Welcome to the Whyte House Family Spoken Novels podcast: Holiday Edition episode #53. Today we are reading chapter 4 of the book “Giving Thanks for Thanksgivings Past: No Matter How Wonderful Your Thanksgiving Tradition Has Been, It Will Come to an End, You Just Don’t Know When But Precious Memories Will Make Those Thanksgivings Past Last Forever and New Ones Can Begin” by Daniel Whyte III with Meriqua Whyte.
“Go, Granny! Go, Granny!” Leonardo cheered. The family laughed and joined in.
Mama, or Granny Leeks as her grandchildren affectionately called her, smiled as they cheered her on. If you wanted to see a woman who carried herself with class and dignity and encouraged the same from everyone around her, Granny Leeks was that kind of woman.
Granny Leeks came to live with the family nearly a year before—ten months to be exact. It started with a frantic phone call at 1:34 AM.
“David, this is Granny Leeks. The ambulance is on its way to get Gramps. I happened to wake up and I reached over to check on him as I did not hear him snoring. He wasn’t breathing.”
“Celestina and I are on our way over,” David said.
When they reached Granny Leeks’ house the ambulance was backing out the driveway. David exchanged some quick words with the EMT while Celestina hurried into the house to find her mother sitting on the couch clasping her hands. Tears stained her cheeks.
Celestina sat on the couch next to her mother. Placing her arm around her she said, “Mama, it’s going to be okay. He’ll pull through.”
“Let’s head for the hospital,” David said, sticking his head through the front door. “They are taking him to St. Joseph’s Hospital.”
The three of them hurried to the car.
“He almost went on home to be with the Lord. I almost lost him—the love of my life,” Granny Leeks said. Some more tears fell.
Celestina who had been sitting in the back seat with her mother placed a reassuring arm around her shoulders and embraced her tightly.
“You know I’m a light sleeper, but I’ll sleep straight through the night unless I’m disturbed. But tonight, for some reason I woke up. I reached over to touch Gramps just to make sure he was okay and I noticed he wasn’t breathing. His skin also felt clammy and cold. I called 911. When the EMT came they used the irons to shock his heart back to beating. They put an oxygen mask on him as well as an IV in his arm and then rushed off. He barely managed to whisper ‘I love you. I’ll be back.’ He was so weak I could hardly hear him.”
Celestina tightened her arms around her mother. “Okay, mama. Don’t you worry about a thing. He’s going to pull through like he always does.” Celestina was not sure who she was trying to console: her mother or herself.
“He’s been having some health issues lately, but all of that comes with old age and we just have to accept it. I know it’s taking him longer to accept that he’s not young anymore and he can’t do like he used to. He’s been having heart problems, but these past months he seemed to be doing better. On his last visit to the doctor he was given a clean bill of health.”
“What did he do today . . . well, yesterday, that may have brought this on? Anything strenuous?” David asked.
“The usual. We took our early morning walk. Had breakfast. He read the paper. He made his weekly visit to the boys’ club. He then stopped by the children’s hospital and clowned around with the children. He has to stay healthy for those children’s sake,” Granny Leeks said. Her voice cracked.
David pulled up into the hospital’s visitor parking lot.
“Quite a number of cars here for this time of the morning,” he said as he helped his mother-in-law and wife out of the car.
The three hurried to the front desk to inquire of Gramps whereabouts. They hurried to the second floor—the CCU: Coronary Care Unit. Gramps was in surgery. From what the nurse at the desk shared with them, his heart almost went dead. It was some time before they were able to talk with the doctor.
“It’s a miracle he’s still with us,” Dr. Larsen said. “The EMT said when they got to him, he was gone; they did not detect any heartbeat. He’s still in critical condition and will remain in CCU for a couple days on complete bed rest. The anesthesia has not quite worn off. Normally, no visitors are allowed, but if you folks can promise me you won’t say one word to him, I’ll let one of you stop by his room and just touch him. I’m allowing that because I believe there is healing power in the human touch.” He smiled and then added, “As long as there are no problems between the two.”
It was agreed that Granny Leeks would be the one to go in and offer the healing touch and a whispered prayer.
David and Celestina, who never claimed to be devout Christians nor even casual Christians, now turned to prayer even as they’d done when Celestina was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I guess we’d better go to God with some serious praying,” Celestina said as they settled down in the waiting room.
“Yeah. I guess we’d better,” David said hesitantly. He felt guilty as he had not been in touch with God since his wife’s breast cancer scare.
“Pray out loud or silently?” Celestina asked.
“Mmm. Silently,” David said.
Prayer was not his thing. Yes, he believed in God. Yes, he believed in the miracles of God. Yes, his parents encouraged him to pray as a child. He even prayed the ‘now I lay me down to sleep’ prayer at bedtime when he was young but had slacked off as he became a teenager thinking he was old enough to decide for himself how much time prayer would take up in his life. But one prayer that had always been a part of his life and which he now prayed with his family was the prayer of thankfulness for every meal that was set before them.
David glanced at his wife; her lips were moving. Prayer seems to come easy to you, he thought as he stretched out both legs in front of him and closed his eyes.
Granny Leeks could only spend ten minutes with Gramps.
“My mind and heart are not going to be fully at peace until I see the twinkle in his eyes,” she told her daughter and son-in-law as they left the hospital. There was no need for them to stay as he would be out of it for some hours.
“Mama, until Papa comes out of the hospital, you’re coming home with us,” Celestina said. “So we’ll stop by your house, pack your suitcase, and lock things up.”
“No, no. I can’t put you out like that. I’ll just stay at my house. We did not expect this,” Granny Leeks said.
“We will hear of no such thing,” David said. “The decision has already been made. You’re just going to sit in the house alone and depressed and not eat and then we will have to take you to the hospital. We’ve already called the children and told them and they have your room all set up. You don’t want to disappoint them, do you?”
“Since you put it that way. No, I do not want to disappoint my grandchildren,” Granny Leeks said.
Gramps was moved to ICU after two days in CCU. He was then transferred to a regular floor. After a week, he was headed home.
Granny Leeks and Gramps spent a month with David and Celestina and the family. Not only so Gramps could get the rest he needed, but to relieve Granny Leeks of the stress and help her ease back into taking care of her husband. The three younger grandchildren were a big help. The oldest, Gabriella, who was living on her own stayed with her grandparents for a month after they moved back into their own house.
Granny Leeks was blessed to live six more months with Gramps who passed away quietly in his sleep.
* * * * * * *
“I thank God for the many years He gave us together, especially those last six months. I felt closer to him and our love for each other was stronger than ever. Maybe because we both knew he did not have long to live,” Granny Leeks said. “I wish he was here with us to celebrate this Thanksgiving as we have celebrated so many together, but . . .”
Nine-year-old Angelina handed her grandmother a wad of napkins.
“Thank you, dear,” Granny Leeks said, wiping her eyes and blowing her nose.
Angelina leaned her head on her grandmother’s shoulder. Granny Leeks patted her youngest grand-daughter’s head. “Thank you, Angelina, for your help and your words of encouragement since his death. They have meant so much to me.”
“You’re welcome, Granny,” Angelina said.
“I do thank you all for making me feel right at home,” Granny Leeks said.
“You’re more than welcome,” the family said.
“It’s been a pleasure having you come live with us, Mama,” Celestina said.
“You put up a fight, and a fierce one at that. I almost gave up trying to convince you to come stay with us,” David said.
“But I’m glad I’m here now. It’s not that I didn’t want to live with you all. It’s just not easy leaving the familiar behind. I have so many memories—fifty years of memories—in that house. And all fifty years with your Gramps,” Granny Leeks said.
She dabbed at her eyes. “Well, let me stop talking before I get to crying.”
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Whyte House Family stories. You may purchase a copy of this novel and any other Christian fiction books read on this podcast from Amazon.com.
Now, dear listener, please know that God—the divine Author of all things—wants to write a great story with your life as well. But first you must give Him the pen by trusting Him with the life He gave you and surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ as Savior. Here is how:
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
May God bless you until next time.