My Grandma’s Highway to Heaven

Ten months.

My Mexican grandmother, Lola Mendez Metallo, has always been one funny grandma, though not necessarily intentionally. Like the way she has always prefaced her jokes with “I’m gonna tell you a joke…”.

Or the fact that she literally managed to see the movie Dirty Dancing a total of 37 times when it originally came to theaters back in 1987, though she never learned to drive a car.

Not to mention the way she always found a way to delightfully sprinkle our holiday dinner conversations with mentions of the most recently escaped prison convicts she had heard about on the radio. Classic.

Plus, I’ve never known anyone more intrigued by angels. I remember how when the TV show Touched by an Angel was still on the air, she would never miss an episode and had a talent for relating every life situation back to the most recent one she had seen,especially if the episode had anything to do with an abused animal. (Her favorite show in the ’80′s was Highway to Heaven, which was also about angels interacting with humans.)

Here recently, I have been thinking about her a lot. I know her health has faded more drastically since my Italian grandfather passed away over three years ago. It’s one of those things where I know that she could just one day never wake up; or she could ultimately be here for several more years. In either case, I am consciously aware of the fact that her time on Earth is especially limited.

It’s an interesting (and sad) perspective; to know my grandma may be in her final months, yet everyday I watch my young son grow up a little bit more. I see one life coming to a close and another just getting things started. It’s a constant paradox in my head.

Knowing her time could be soon, I’m literally dealing with her passing, now; before it even happens. People deal with death differently- I guess I deal with it prematurely, reminiscing her life while she’s still here to answer questions I still have and tell her I love her several times in every potentially last conversation I have with her.

I know she’s going to love finally joining the angels she has talked so much about, but I really would mind hearing a couple more of her jokes; especially if she tells me up front that I’m about to hear a joke.

Unexpected Bonus…

It can be easy to write off human interactions with angels as tall tales, but according to the Bible, we entertain angels unaware. Today, someone will win a free book called Angels, which helps explain the interactions of angels in humans’ lives, backed up with Biblical stories and references.

If you would like a free copy of Angels mailed to your house, just be the first person to leave a comment on this post, then within 60 minutes, send me an email ( including your name and mailing address.

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  1. by Margaret Wallace

    On October 13, 2011 at 6:58 am

    What an awesome story. You are so smart to ask your grandmother questions while you can. I wish I could bring my mother back to ask her a few more.Very Sweet Story.

  2. by Nick Shell

    On October 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you Margaret; glad you enjoyed my story. Thanks for reading!

  3. by Mary Felkins

    On October 15, 2011 at 12:07 am

    This is an awesome post Nick. I am going through this same situation except it is my mother. She will be 80 in February and we had to move her to a nursing home last week. Knowing that her time is VERY limited makes every moment that much sweeter and like you I have been dealing with it in advance. I want to celebrate her life while she is her and leave her memory with my children.

  4. by Nick Shell

    On October 15, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Thank you, Mary.