Friday, March 30, 2012
Grandma Goes Home
Some of you may remember this post written a couple of years ago about my grandmother. As we laid my grandmother to rest this week, I have more to say about this beloved and nurturing woman.
In November, my baby and I arrived for 2 weeks and ended up stayed for five months. I saw my grandmother more in the past 5 months than I had in the past 5 years, and I wouldn't have traded this special time for anything. God's timing was perfect, as always. Although it was hard to see her earthly body failing, her spirit was very much alive in her final days, dispensing advice, voicing opinions, and issuing decisive instructions.
We hired a young woman named Cara to help care for her in the mornings. "How do you like Cara?" I asked. Grandma liked her very much, and added an endorsement that made me smile, "She's not annoying at all."
The day arrived when she no longer felt like leaving her bed.
Was this the same lady who spent last summer planting flowers in containers around her garden? The same lady whose eyes still held a spark at my baby shower last September?
Oh, how she loved the Duckling, her first, her only great grandchild. "Where's the baby?" she would ask as soon as I walked in the door. "How is he doing?" She was always telling him she loved him. We all said "I love you" often these past few months.
My grandmother's yard held the most fragrant violets I had ever smelled. My grandfather had troweled them up from the dirt at a place he worked back in the 1960's and replanted them in the fertile former-farmland soil of their home, where the violets multiplied. I looked forward to them every year, violets being my favorite flower. This year I felt like there was a clock ticking. I wanted those violets to bloom so badly so I could dig some up and replant them at our own home, well aware that next year at this time the property might be home to a new family, perhaps strangers. As those delightful purple buds began to bloom, Grandma grew weaker. She grew more tired. Some days she didn't seem like herself. It was hard to see her beautiful garden come to life and she no longer be interested. One recent day, as the violets were in the full bloom, the daffodils past their prime, and the magnolia tree shed its blush colored petals on the ground, she peacefully left this world.
Last year during my awful pregnancy, my sense of smell made life unbearable some days. The only redeeming quality of hyper-olfactory was that I could smell the spring flowers in a new way that I had never smelled before. A lilac bush five hundred feet away smelled like a bouquet under my nose. Flowers that had never had much of a scent before suddenly emanated a deep fragrance and I would often say, this must be what flowers in heaven smell like. Everything smelled heavenly.
I admit that I can't help but wonder what beautiful flowers she might be enjoying now. Ones that make those lovely violets seem inconsequential, and yet they still matter. Because the last five months has served as a reminder of what I always knew. What we do here matters, and our time spent here on earth is only about a few things. It's about a few simple truths that a even a child can grasp. Our mission here is to love and care for one another and glorify God. It's about preparing to meet the Lord and live in his kingdom forever.