my grandma


It’s been nearly three weeks since my last post and my grandmother is no longer with us. She passed away on Friday, May 18th. At first, I didn’t really feel anything. She has been sick for so long that it was kind of a sigh of relief that she would be in no more pain. I also had a field trip to attend with Chloe that day for school, so it didn’t really hit me right away. I went about the day and took lots of pictures of her class learning all about Agriculture at the local fairgrounds. Mom stopped by during the day and left me a note with the funeral information, but it still didn’t seem real. The family wouldn’t be gathering until Sunday afternoon for the calling hours at the funeral home. I felt a little numb, like I kept thinking that I should be more upset than I was and I didn’t understand why I hadn’t cried yet.

Same thing Saturday. The kids both had soccer games and Chloe had a dance rehearsal, so I didn’t have time to stop and think about everything.

But later that day, I sat down in front of my computer, opened iTunes and hit play on the song “It Is Well With My Soul”. A while ago, my Grandpa had asked me if, when Grandma’s time came, I would sing a song at her funeral. I agreed, even though I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay composed enough to sing the whole song. I let the intro play and began to practice the song so I would be ready for the funeral on Monday. I didn’t make it through the entire song. The rest of the day I felt very sad.

We traveled to Ohio on Sunday and met up with my family. We were greeted by so many friends and family members that afternoon. So many people who knew and loved Grandma, were her students, her family and her friends. Aunt Deb and I noticed that Grandpa just kept turning to look at Grandma, as if he wanted to reach out and touch her or grab her hand or something, just to be near her. That just broke my heart.

On Monday morning, we gathered at Wayside Chapel, where my Grandpa was the pastor for many years. It was hard. Grandpa had a CD of Grandma singing at church years ago and he started out the funeral service with her singing the song “No More Night”. That was really difficult. Grandma was always singing or playing the piano or her accordion. She was very musical and it’s been years since we last heard her sing. I tried very hard to hold the tears in, but I couldn’t stop them. I was really hoping I wouldn’t cry before I had to go up and sing. My prayers all morning were “God, please help me get through my song without crying.” After kind words from the current pastor of Wayside, I sang my song and made it through without breaking down. I could not look at the front row – Grandpa, my parents, aunts and uncles. I had to keep my focus on the other people in the room, because I knew if I looked down at my family, I would lose it. As the song came to a close, I glanced down at my Grandpa, who was smiling up at me, and I gave him a little smile before I took my seat. He looked so happy and so proud of me. I was very nervous beforehand, but that look on his face made it all worthwhile.

Another pastor spoke after that, a dear friend of Grandpa’s, and then Grandpa got up and spoke. He said if he could sum up their marriage in three words they would be “We had fun!” :) So cute.

Then he had them play another song from the CD of Grandma singing. It was the song that says “I dreamed of a city called Glory” and when she got to the section of the song that talked about entering the streets of Heaven and seeing friends who had gone before, she paused from her singing and listed off names of several family members and friends who had passed away, then she continued on singing the song. Jake told me later that was the song that got him the most, because we got to hear Grandma speaking and we haven’t heard her voice in a very long time.

After the service, our family gathered at the front by Grandma’s casket. We held hands and Grandpa prayed and we shed a lot of tears. Before we all headed out, I noticed Grandpa turn toward Grandma a little, like he didn’t want to walk away, and I saw his chin quiver a little bit, fighting back the tears. I will never ever forget that moment.

We drove to the cemetery after and explained to the kids the etiquette of stopping your car along the road to show respect when a funeral procession passes you by. They wondered why some cars weren’t stopping, so we also explained that some people just don’t care or were never taught that it’s a kind thing to do.

The kids did great with the whole thing, by the way. We took them by the casket so they could see Grandma and made sure to ask them if they had any questions or wanted to talk about it or anything. Neither of them seemed very phased by it, but then they really didn’t know Grandma since she started deteriorating in the years when they were little.

After the cemetery, we had a nice luncheon at Wayside. It was very weird for me being back there. Some of my cousins were quite young when Grandpa and Grandma moved away from the church parsonage, so they don’t remember as much about that place. But I remember it well. Lots of holidays spent there. I actually attended kindergarten there at the Christian school beside the church. And my Grandpa baptized me in the pond behind the church, too. I walked the kids over to the pond and showed them. So many memories flood back when you go to a place you haven’t been in years.

It was a long and draining weekend and, honestly, I am still not feeling quite myself. Everything feels a little off. Like we were kind of waiting and wondering how long she would still be with us and now she’s gone and it seems sort of surreal.

If you think of it, please pray for my Grandpa. His entire life has been about taking care of Grandma and keeping her alive for so many years now. That old farmhouse must seem so quiet and empty without her there.

One Comment

  1. Jennifer Middleton said . . .

    I knew this would make me cry and I was right. Praying for you and for your Grandpa. Love you friend

    Posted May 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

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