her own.

Grandma is with Faye (being held) and me

Eventually, because of the faithfulness of this little woman, my grandfather did come to know the Lord.  He passed away when I was about 5 years old.  At the time, we lived next to my grandparents, as we had relocated to Tampa, Florida.  Until I was ten, we lived beside my very independent grandmother who although she was little drove her own car, tended her plants, cleaned her own home, and was called on for babysitting services for two of her adorable granddaughters :) 

Even after we moved back up north and then back to Florida, we maintained a very close relationship with Little Grandma.  When I brought Brian  to meet the family at my aunt's house where Grandma spent her final years, she fell in love with him instantly.  After a few visits, she knew he was "the one" and even said to him once, "You are my grandson, too."  Because we were not yet married, Brian said, "Not yet, but I will be soon."  Grandma was totally offended.  After we were married, she always brought up how Brian had said "not yet", and then she would end the story with, "But he is now!". 

Anytime I called my grandmother, after the wedding, to see how she was doing, she would always ask me, "So, do you have anything to tell me?"  In other words, "Are you expecting?"  Unfortunately, my answer was always "no".

Mom and Grandma were very close.

In the months before she passed away, Grandma gave each of her children and grandchildren a trinket that had belonged to her, so that we would never forget her.

In late August/early September of 2006, Grandma slipped, lost her balance, fell in my aunt's kitchen, and bumped her head on the floor.  She was rushed to the hospital.  Because of the osteoporosis, her skull had cracked during the fall and she broke her pelvic bone.  After being transferred to a hospital in Tampa, we realized that Grandma was not going to come home.  I was given time off work to be with her during her hospital stay and Brian was also given some time to visit with her.  She was beginning to get weak, and she communicated mostly by moving her right pointer finger up and down for "yes" and side to side for "no" without lifting her hand or arm.

One particular day, she had not slept peacefully.  Many of her adult grandchildren were there in the room, but when she looked up, she noticed Brian standing against the wall.  She lifted her hand, wiggled her finger to tell him to come to her, and then she held his hand and fell asleep for a bit.

The following evening, after many of her out-of-town family had come to see her, we went in to her room to say goodnight.  I walked up to her, told her I loved her, and kissed her on the forehead.  Then Brian walked up to her.  She lit up, lifted her hand to her face, pulled down her oxygen mask, and whispered, "I love you" to him.  Then she puckered up for a kiss. No one else received that kind of response from her. That was the last time we saw her conscious.

We received a call the next night from my mother telling us that if we wanted to see Grandma one last time, we needed to get to the hospital as fast as we could.  We rushed down to Tampa.  We went into the room and Grandma was unconscious, her breathing very labored.  Each time she took a breath, we were relieved, but then we held our own as we waited for her to take another.  I told her I loved her for the last time.  Her two daughters, my aunts Elsa and Alice, and my mom began singing to her some of her favorite Spanish hymns, and then she was gone. 

Grandma had this cute little giggle that she would giggle when we would give her long kisses on the cheeks.  I could picture her walking into heaven with her angelic escort, her hair back to it's original raven black color tied up in the roll/bun she was so known for in her "younger" days before arthritis kept her from styling her own hair, and seeing Grandpa after twenty years.  I could picture him running up to her, asking her in his "tough" voice what took her so long, and then kissing her on the cheek and her just giggling up a storm.  I could also envision her seeing all of her loved ones and having a good old Spanish reunion at the entrance to heaven.

As we drove to the gravesite, I wondered if the truckers that were stopped for our procession realized that they were on hold for a little woman that wasn't even five feet tall.  At the site, she was carried by the men in her life- her sons, sons-in-law, grandsons (including Brian), and a great-grandson-, and she was buried beside my grandfather.

Grandma Adelaide and her namesake Adelaide
 After all of the tears on the night that she passed away, Brian turned to me and said, "If we ever have a girl, let's name her after Little Grandma."  And that is exactly what we did.  I have a little walking reminder of the godly woman, the physically short spiritual giant, that was my grandmother and who I have the priviledge of having in my ancestory.


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