This has been a season of grieving for me. Two months ago my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the grieving began for me. I am very emotional when it comes to family and friends (well, even heart patients that I don't know). I love to pray for them and pour my life into them. It isn't easy when they don't live nearby. This was part of the reason it was so hard for me when I heard that my grandmother had cancer; I knew I would not be able to be by her side through it all. I so longed to be there...
I was unable to return to see her before she passed away on October 29. I had to give it to God because every time I tried to work out a trip there, it just wasn't possible. I thank the Lord for one last conversation I had with her. It was the day before she died, and my mom called to say that the Hospice nurse wanted us to call her. I say it was the Lord because even though she was unable to speak to me, she did indicate to the nurse that she heard me. I was able to tell her how much I loved her for the last time. That was bittersweet. It felt so good, but then the next morning when I got "the call", it felt final and was devastating. Many times I cried out, "God, I wasn't ready for my time with her to be over."
I was sick with a sinus infection when I got "the call" and actually had a doctor's appointment a few hours later to have my ears "cleared to fly". Thank the Lord for the timing because I was in fact ok to fly. I left town 2 days later.
Traveling alone was not easy for me. I was emotional. Oh, and did I mention that I have a fear of flying? Thankfully, that was the last thing on my mind on the way up there. (The way home was another story...) When I got to Baltimore, I rented a car and drove to her house where my parents were staying (and I would stay too). Talk about difficult.
During my trip, the Lord blessed me with time with my family (parents, cousins, uncle, ex-aunt, and a distant cousin and his wife). I arrived on Saturday, and the funeral wasn't until Monday morning. We had time to sort through her belongings and also be given the things she left for us. That was special and hard all at the same time. I could still smell her on some of her things...
When Monday morning came, I wondered how I would be able to sing in her service. She had asked me to sing "How Great Thou Art", and I wanted to do it for her. It is a miracle that I made it through the song without crying. I would like to think she gave me a chance to compose myself during Communion which preceded my song.
Speaking of the service, it was awesome. She planned the entire service about 8 years ago. Needless to say, that made me more emotional. I knew that these were the things she wanted us to hear. She had quite a heart for God.
As I look back on my trip for the funeral, I wish I could have stayed longer. I guess being there made me feel closer to her; it didn't feel as final. Once my parents left town days after I did, it felt so much more real to me. It hurt, and it still does. I have good days and bad days. I have a hard time believing she's gone, but at the same time I feel a deep loss. Crazy...
This was my last living grandparent and the only one that died suddenly. Jeremy would say because of those things I took this death the hardest. (He has been in my life for all 4 of them.) It is not easy to see someone looking well (with a few symptoms but nothing major) and then hear they are going to die quickly. It was such a blessing for her not to suffer for long though, and I thank the Lord for that. We all prayed that she wouldn't linger. After seeing her body, I wouldn't have wanted her to stay here. The Lord was merciful!
A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to a video by Hillsong. It spoke to me. You will have to watch it to understand why it ministered to me. My prayer is that through this season of my life I will praise Him! We are to praise Him in all seasons.