[My College Graduation – all four Grandparents traveled to Florida to celebrate with me!]
They’re gone! They’re gone! THEY ARE ALL GONE! – my heart cried when I found this picture today.
LIFE. It isn’t easy. Why? Because we LOVE. Just this weekend we said “goodbye” to Grandma Williamson. Now all four are resting in our Saviour’s love while we here wait for that reunion day. Heaven becomes all the more sweeter, the more real…and the longing becomes greater as each loved one leaves us and enters there.
I was struck by LIFE as I …
- held my new baby and heard the news of Grandma’s last breath.
- rocked AmiJoy in the funeral’s family room remembering all those years ago as a child sitting and trying to understand LIFE and Death while Dad preached the service of my Aunt who died tragically in a car accident.
- passed by the balcony entrance at the funeral home where I have sung for my grandparents’ homegoings.
- looked over the many family members grave markers from those I knew like grandparents, an Aunt, Uncle, Great-Uncles and Aunts, to those whom I didn’t know like my baby brother and sister.
- saw the tears of my little girl mourning the loss of her Great “Great”-Grandma. [She was only AbiNoelle’s Great-Grandma, but ever since she could, AbiNoelle insisted upon calling her Great “Great”-Grandma].
- looked into the face of our new little AmiJoy and breathed a pray of thanksgiving that Grandma was able to enjoy meeting her at Christmas, yet sorrowing that AmiJoy would only have pictures and not remembrance.
LIFE – it comes full circle. It’s real. Eternity is calling. It is what we all must face and sometimes when those lessons are learned at a young age, it is so stark and stunning.
For AbiNoelle, her head had the knowledge of life and death and eternity, yet this weekend brought that reality forefront. I had to tell her that Grandma had gone on to be with Jesus.
“Don’t be sad. She’s with Jesus.”
“But, Mommy, AmiJoy…she won’t get to know her like I did.”
So many questions…so many preconceived notions about funerals… we tried to answer and explain them all. One, in particular, I will never forget because it screams SIX-YEAR-OLD! AbiNoelle said, “Now, Mommy, when we get there, I want to make sure that on top of Grandma’s mound of dirt that we get a stone to put on top – and it needs to have an angel on it.” I broke in to explain that Grandma had already made all the arrangements like she wanted them to be and left instructions with the funeral home – that that’s what most people do these days. In a flabbergasted and perturb sort of way she said, “Goodness grief! That’s dumb! Why do people do that? They should leave all those decisions to the people who are left behind. We are the ones who have to look at it!”[Out of the mouth of a very opinionated six-year-old] After a quick composure check, I moved the conversation along by asking, “By the way, AbiNoelle, why did you want the stone to have an angel on it?” “Because, one day when we were visiting Grandma, she whispered in my ear that I was her little angel – that’s why I call AmiJoy “Little Angel.”
Unbeknowing to her, it was this Grandma who brought AbiNoelle to the point of a real eternal decision a few years ago, as she contemplated the fact that Great-Grandma was “old” … and that she could die…and that she [AbiNoelle] wanted assurance that they would see each other again. Whether Grandma knew it or not, her influence upon AbiNoelle was GREAT!
Grandma’s influence (and the other three grandparent’s) has made lasting memories for me as well. From shopping trips, Taco Bell runs, learning to bake her special Red Velvet Cake, trips in the camper, game time with her and Granddaddy, sitting in the swing, one dollar bill in every card, phone calls at college, finances for Master’s degree, driving to Vermont – each memory is significant.
THEY may have moved up, but the memories remain. My Grandparents were not raised from a strong Godly heritage, yet PRAISE TO HIM they each professed Christ and served in their home church. As young believers in the Lord, they didn’t always understand the call of ministry in my parents’ lives but as I grew and they saw my heart for service, they encouraged each step I took for the Lord. Now with just photos and memories our confidence in that BLESSED HOPE brings us comfort for today. Goodbye, for now.