On August 17, I wrote:
My grandma went home to be with Jesus today. I'm thankful that I got to see her a couple of weeks ago, but also sad and sorry I didn't make more efforts to spend time with her while I could. She loved her big family fiercely, worshiped the Lord with a joyful heart, and has left a legacy of 5 children, 24 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren (and counting). I hope we will all strive to be like Dolores: faithful, loving, optimistic, creative, and full of inexplicable joy in the face of trials. Please send prayers to my mom and her siblings for peace and comfort.
|This was the last time I saw my grandma; |
I was showing her pictures from our trip to Hawaii.
On August 22, I attended my grandma's memorial service with most of my extended family and many of my grandma's close friends. It was a beautiful service, and I learned that my grandma was a lot more amazing than I ever really recognized while she was alive. I mean, she was a human being who messed up a lot just like I do all the time; I don't want to act like she was perfect even though it would be easier to only remember the good things and forget the hard stuff. But I spent a lot of time during my childhood and teens thinking, "Ugh, Grandma is so crazy; why can't she back off with that darn camcorder?" (and other such cluelessly mean thoughts), and in retrospect I see that most of the "crazy" or annoying things she did, she did because she was so passionate about her family and about preserving our memories for future generations. She loved every person in her great big family, even when we rolled our eyes or gave her sass or did something that strongly saddened her conservative heart. She loved her husband even after he had an affair and ended their 56-year marriage. My grandma was so passionate about her faith in Jesus, and she was always excited to see that faith being carried on in her family line. Yet, she also tried her best to be forgiving and full of grace whenever she was wronged or offended.
The day after the memorial, my cousin Micah got married to a lovely young woman named Christy. And the day before the memorial was my uncle Steve's birthday. My uncle made a very good point about how appropriate the whole weekend was, because my grandma always loved to celebrate multiple occasions while the whole family was together, in order to make the most of our time. I remember at least once having a cake that had both mine and my uncle Phil's names on it because we both have April birthdays. So while some may think it strange to have a funeral and a wedding a day apart, it was perfectly fitting that we said goodbye to my grandma and welcomed a new member into the family at the same time.
And even while I cringed a little as so many photos were being taken during the memorial service -- of my grandma's five children next to her coffin, next to her open grave, etc. -- I knew that it was being done because she would have wanted it. She believed that even sad occasions were worth remembering and documenting. (Side note: special thanks to my cousin-in-law Holly for taking on the challenge of photographing both the memorial and the wedding! Holly was poised and professional, even when she had to step in front of the guys getting ready to lower the casket to get a final shot.)
I've been crying at unexpected moments since my grandma's passing. Of course I bawled through most of her memorial service, and I cried a little harder than usual at the wedding because it was the first of all the grandkids' weddings that she wasn't at. But I'm also finding myself crying whenever I think about how this is affecting my mom and her siblings, especially my aunt Carol who was taking care of my grandma the last couple of years. I can't imagine the pain of losing a parent, even when you know it's coming because they're getting old or have been sick for awhile. I can't imagine it, but I saw it in my mom's face. I cried when I saw a picture of my nephew Levi heading for his first day of Kindergarten. I cried in church during worship this past Sunday, I guess just because I was thinking about how much my grandma loved singing songs to Jesus.
And although I'm sad for all of these reasons and more, I am also so thankful for the comfort of knowing that my grandma is not in pain anymore, and she is rejoicing and singing praises right at the feet of Jesus. There is no more fear, no more sorrow, no more suffering for my grandma. Praise the Lord for that!