This picture will forever draw emotion, and possibly tears, from me. This was taken March 11, 2014 on my porch. It was around 5 pm and I was doing a bible study entitled A Mom After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George. It was a few minutes within the time that this photo was taken that my grandmother, the woman who helped raise me, passed away. My grandmother, who made me chicken and dumplings every time I came over because she knew it was my favorite. My grandmother, who had such a spark about her despite her illness. My grandmother, who I was closer to than anyone.
Three days later and words cannot express the way I feel. Which is to be expected, I suppose, of someone grieving. But what kind of expectations can you have for someone grieving? I’ve learned just how different people grieve the loss of a loved one. It’s not a process of 5 easy steps. Grieving is messy and complicated. Grieving is like the ocean waters ebbing back and forth. Sometimes I’m strong, recalling on God’s promises for those who love Him (and she loved The Lord with all her heart). Sometimes I’m sobbing because I miss her so much. I want to pick the phone up and call her and tell her the milestones my 7 month old daughter is reaching. When I told her about a week ago that my daughter was now saying “mama” she said, “Nooo, she’s saying Mamaw!” She was always funny like that.
God’s promises are what my grandmother clung (clinged? Clang?) to in her hospital bed as the doctors delivered bad news on top of bad news and her condition rapidly worsened. My grandmother was sick for almost a decade. She had also grieved the death of her son for almost a decade. And within the week she died, she was diagnosed with liver cancer. She knew her time had come. As described in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Emphasis mine) She seemed okay with this fact. But I struggle with it. I miss her and the selfish part of me wants her back. But I know she was suffering for the past 10 years and she no longer has to.
Romans 8:18 tells us,
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
This verse helps me to not drown in my mourning. And even when I mourn, it’s a mourning full of hope. Not only is the pain and sickness she endured here on Earth over, but the glory she has received in Heaven doesn’t even compare to it. I don’t know what all that entails, but one day I will. One day I will be with her in Heaven. I must cling to this truth if I ever want to heal from the pain I’m feeling.
Thank you, Mamaw for all that you taught me growing up. About life. About God. Thank you. I love and miss you.