Sunday, October 24, 2010


We shuffle in quiet, greet each other with soft, sorrowful smiles and and ease gently onto the creaking pews.

A close-knit family with lives scattered by miles and circumstance drawn together by a common wound, a shared love.

Today we bury our Grandmom, Mother, Sister, Friend.

There are only a few (besides our army of family) to show for this quiet, well-lived life.

We have been so blessed, the few who knew her.

Our friend, our pastor, speaks full Truth words into the empty, questioning spaces. A reminder of what we know, of Who we know. Then we listen as the music swells and watch snap shots of a beautiful girl grown into wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother begin to ebb and flow on the screens.

I have to look away. I focus on my one year old as tears sting and fill the rims of my eyes, throat aches, nose swells to an instant red. I attempt to swallow the dryness out of my mouth.

I know that I am the first of the grandkids to speak after the slideshow. There had been so much joy thinking through my memories, and collecting those from others, to share with the those who have come alongside to comfort, with those who share our loss. I had wanted to share, these stories need to be told! Now, the grief presses into me stronger and deeper and I wonder if I can whisper what I have prepared.

I look up at the ceiling to keep a tear from spilling and breaking the dam that's barely holding back the smashing waves. I know she is with You, I am so glad she is with You, Jesus.

The slideshow ends and I find myself rising, then walking to stand in front of the flower showered casket. My cousin and older brother, both 28, born only two days apart, stand with me. We are the first to speak our love for our Grandmom, to try to express how well she served, and loved, and cooked, and lead by example.

I tremble and stumble over emotions but I somehow speak most of the words I wanted to say. My cousin and brother do too. Then two of my sisters join and one tries to speak through the tears but can't, big brother reads her lovely written words.

We tell specific stories of how she was kind to us at all times. How she was never too rushed for us, too busy, too bothered. Not even when all twelve of us grandkids ran, and roared, and laughed and talked her ear off. How she remembered what was important to us, and made sure we knew we were important to her. The birthday cakes she made and the imagination she encouraged, even crawling under the quilt-covered table to play in the make-shift "fort" with flashlights and grins.

We tell of her unfading beauty, her gentle and quiet spirit. Her faithfulness to my Grandpa, her deep love for her children.

I say it in the beginning and think the whole way through " I know she heard 'well done' when she saw Jesus..."

Then we all stand together, all twelve grandchildren in a row, not such children anymore. The youngest a tall eleven years old. We all love the Lord our God, a trickle down effect from her heart to our parents, to us. The beneficiaries of the promised love that Love Himself is faithful to show to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. We are but a brief, tiny glimpse of her spiritual heritage, legacy.

We stand and my cousin shares what His mom, my sweet Aunt, has thought and said and finds great joy and comfort in:

"Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever!"
The service continues and completes and we talk, and hug, and cry, and laugh and remind each other of Who she is with, and how great her gain is.

And I think of this for days now, something my Dad has often said, that was proven and lived out this past Friday at her funeral.

"My perspective on situations and relationships really changed when I stopped viewing others as a part of my life, and started asking myself 'what part of their life am I'?"

What do I do in this life that really makes a difference in this world? What will my loved ones say about me when I'm gone? What part of their lives am I?

I pray my eulogy is full of my love for Him, and for them. Jesus said:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."

~John 15:9-17

Counting thanks today, praising Him for how well I am loved...

#97 Grandmom who lead by example

#98 food brought by church family, not a small task for a household of 10!

#99 music

#100 donations made to our local Pregnancy Center in memory of my sweet Grandmom

#101 having so many good memories that we had to pick and choose which to share

#102 That Grandmom's children, my Dad and Aunt, have Comfort and Hope and Joy because they KNOW their mom is with Jesus

#103 that He has prepared a place for me, and will come back and take me to be with Him

#104 that knowing Him is eternal life

#105 that He cares that I know Him, wants me, pursues me, draws me close

#106 that He gives this knowing of Himself, this eternal life, freely because He loves so deeply... staggering grace!

holy experience

1 comment:

Annesta said...

Your post has moved me to the very core. My heart is tender as yesterday was the anniversary of my sweet daddy's birthday. He has been with Jesus for 12 years now and I miss him terribly!
I join you in gratitude for the legacy that our grandparents and parents have left us and for God's faithfulness to work in our lives to leave a legacy for our children and the hope that our children will leave one for our grandchildren.
blessings and grace to you

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