Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grandmother Darling

On November 9 my grandma passed away after complications from surgery and an infection she just couldn't shake. I tried to act cavalier about it all. She had been ill for about 9 months, and with each passing month my mom told me she was getting worse. At the end, it was a matter of when, not if, she would pass away. So when my mom called me that morning, I immediately sprang into action arranging plane tickets, leave from work, dog boarding, and even got my nails done to look presentable for her service. But when I arrived at the funeral home Friday night, nothing could prepare me for the overwhelming emotions. The next 48 hours were a roller coaster of emotions. I'd feel fine and I'd be joking with my cousins, and BAM I'd realize I couldn't call her to ask her about sewing. Or I'd be taking a shower and BOOM I'd start crying because I realized Grace would never have the pleasure of knowing such a wonderful woman.

When someone dies, it's hard to see the silver lining of the cloud. I want so much to think that she's in a better place and free from pain, but all I think is that facing the looming obstacle of motherhood without my go to gal will be so hard. Don't get me wrong- I love my mom. We are besties and sisters and mother and daughter all rolled into one. But I call my mom and say "what does it mean if Grace's face is broken out?" and she says "I don't know, I don't remember if that happened with you." I call my Grandma and ask her the same question and she draws on years of experience raising 3 kids and usually gives me a spot on answer and advice to go along with it.

The best thing that I have seen come out of this sadness is a glimpse into the rare love that my grandfather had for her. Here's the paragraph he wrote for the back of her funeral program. Penned the day of her death, it only touches the surface of how deeply he cared for her.

He looked down at her tired and wasted body.  But he saw the fifteen year old girl he fell in love with on that playground so many years ago.  He saw the 21 year old bride walking down the aisle toward him.  He saw the 26 year old mother of three smiling as he came in the door from night school.  He saw so many more images from over the years.  He saw beauty, and grace, and sweetness, and love.
The man leaned over and kissed her. "If this beauty is a hint of the beauty of God, then this is a God I can love.  If your goodness is a hint of the goodness of God, this is a God I can love.  If our love is a hint of God's love for us, this is a God I can love.  Mary, you show me what God must be like, and I love you for it.  Be still and go with God now."
She took one last breath and was gone.  And he cried a little, not for her death but for the wonder of the life she had given him -- a 53 year love affair that never ended.
And he would keep her in his heart until it was his time to go, and the love affair would go on forever.  He smiled at the thought.

Their story was a real life Nicholas Sparks novel. It was the Disney movie Up. It was the stuff that people yearn for, well, forever. I consider myself pretty damn lucky to have this kind of relationship to look up to and strive for in my own marriage.

Here are some photos of my grandma. She will be truly missed.


1 comment:

  1. Oh Mal, I am SO SO SO sorry. Sending you some BIG hugs. Your grandmother was beautiful, and your grandfather's words brought tears to my eyes.

    I know it's hard when you lose a grandparent and everyone handles it differently. But I will say I like to think mine are always with me, especially when I'm driving! I pretend my two g-mas are in the backseat watching over me (and now Trey)! I'm kooky, I know, but it feels right! :)

    Sending you lots of love, I'm here for you girl!!!!


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