I’ve posted a lot on Facebook lately and suddenly felt like this post deserved to be on my blog. I’ve missed writing and getting the opportunity to write about my Granny the past 12 days has brought that back to me. I want to write.
So, the sadness – I keep waiting… and waiting… and waiting…
I had a touch of it yesterday. We got to Newport News and went in the house the same as always (though through the front door). Carla was in the back office and I went to talk to her, knowing that we were going to tell Ella that her G.G. died, but not realizing how quickly that moment would come.
When I walked away from her, she asked my mom where G.G. was. Warren came to get me and I abandoned Carla mid-sentence (hers) and rudely (though understandably) ran through the house to get to my daughter before my mom could tell her.
I made it in time. Mom had started 11 days before – when Granny fell at Hammricks. She talked about her hip and the surgery. By then, I’d picked Ella up out of the rocking chair, sitting down in her place and putting her on my lap, expecting the inevitable.
And it came. Mom told Ella that G.G. had died and gone to Heaven and Ella started to cry. Not sobbing, but she turned into me and cried. And I cried too. And Warren started as he walked in to sit. And Aunt Evelyn (E.E. to the kids) did as she walked in. And I think Aunt Carla did, too…
Ella asked “Why?” and just as mom started to explain as best as she could, Joe realized the piano cover was up and started hitting keys. Ella sat up, yelled “PIANO!” and jumped out of my lap to go play. That was it. Moment over. Tears gone – even mine.
Twenty-six years ago, my grand-Dad died (I write it that way because we just called him “Dad” and that causes great confusion). I was ten years old and it devastated me. I was left with horrible separation anxiety. I couldn’t sleep with my door shut and demanded that my parents’ door be open all night also so that I could sit up and see them there if I needed to. (Looking back, I’m pretty sure I killed their “romantic” life. Sorry, dad.) I got that he was in Heaven, but I found no joy in that thought. I cried and cried and cried and when I cried in school I told Shirley Hill (the secretary at Trevvett and a dear friend of our family) that my Dad had died. She panicked and called my Daddy (hence my knowing that I cause confusion). I was sad in the deepest way.
My grandpa died almost ten years ago. I had been through his side a lot in his last years of life and I wasn’t there at his final moment. I sobbed for days. I sobbed passing Chestnut Grove for a year after his funeral. I knew he was in Heaven, but his loss hit me like a ton of bricks.
That isn’t happening this time and there is only one reason.
I have found the Holy Spirit in a way that I’ve never let myself find.
To reference one of my daddy’s church posts – I have been CAUGHT by Jesus.
I have loved Jesus since childhood. A few months ago, I would’ve told you that I’d been caught before. But my Granny’s illness and death have proved to me that my true capture didn’t happen until recently.
I sat down on the sofa with Aunt Evelyn last night, wanting to be close to our remaining matriarch. Though not a mother herself, she’s always been our bonus mom and grandmother. An extra without her own kids to worry over and able to just fuss over us – being part of our Disney trips and Christmases and Birthdays.
We talked about the fact that she’d decided to continue living in the house they own. That she’s promised to get Life Alert and actually wear it while home alone… especially when she decides to climb ladders into the attic or trim bushes at 6:00 am. Yes, she’s done both of those things pretty recently. For 90, she’s feisty and spry. Trying to explain the word “elderly” to Ella today (thanks, random five minutes of Kid President last night), I told Ella that G.G. had been elderly. I started to classify Aunt Evelyn in that category and then realized – NOPE! Doesn’t fit.
Anyway – back to the sadness… I asked her if SHE was upset that I wasn’t more emotional upon seeing her, my mother, and my aunt in her house, but without my grandmother. She isn’t and that is confirmation for me. She too is a lifelong follower of Jesus and my love comes from her just as much as it came from my Granny.
So here I am… waiting for the sadness that is sure to come.
Although, friends, I’m not 100% convinced it will.
I KNOW for SURE that I will cry at the service on Saturday where we will celebrate her life (almost 94 years of it!).
I know that I’ll finish singing and speaking and then the floodgates may open (note to husband: please have box of tissues at our seat).
But right now? I AM JOYFUL!
In my Bible study last week, we spent a day focused on JOY and the difference between Joy and Happiness. Beth Moore’s son-in-love said this: “Joy is happiness without the moodiness.” That took my breath away because I can be quite moody and yet I consider myself joyful. So I’ve been mulling it over. In our discussion our leader, Bev, reminded us that JOY is a choice we make each day. I want to choice to be joyful each day. And I need, desperately, to lose the moodiness when it comes.
But I don’t feel like I’m making a choice to be joyful about this. It feels natural and complete. It feels like breathing.
MY GRANDMOTHER IS IN HEAVEN!!!
How on earth do I not rejoice in that?
Please do not get me wrong, I am well-aware that I will have moments of sadness. I will miss her dearly this weekend when we’re all gathered in “her” house and she’s not among us.
BUT SHE WILL BE IN HEAVEN.
She will not be looking down on us and missing us.
Because she will be with Jesus.
She will not see me make the mistakes I will make as a mother.
Because she will be walking streets paved with gold.
She will not know when I make a bad choice.
Because she will be offering eternal praise to God.
I believe that when I reach Heaven, she will know who I am and will welcome me into worship, but I do not believe that she will be watching over me before I get there. If she was, it might make her sad and SADNESS IS ONE THING WE DO NOT FEEL IN HEAVEN.
OH, what joy and peace that gives me!!!!
My grandmother will no longer be using a walker. She will no longer get her words mixed up as she has since her stroke. She will no longer forget a name. She will no longer fall. She will no longer hurt. She won’t have to worry about what to wear because she’ll be in Heaven’s white garments… truly white after being washed in the blood of the lamb.
Oh, thank you Father above for giving me a grandmother who was a follower of Jesus.
A woman who taught her two daughters to love God above all else.
One of those daughters helped pass that belief on to me.
Oh, how I pray to leave a legacy of faith.
May Ella see my joy in rejoicing that her G.G. has gone to Jesus and know that HEAVEN IS THE HEALING.
I am a lover of songs. I love music in general, but I love a good song – with lyrics that set my soul on fire. Song like:
I Can Only Imagine (never gets old! CAN YOU IMAGINE???)
Find Us Faithful (an oldie, but a goodie – May all who come behind us find us faithful)
Desert Song (ALL of my life; In EVERY season; YOU ARE STILL GOD; I have a reason to sing)
Clear the Stage (thank you Dustin and Courtney for introducing me to this song!)
Your Grace Finds Me (first heard at Northside – POWERFUL song!)
Holy Spirit (Kim Walker Smith – look it up!)
Holy Spirit was one I was introduced to this summer at Fairmount. There are times in my walk with Christ and I question if He’s there. If I’m allowing him to be close to me.
Friends – over the past 12 days, since my grandmother’s fall, I HAVE FELT THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN A MIGHTY WAY.
I have been caught by Jesus.
I know that I will be sad in my and my family’s loss. I will see my mama, and my aunt, and my great-aunt cry and I will cry when they do. I will sit with cousins and extended family and remember past times and childhood games. I will sit with my brother and remember vacations at Granny & Dad’s and know that those days are long gone. I will sit with Ella and try to explain over and over that it is okay to be sad and no, GG isn’t going to come back. I will look at my husband who loves my family ferociously and know that his heart is breaking along with ours.
But over all, I will feel JOY because
MY. GRANNY. IS. WITH. JESUS.