Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WATCH: A Story of Faith, Family, Friendship & where I got my middle name.

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People often ask me why I go by three names - ERIKA GRACE POWELL. Well, other than being a proud South Carolina girl who knows all born and bred "southern belles" go by three names, I am especially proud to have been given the name "Grace" because of the woman after which I am named. My Dad's mother, my "Granny" Grace is the most amazing, selfless, genuine, loving, and Godly woman I know. She is truly the matriarch of our family in every way. She has more wisdom and knowledge than I could ever recall and I am always blown away at how she remembers details, specific stories, and life events even at the age of 94!!! She knows the value of a strong prayer life, the blessing of a large family, a loving marriage, the importance of a southern home cooked "comfort" meal, gardening, canning your own goods, and getting impossibly difficult stains out of clothes.
Why am I sharing all these details about my Granny? Well, my Granny Grace was hospitalized Saturday morning. This is not the first time she has been rushed off in an ambulance, nor the first health issue she has faced in her lifetime, much less in recent months. The concern we are facing is for her heart issues with Afib. The medicines are not controlling the racing and plummeting levels of her aging heart any more and doctors are considering a pacemaker, but she is probably too frail for a true pacemaker surgery at this point, so they are looking at temporary options, but ultimately hoping that the medicines will take control and eliminate the need for surgery. She was transported to specialty hospital on Sunday afternoon for more observation and assessment in a cardiovascular unit.
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(Deborah, Erika, Keith, Emily, Adam, and "Granny" Grace Powell)
My parents, Keith and Deborah, still live close by to my Granny in the upstate of South Carolina, so they are with her during these tests and visits to the hospital. My Mom shared photos and video with our family "group text" on Sunday as Granny was on her way to meet with doctors about her options and this is where the story gets good... grab your tissues!
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(Grace & Mildred)
Granny learned that her sister-in-law and my Great Aunt Mildred, (my late Papa's sister) was also on the same floor of the hospital awaiting transport to her MRI. Granny lost her husband and my Papa in 2005 to pancreatic cancer. She has remained close with his family and siblings to this day. It probably helps that they have all lived on what could be called, "Powell Pasture" - it's a solid couple of miles of family members who built homes and farmed their way through life close to the ones they loved. 
I remember when I was growing up, Aunt Mildred would always stand on the porch of her house across from my Granny and Papa's to look out for my Uncle Brent who always wanted to cross the road to gather the daily mail and deliver it to the right house. Brent is super special to our family as well, and at the age of 63, he has definitely been a motivating reason for my Granny to "keep on keeping on."
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My Great Aunt Mildred is also having a lot of health issues. These two sweet women have been ‘sisters’ in every way and were good friends even before my Granny married into the Powell family. They even went on their HONEYMOON together, but only after they both helped each other elope!!! HA!
Meanwhile, back at the hospital... Aunt Mildred was already in the hallway trying to call out to my Granny, but they couldn’t really see or hear each other that far away, so the nurse came in and unhooked all of Granny’s things and rolled her into the hallway beside Mildred. It was such an ‘above and beyond’ gesture of kindness to these two amazing women.

My Mom only wishes she had captured the full video of them telling each other how much they loved each other, asking for each other’s forgiveness ‘if I’ve ever hurt your feelings’, and telling each other to ‘do what they (doctors) tell you to do’, as well as "‘good-bye’ until we see each other again." It was precious. The two nurses 'driving' the stretchers were crying as well as nurses in the hallway. Needless to say, everyone was a mess.
What an example of true friendship. For a lifetime. What a reminder of how we should live LIFE!
Pouring into and investing in others and relationships... not stuff, not things, not accolades, but others... FIRST.
I pray that one day I can say my life was as full and as rewarding as my Granny's and that my friendships were as strong and as beautiful as this one. 
I hope this has touched you in some small way. Reminded you to take a little more time to make that phone call, write that thank you note, lean into that hug, or say "I Love You" to that person who truly makes a difference in your life.
Thank you for your prayers that each of these special women will get the proper care plan.
- ERIKA GRACE

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