(taken the day my Grandmother died, 4/23/11, he looks sad, but he really wasn’t, he was just playing)
In my almost 50 years I’ve learned many things. In fact, if you’d ask me a week ago if I’d figured out loss and grief, I would say, ‘of course’. I’ve lost a few grandparents already, a couple of friends…Rick was a pastor and we ‘did’ our share of funerals, so sure, I got that covered.
Thing is, I don’t. As I mentioned a couple days ago, my Grandmother died on Saturday. She was almost 97 years old. She was strong, courageous, funny, and loving. She knew God, she knew the scriptures like the back of her hand. She has missed my Grandfather for 15 years and every time she got sick she thought that was it, she would be going home to meet her maker and see Amos again. And every time she got better she couldn’t figure out why God didn’t take her home. So, of course, this is one of those times when a person has lived a long and full and love-filled life, that her going home should bring joy and comfort and relief, and it does. It does all those things, and yet, like I told my brother-in-law, why do I keep crying?
Yesterday Rick and I went to a little chapel for Easter and the hymns that we sang were all about resurrection (duh) and because Christ has defeated death, death has no victory, death has no sting. We live because He concurred death. The minute that first song started I was a mess and I knew I had made one grave mistake that morning: MASCARA. I just could not stop crying.
This morning I stopped by Abbie’s coffee stand on the way to work, feeling fine, perfectly content, feeling like the grief had passed. I pulled up, Abbie came out we took one look at each other and we both teared up. WHAT? I don’t get. Truly. I’m so happy, so relieved that Grandma is in Heaven, with her Savior, with her King, reunited with her husband, her daughter, her siblings, her parents….the list goes on and on. She can see from eyes that once were blind. She can run and skip and sing loudly. Her body and her mind are perfect, as she was created to be. How on earth can I possibly grieve!? How on earth!?
Oh, that’s it. Because I am still on earth. I am still here, feeling the effects of the fall. Chained to a body of decay, whereas Grandma has shed hers, I am grossly and painfully still aware of death and loss and grief. She is in a place of life and joy and song and light.
She has seen His glory.
This was a woman who was a part of every single event in my life leading up to my marriage and beyond. She was undoubtedly one of the first to hold me when I was born. She was at every school function, every concert, every birthday. She taught me to love my husband. She taught me to care for my babies. As a little girl, when it was my turn to sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, it was for me she popped the corn in her old cast iron skillet, and it was my back she patted and scratched while we watched TV in front of the wood stove. It was Grandma who showed me how to make ‘paste’ with water and flour to glue pictures together to keep me busy at her table while she baked and cooked. She taught me flowers and vegetable gardens. She taught me scripture and how to pray. Grandma was all softness and bossom, no nonsense, and laughter. She hugged and cuddled like no other, her comfort was like home.
I adored her always.
She was almost 97 years old when she died. Her life was full. Full of people she loved. People who loved her. She loved to teach the bible. And she loved to talk to her family. It’s so right and so good that she has finally gone home to her God, the One of made her. She knew everything there was to know about heaven. If it was revealed in scripture, she knew it. And now she is there.
Why on earth should I cry?