It has been a little over a week since my grandma went to be with Jesus. Days are blurred and dates hard to remember as I recall the week that changed it all.
I remember a beautiful sunny Friday, when Hunter and I went to see her. She was happy to see us. We recited nursery rhymes and songs and I reminded her of her life... told her about what she loved and how she lived. She concentrated, but said it was hard. "I know," I responded, tears pooling.
I smiled when I pushed her outside into the sunshine, and her dry humor bubbled to the surface as she exclaimed, "Man, It's HOT out here." I played the part I have practiced since childhood, that of the cheerful optimist, responding, "I know, doesn't it feel great on your skin?"
She nodded slowly, her mind retreating to that lost place again.
We said five hundred goodbyes and I kissed her worn cheeks as much as she would let me, before going home.
Two days past before I got the call..."She isn't well."
Another day passed, sitting at her bedside, reading and stealing glances at the unsteady pulse in her throat.
I prayed she would go quickly.
I prayed she would never leave.
I went home to distract myself with my little ones.
Another phone call came at 9:30 that night, my mom... "Honey, I know you are coming to see her tomorrow, but you'll be ok if she goes tonight, right? You said goodbye just in case, right?"
"Yeah, I will be ok," I lied.
A second after hanging up, the truth hit me square in the face, No, I won't be ok, No, No, a thousand times No.
And so I went to her bedside, to tuck her in one more time. To say goodnight. To say I loved her. To say I was so so happy for the next part of her story... the one where she gets to see Jesus.
That night she went.
And we wept, and worked, and made funeral arrangements.
and we kissed her cold cheeks and combed her soft hair, and said our final goodbyes at the funeral home on fourth street.
and I wasn't ready to not be near her, so I ran back over to the big white house where her body lay that night, jogged through the parking lot, prayed and wept, looked insane.
Laid flowers on her grave the following day.
And found myself at the beach the day after that.
I am not sure if our family vacation was the worst timing or the best... probably both.
Either way, I knew that the beach was her place... the one she preferred above all others. And as I watched the sandpipers dance with the tide, I could have sworn I saw her tall, lean frame bending over to collect shells and driftwood along the shoreline, her skin tan, her hair white and wild.
My heart broke and healed simultaneously.
Back home now and it feels like a dream, what was intended to be a long, lazy summer month, swallowed up with changes, life rearranging.
And the sorrow isn't gone, but it has certainly lessened. And the familiar words I wrote just days before all of this, come to mind over and over.
It's all grace.
And it is.
Grace that she had 93 years on this earth. Grace that she was ours. Grace that our Heavenly Father has taken her home to be with Him, and grace that we know we will see her again.