Friday, July 29, 2016
A Tribute to My Grandma
My Grandma was a wonderful, warm person, with a heart big enough to hold any person that crossed her way.
She radiated Christ's love anywhere she went, those beautiful eyes warming your whole being whenever she looked at you.
Whenever she saw me, she'd open up her arms and engulf me in one of her great bears hugs, squeezing me tight, assuring me without words that she loved me.
I guess I had always known Grandma was sick.
I could recall Mommy telling the story of when Grandma came home to tell her the news, how she was very sick with a strange sickness called cancer.
My mom was twelve, I believe.
But that was a long time ago.
I truly believed in my little heart that Grandma was well.
Even when I found out that she was getting worse, I knew that if I prayed hard enough, she would get better, and stay with me forever.
But then she got sick.
And she wasn't going to get better.
The many trips to hospital, the long days spent in the quiet room, they are kind of fuzzy now.
But to this day I can't walk into a hospital without feeling that strange, confused and lonely feeling I had felt all that time.
Finally the doctors said that she hadn't long to live, and Grandma went home to that wonderful house I grew up in, to die.
Her last days were filled with family, singing, laughter, and love, and those days were the warmest, saddest, and most beautiful days of my life.
I wanted her out of pain, wanted her to go home to Jesus, but I didn't realize that meant losing her.
I didn't understand at first. I was young, and naïve.
Grandma was sick, yes, I knew.
Grandma was going to die, yes, I knew.
At least I thought I knew.
I couldn't imagine life without her, and I don't think I truly believed it would happen.
Not to her.
But the Grandma I had known all of my beginning years seemed to be gone, and a tired, weary, pained woman was in her place.
No more hugs, no more kisses and laughter.
I was nine years old then, and although I knew she couldn't help it, I felt a little alone, pushed away, and forgotten.
I saw Grandma's pain, saw the weariness and sorrow in Mommy's eyes, the tears in Grandpa's, and I couldn't understand it.
Nothing seemed to make sense anymore.
I hurt, but didn't understand just why.
I wanted her hugs, her smile.
I wanted her to look at me with those warm eyes and truly see me.
And then, one night, I leaned over her bed to kiss her goodnight as us grandkids always did, then turned to leave.
Grandma suddenly reached out her hand and grabbed my arm in firm grip, her eyes staring into my face in almost desperation.
She wouldn't let go.
I remember Mommy saying, "What is it, Mom? What are you trying to say?"
She just looked at me, unable to speak, trying so very hard to tell me something.
I didn't know what it was then, but I do now.
She wanted to tell me, before she went away, that she loved me, that Jesus loved me, and that everything was going to be okay.
How had she known the loneliness and pain I would feel years down the road?
Every time I look back on that moment, I wish I had thrown my arms around her and assured her that I knew.
But I didn't.
Sometimes I cry myself to sleep, missing her.
The terrible ache seems to only grow as I get older, and sometimes I get a lonely desire to talk with her again, hug her one more time, and to simply see her smile.
And then there are times when she seems to be fading in my memory, when I can't picture her face in my mind, and I get so scared, thinking maybe I am forgetting her.
I guess that's the worst part of losing one you love.
But then... :D
Then I see my own mom smile, hear her laugh, and listen to her wise words, and I am reminded that I still have an amazing woman in my life.
A woman so much like the one I lost, and a woman very much a part of her.
And I am thankful.