My grandmother passed away on Wednesday evening. Y’all may remember seeing her in photos. We tried to visit my grandparents as often as we could. For a long time, I took it for granted that I had both sets of grandparents alive and thriving for such a long time, getting to see them as much as I did, and not thinking what it would be like when they were gone. Well, after my dad’s parents (Mimi and Pop to us) passed away, I tried to make more of an effort to spend quality time with my mother’s parents. And I wanted my children to too. I know how happy it made my grandparents for the children to visit. They would seriously call after we arrived back home, the same day, and thank us for making the hour and a half trip to visit. I still even remember my great-grandparents, and I’m thankful for that. One of the advantages of being the oldest is getting to know my great grandparents and grandparents longer than others. What a blessing! I just hope that I can remember and share their stories with my children, that will pass them on to my children’s children someday.
I think all of us are saying prayers that little W will remember her wonderful grandmother in all her glory, and have memories to cherish, from her visits with her. My grandmother loved children, that was obvious. Even the young children on their street, who probably had grandparents of their own, came to visit my grandparents often. They were cool…well, and they gave them candy. A little bribery didn’t hurt anyone. And yesterday, when many of them came to visit, bringing food over for my grandfather, one of the 11-year old neighbors told my grandfather, “We’ll make it through this, together.”
Seriously though, what cooler grandparents can navigate a cell phone, and receive photo texts! The funny thing is that you knew when you sent a photo text to them, you’d be getting a call thanking us for the photo, or to talk about it, as soon as you sent it. Growing up, my grandparents used to record our phone calls, when we would call them and wish them happy birthday or Merry Christmas. We didn’t realize this until a few years ago, when one of my sisters went to visit, and they played back some of the tapes for her. I’m sure some of those recordings are hilarious…my sisters and I fighting on the phone, whose turn it was to talk, the times when we probably didn’t even want to talk, etc.
The girls loved visiting my grandparents, often asking when we’d see them next. I know it brightened my grandparents’ day to see them, too. They’ll still visit my grandfather, sing songs, chow down on chocolate and cheese straws, but there will clearly be an absence there. I prepared W for this, but I know she and E will still ask where she is, and we’ll have to remind them each time for awhile. And that’s okay, just a little sad.
My grandmother had been sick, and was getting weaker, but I don’t think we expected it to be this soon that the Lord would take her from this world. Praise the Lord she is in heaven now, breathing with a brand new set of fresh lungs and completely healed. That is the blessing, the grieving is in my grandfather and his children (my mother included) and all of our extended family. My grandparents were married for 57 years, and rarely left each other’s side. In my grandfather’s words to me, “You lost an amazing grandmother, and I lost my best friend.” Tomorrow we will celebrate my grandmother’s life and grieve together.
W is expecting the tears at the funeral and knows that her great grandmother is in heaven. I told her that everyone will be glad she’s in heaven, because she’ll be with the Lord and is healed, but many of us will be crying because we’re going to miss her here on Earth. I showed her photos of her yesterday, from many of our visits, and explained that she’s not here anymore, and that she’s in heaven…with Mimi and Pop, Toby (my family’s dog growing up), Cabo (a classmate’s family dog) and Jesus. Children have such an innocence, yet know much more than us adults expect. W explained to me that my grandmother won’t know how to fly, so Jesus will have to help her fly up to heaven. And that Jesus will wash her feet when she gets there. And my tears starting flowing when she said, “Can I go to heaven? I want to go to heaven, too.”
My grandmother will be truly missed, but her legacy will live on through her four children, her eleven grandchildren, and her ten great-grandchildren. My E was named after my grandmother, as well. Now, it will have an even extra special meaning.
Her last six months with us…