June 10-11, 2015
My sweet Grandma Beth is getting ready to meet Jesus face to face and see Papa after eleven years. This is a mixed up sort of emotional evening. Her blood pressure if fading…increased meds to stabilize stopped helping this evening…bp was 69/37 at 7:40pm…at 10:40pm is was 54/29, pulse oxygen at 80…she’s leaving this world. When I think about her uncomfortable, confused, throwing up…I’m anxious for her joy to come quickly…when I think about her getting to fall at Jesus’ feet, I can’t even fathom. But when I think about what I felt when I’d see my Grandma Beth’s car pull into the school circle to pick me up and take me to ice cream or when I think about sitting on her front porch swing with her singing kum ba yah my Lord, or when I think about her telling me “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck,” my heart aches. I’m just sad. I had the privileged joy in my childhood to grow up in the same town as one set of my grandparents. My grandma was always present. It’s weird that Baby K, my youngest will never remember meeting her. Never know her. I cried when I received word that she was being taken by ambulance to the hospital, she couldn’t walk, her eyes were stationary and she wasn’t talking…I asked Handsome K if this is the end? That was two days ago.
Makes me think what a vapor our lives really are. I walked in and laid my hand on each of my kids tonight, watched them breath a few moments and prayed that I’m half the serving, generous, loving woman my grandma was. Prayed that my kids would know how much I love them everyday, so they would never doubt that.
For the past three years, my Grandma has often asked, “Where’s James?” James is my Papa, who met Jesus 11 years ago. But when my Grandma’s dementia would take over her safe place was where Papa was. She’s asked my mom and I’m sure everyone at the nursing home, “Where’s James?” They would tell her he died and she would say, “oh, ok” or “he did?” She’s never quit asking about him. A few hours ago she asked my Mom again, “Where’s James?” Mom usually tells her he is gone. Tonight she told her, “He’s at home, he will be here soon.” Mom said she just couldn’t tell her again. We decided it’s true because Papa is at home in Heaven and Grandma will get to see him soon.
I cried as I talked to Handsome K on the phone, seemed so childish of me but I wanted one more time to tell my Grandma, “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” Why in the last moments would it be so comforting to say just one more thing to those you love. I just wanted her to know again that I love her.
Mom and I talked at 11pm tonight. Quickly. I wanted to be with her. Grandma’s life on earth is almost done. Fading.
A little after midnight for me (2am in Texas) I got this text from my mom…
“Surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine”
Mother is in awe of our Heavenly Father.
She is wrapped in the arms of our
Heavenly Father. She is at peace.
And now she knows,
"Where is James?"
As soon as I saw the first line I started to cry because I remember sitting in my grandparents dining room playing that song for Grandma when we searched and decided songs for Papa’s funeral. I knew immediately she was gone. I read it three times and sobbed like a baby…loud while rocking back and forth alone on my couch. I deeply love my Grandma. Her first name is Golden, and that she was. It doesn’t seem real. I know it is. I’m grateful that I can be joyful in where she is now…no pain, no sorrow, no hospitals, no confusion. But death is so final for us left here on Earth. She is beginning the rest of her forever in the wee hours of June 11, 2015.
Do I believe we will know people in Heaven just like we do on Earth?? Probably not because we won’t remember sin. But I choose to think about knowing people deeply in Heaven. God made us relational. Primarily so we can have a relationship with Him and for Him to be glorified. My Grandma’s life glorified God.
You’re right mom, she will never again ask, “Where’s James?”
I choose to visualize Grandma and Papa having a cup of coffee and singing It Is Well With my Soul together loudly praising our Heavenly Father forever in His presence as only those in Heaven understand. While I’m back on Earth and looking forward to the day that I can right now only imagine.
After getting back home I heard this song as if for the first time…it is a beautiful reminder that our time on Earth is so short really and our forever home is waiting for us.
I hold your hand and watch as the sun slowly fades
Far in the distance the Father is calling your name
And it’s time for you to go home
And everything in me wants to hold on
But I’m letting you go with this goodbye kiss and this promise
I’ll see you in a little while
I’ll see you in a little while
It won’t be too long now
We’ll see it on the other side
The wait was only the blink of an eye
So I’m not gonna say goodbye
‘Cause I’ll see you in a little while
Maybe you’ll teach me all the songs they sing in heaven
Maybe you’ll show me how you can fly
And I’ll hear you laugh again
And we won’t remember when
We were not together and this time it’s forever
(Stephen Curtis Chapman)
God I pray that I am a servant and love people deeply like my Grandma did. Help me to be that with my life…no greater joy than knowing you…in life and in death.