We buried my grandmother yesterday.
Death is an odd thing. It’s something most of us don’t have to confront everyday. The loss of a loved one leaves a wound, a hole that cannot be filled. It’s permanency is frightening. It’s inevitability is shaking as we are faced with our own mortality.
I watched as my family came together, scattered across the country, planes and cars brought them. I watched as friends from far and wide, old and new, gathered to honor her life and lend support to those of us left without her. I witnessed friends lavish my family with love and food, thoughts and prayers as they gathered around us these past few days.
My grandmother was old, nearly a century. For me, my grandma had been dying for years, slowly fading with time. The haze of dementia had covered her for most of my life as her memory quietly faded. I was able to mourn her loss far before she finally left.
The passing of my grandmother was hard to watch on the faces that knew her the longest. It was hard to face the mortality that is within all of us, the inevitability of our own end. It was hard to pack the few remaining things of someone who has been slowly declining, but it was not hard to keep walking, keep moving in my own life. This death was not life altering.
My mourning for my grandmother was quiet, reflective and thankful for the life she gave to all of us. For my life I’ve watched my grandmother forget, inch by inch, little by little. I’ve watched her memory fade with each passing year, her body decline, her ambition and will diminish.
Over the years her family left her memory. As I was one of the youngest grandchildren I escaped her memory early on. An odd thing to be surrounded by family not to recognize a single face. To be told who you are, where you come from but not know yourself. To sit next to the children you birthed not to remember that you were the one who birthed them.
Her wit and laughter bathed us all in an ease covering our anxious hearts. Her smile and quick humor filled our conversations filling the silence left from faded memories and thoughts. Repetition became a way of life. Repeated phrases, conversations, questions and answers.
Going through pictures, hearing old stories of times long past has filled my last couple of days. Her passing has brought about a new person, one I never had the opportunity to meet. Funny how the end of things causes us to remember and to reflect.
But even that we are not guaranteed to have as memories fade. At the end it’s easy to see that this life is out of our control as we are not the Creator. Our date of conception and of death is only know by the Author of our own stories which we are clearly not, though we claim to be.
And therein lies our existence not in ourselves but in Him. Therein lies our hope, our peace, our rest, our very breath. We were created by God our Father, we were saved by Jesus His son, and we live now with Him through the Spirit, sealed with the promise of forever not to the end of our days but beyond with Him.
Death is weird but I take comfort in knowing that not even death can separate me from Him. And as it looms ever closer on the horizon I shall cling all the more to the One who knows my soul and has authored my days.
It was a privilege to walk with my grandmother in her final years and days, to be her granddaughter. It is an honor to stand beside those she has left behind. Because of her I am, just as He wrote it to be.