This past week I was in my hometown, saying goodbye to one special lady. After a long, hard battle with cancer, my grandmother passed away.
How do you say goodbye to someone who helped raise you?
My mother was really sick after she had me, so my grandmother stepped in, helping my dad with the late night feedings, early doctor's appointments, and tiny baby diaper changes for the few weeks of my life. Later in my childhood, my parents and I moved just down the road from my grandparents and memories of them in my life are too numerous to count.
How do you say goodbye to someone who gave so much?
I've never met a woman (in combination with my grandfather) who were more generous. And not just financially. With their time and talents, too. Serving in the church and in the community. Hosting events, sponsoring programs. My grandmother crafting tote bags/ornaments/wreaths into the wee hours of the night for whatever charity auction she was participating in. They gave big to their families - heart and soul.
How do you say goodbye to someone you're basically more and more like every day?
My grandma and I argued tirelessly when I was younger. She had an opinion about everything (and did until her last breath). I was a strong-willed teenager, not wanting any of her wisdom. But she kept dishing it out, and although I sighed and rolled my eyes then, what I wouldn't give for one last life lesson. I said something the other day and Kyle turned to me and said "You are her. You are your grandmother." I smiled, laughing that the person I often fought against when I was young is really who I became.
She was a devoted mother and wife, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a leader. She was a believer. She was a fighter. She fought for her family, for her faith. At the end, she fought for her health, and then, graciously acknowledged it was time to fight now more. To drift away and enter paradise.
And that's where she is. With Jesus, living her eternity, a reward for a beautiful life well spent.