I was inspired to be less of a whiner this week when I talked to my 92-year-old grandmother back in Edmonton. I call her Baba, which is grandma in Ukrainian.
I found out on Tuesday that Baba had a broken shoulder, an injury she had sported for nearly three days without complaint.
Last Sunday, in order to save herself from a fall while standing on a step stool to reach for a dish, Baba decided to throw her shoulder into the wall to stop her wobbly descent.
She hit with a thud and felt some pain in her shoulder but assumed it was just going to bruise. She went on with her Thanksgiving preparations, thankful she didn’t hit the floor.
After three days of pain (perhaps muffled by the extensive arthritis in her shoulders) and no bruise, Baba decided to see what the doctor had to say.
He said her shoulder was broken and then sent her to a bone specialist to see what could be done. She may be facing surgery or perhaps living with the pain and a sling, because her age limits what can be done.
When I called her on Tuesday night to console her, she just laughed about it all and said, “What can you do?”
I shouldn’t be surprised. This is the same woman who was working in the field years ago with her young infant when she realized her infected tonsils were swollen beyond their limit. After her tonsils erupted she simply spit them out and kept on working because “the work still had to get done.”
Perhaps that’s where my get ’er done attitude comes from. I’d like to think so. I want to be like my Baba.
I’m not saying I want to be in horrendous pain and keep working through it, but I’d like to think I’d have the gumption to do what needs doing despite physical limitations.
My Baba has always been strong, but not just physically.
She is the spiritual rock of our family too. Through the years she has always taken our needs to God in prayer. I know she has spent many hours on her knees on our behalf. She’s always been the one to encourage us, and even when things were tough for her she put on a happy face and we never knew.
I don’t think my Baba has ever missed sending a card for a birthday or anniversary for any of us grandkids (or great-grandkids) and every conversation with her always goes back to how we’re doing. I do believe she puts others ahead of herself in just about everything.
She has a famous saying: “Do you want it or do you need it?” and when I’m feeling brave enough to face the answer, I ask myself the question before making a purchase. It’s amazing how little you buy if you use that measurement.
Living frugally has allowed my Baba to give to others, and she does that with a smile and encouraging word whenever it’s needed.
I realized this week that my fabulous grandmother has more love, grace, gumption and positivity than I can ever hope to attain, but it seems a noble effort and I want to try. Thanks for the inspiration, Baba.