Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grams

83...she would have been, but she made it only to 76.  I wish she would have been with us until she was 100 because she was the best grandma and the kindest woman I ever knew or ever will know.  She was firm, but loving.  Full of laughter and rarely without a smile.  I am quite sure she trained herself to always have a smile on her face.  I asked her about it once when I was very young and she didn't even realize she was smiling.

I was a lucky one.  My parents divorced when I was five and because of that, I live with my grandparents for a couple of years.  No, I'm not an advocate of divorce.  But, I know a blessing when I see one and being in my Grandma's presence as much as I was was one of those "good" things that God made out of bad. (Romans 8:28)

She was a wise and beautiful woman.  Hardworking.  Dependable.


It seems such a cruelty that she left this earth the way she did.  Cancer is a wicked and horrid thief that rips loved ones, treasured ones away - out of our arms and far away from us.  And it doesn't care how it takes my beloved ones:  peacefully, violently, painfully, sleepily.  Cancer is not a respecter of life.

"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)  
How often that verse played over and over in my mind 
and on my lips her final days.  

Two days before my beautiful Grandma slipped out of this life, I stood at the foot of her bed.  The hospice chaplain holding her left hand.  She hadn't woken in a day or so, but when we entered the room to see if we could pray with her, her eyes were open.  A conscious moment!  ...And at the very minute we approached her about eternity.  We were amazed...yet we ought never to be surprised at the tenderness of the Lord.
I will always treasure in my heart the hours rubbing her legs.  I will always treasure the dozens of short walks around the house close behind her so she wouldn't fall.  I will always treasure surrounding her, my arms around her to hold her up as she brushed her teeth.  Lifting her out of the chair and being so grateful for my dancer's strength so I could be strong for her when she needed me.  How many times had she been strong for me?
I will always treasure that the last words I recall her saying were, "Hi, sweetie pie," when I set 5-month-old Brandon on her bed days before she died.  
I will treasure her stubborn sass over how to scramble an egg or do the dishes.  Never mind that I was helping her.  Haha! :)  She always knew the proper way to do everything.
So, that Tuesday, as I stood at the foot of her bed, I told her what a good person she was and how I know she believed that good people went to Heaven.  "But, Gramma, that isn't the truth.  Grams," I pleaded, "Jesus died on the cross.  He wouldn't have done that if we could find our own way to Heaven.  Jesus is the only way.  And we must invite Him to be the center of our lives.  Gramma, squeeze the man's hand if you want to pray to ask Jesus to come to you."
After days of lethargy and zero response, 
she turned her head to the chaplain 
and squeezed his hand.

Thank You, Jesus!

"When someone you love becomes a memory,
That memory becomes a treasure."

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