It’s taken me a long time to get around to this post. I guess I’m still processing the loss of my beloved Grandma. The loss is deep because the joy of knowing her was so great.
After her stroke, while she was holding on tightly to our hands and her last moments with us, I’d often hear my Papa tell people, “Go visit Katy in the health center if you want to say goodbye.” The word “want” really struck me every time I heard him say it. I didn’t want to say goodbye. I don’t think any of us really wanted to say goodbye to her.
In each of our own ways, many did get to say goodbye during her final days. For me, those were treasured times of reading to her from her journals (her collection of her favorite verses, hymns, and stories), singing to her, telling her how much I loved her, and kissing her forehead, while having her squeeze my hand in response. I was able to show her pictures and remind her of our special memories through the years.
For my Papa, it was a tender and heart-breaking goodbye after a 72-year love affair. As he held my Grandma’s hand and wept, he told her how much he loved her, while tears fell down my Grandma’s face with no ability to speak. I always knew they loved each other, but during those times I truly felt like I received a gift of really experiencing the deep love they have for each other.
Now, Grandma is with Jesus.
I read this recently, and it really speaks to how I’ve been feeling. “It always seems easier to leave than to be left behind. Because when others leave, you’re left with negative spaces, left to focus on what was once there. Your routine is the same, while they’re off exploring and experiencing something new. You can’t help but feel abandoned, despite all the rational thoughts inside your head. The hardest part is the unknown.”
The finality of death is, well, so final. The grieving is truly for my loss, but the hope and praise is in my Grandma’s gain. Her body is whole and she can now look upon Jesus face to face. She is in her true Home. And to think she is off exploring and experiencing something new in heaven is beyond comprehension!
In the months leading up to this day, my Mom would often ask Grandma if she was “nesting for heaven.” My Grandma planned her memorial service, cleaned through things, and planned what gifts to buy in the future for her great-grand children. It seems that she was ready in many ways. She truly lived an amazing life – dedicating it to God and to her family and friends. What a legacy.
My Grandma lived as if each day was a gift, or as my Papa would say, a “bonus day.” Lord, help me not to forget that.
About a year ago, before Carl and I were engaged, we visited with Papa and Grandma in San Diego. During that visit Papa unabashedly gave Carl an ultimatum – telling him that there was one more social event they were holding out for before they died. Carl proposed a few weeks later. It was such an honor to have them both at our wedding – a day they had been praying over for years. And Grandma, you sure had a good time!