Grandpa and Grandma’s Little Light


My sister sent the text at 5:06 p.m. I read it just as I was pulling in the driveway from work.

“The ambulance is getting dad from the golf course.”

Dad had a heart attack on the golf course. He’d just finished the 4th hole and wanted to finish a 5th, but things had been going downhill fast, so he knew he had to get back to the clubhouse as quickly as possible. He made his way back to safety and the owner of the golf course called the ambulance immediately.

Dad was transported via ambulance to a nearby hospital, and then transferred to a bigger hospital where he’d receive more specialized cardiac care.

My husband and I kept the news to ourselves for a while, but then decided to tell the kids, “Grandpa’s in the hospital.” We gently reminded them that grandpa’s lungs have been sick for a while, noted the oxygen tanks they might’ve seen around grandma and grandpa’s house, and indicated special concern because grandpa had a heart attack tonight.

After some debate and a couple phone calls from mom, we decided the situation didn’t require urgent action on my part. I’d wait until morning to travel and visit dad in the hospital.

I wasn’t sure if I should bring our toddler with me to the hospital. Annother great unknown in this realm of parenting. I debated all the way up until leaving the house. Should I send her to daycare for the day? Or should I bring her with me?

I’m glad I decided to bring Maisie with me.

She was a light from the start.

When we arrived at the hospital and began down the long hallway to grandma who’d been waiting at the cardiac unit, Maisie ran all the way to grandma. She ran what was probably a block, with arms open wide until she landed safely in grandma’s loving embrace.

She was a light from the start.

When we were brought to the consultation room and told by a doctor dad had not one, but TWO arteries in his heart that were 90% blocked, and would need stents placed immediately, Maisie was there. She found a sticker and put it just about everywhere – on the door, on the table, on a landline phone, on my hand, and even on my nose. She brought joy and laughter where there would’ve been none.

She was a light from the start.


After we waited an hour and a half for the stents to be placed, after the cardiologist came in to give us the thumbs up that the procedure was successful, we proceeded to dad’s room on the cardiac unit. When Maisie saw grandpa for the first time, she greeted him without fear “Hi grandpa!” And when grandpa was parched and in desperate need of water or just about anything to quench his thirst, Maisie got a cup of ice chips just like grandpa. With help, she fed grandpa not one, but two ice chips from her cup. Best yet? It was all her idea.

She was a light from the start.



After a cafeteria lunch, we headed back up to dad’s room. Maisie reached out for grandma’s hand. “Hold hand,” she said. So grandma and Maisie held hands, all the way to the elevator that brought us back to floor 2.

She was a light from the start.


After the cardiac technician got dad resettled, flat on his back for another hour or two, I decided it was time to go. Maisie was getting louder. She was getting tired, and she’d missed her regular nap. But she was still up for a great big hug good-bye for grandpa. She leaned in to give him a kiss, and then that great big hug, with her arms wide open the same way she’d opened them wide for grandma down that long hallway five hours prior.

She was a light, even to the end.

I left content, knowing my decision to bring our two-year-old was right. She was light in a place filled with dark and heavy burdens. The innocence and love that radiated from her tiny toddler body was felt and appreciated by all.

For grandpa, for grandma, and others unnamed – may your burdens be lifted, may your steps be lighter, may your hearts feel a bit brighter – because of her tiny, bright light.


  1. Peggy Lynn Groenwold says:

    Thanking God for Maisie’s love and attention to grama and grandpa… She is truly a ‘light’.

  2. Diane Minnella Marretta says:

    Blessings bring things to a whole new life. Thank God

  3. Monica Anderson Palmer says:

    Oh sweet Maisie!! Love your light sweet girl!

  4. Tom Baunsgard says:

    Precious! Blessings Abound!

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