Each year, my grandma GG made personalized ornaments for the kids in her family. I still have all of mine. As soon as we pull out the Christmas decorations, my children eagerly sort their ornaments from GG, talking about the memories that they hold.
A few years ago, after hearing a sermon from one of our Pastors Joe Bartemus about Jesus as Emmanuel, God WITH us, she took his advice and made all of us ornaments with the word WITH on them. It always has a prominent place on my tree.
But last Sunday, as my family woke from our weekend camping trip, I received a call I didn't want to hear. My grandma GG passed away.
Hurrying home, I wanted to be where GG usually was on Sunday afternoons: surrounded by our families at my parent’s house. I cried in the backseat with my daughters the long drive home, listening to songs that helped the mourning process.
Sometimes when people die, you’re ready. My grandpa, though I do miss him, suffered at the end and I was glad for him when he went Home. But though GG was 81, a full life, I wasn’t ready to lose her yet. Although I’m comforted with the words from Psalm 139, “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” I just wish her days were a little longer.
I don’t know how we’ll ever play Scrabble on Sundays again – she was our faithful score keeper for years! We joked a few weeks ago that if she ever left us, we’d just shout out the scores and she could keep track for us in Heaven. We’ll find out who won when we join her there.
I’ve written her obituary, which is a list of facts about her life, but the reality of who she was cannot be summed up with dates alone. She exemplified Galatians 5. The fruit of the Spirit in her life was evident to all who were privileged to know her.
- Love – Unconditional for her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
- Joy – Spreading it with her big smile and good sense of humor. My mom and GG were always laughing with the various doctors they saw. She even spread her joy on email, facebook, and even Webkinz World with the kids! I loved having her out there.
- Peace – She did not have an easy life, but the peace of God was always evident. I never once saw her hurried or frustrated or impatient.
- Patience – This was evidenced by her perfect tolerance of the 10 little rugrats that ran around her ankles each Sunday! They were never a bother to her, even when they cried. She always welcomed them with a smile and a hug.
- Kindness – She kept in touch with friends and loved-ones, sent Christmas letters every year. She took my other grandma to Bible Study every week and kept an eye on her. She was kind to everyone she met, always ready with a nice word.
- Goodness – She was full of good deeds, anonymously helping behind the scenes at church. She made personalized ornaments for all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren each year. She never forgot a birthday, and each Valentine’s day, a letter from GG arrived in the mail with a dollar bill.
- Faithfulness – Faithful to her family and holding unswervingly to her faith.
- Gentleness – I never heard her utter a harsh word about anything or anyone, even when I thought she had cause to.
- Self-Control – GG didn’t have an easy life, but self-control was clear in her resistance to temptation. She also had self-control to keep her opinions to herself. So many older women get pushy with their ideas and are prone to slander, but GG offered her opinion when asked and only spoke good of others.
She would give all the praise to Jesus, of course.
|GG with one of her Webkinz|
As I hang that ornament each year, I will still think of Jesus being WITH us, but now, GG is WITH Him. And I can’t wait to be WITH them both in glory.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.