"The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd." Hebrews 11:1,2 The Message Bible
She's in a better place…
At 11:44am on November 18th... she left us.
She stepped from this world… this life… into the one that she has been waiting forever to see.
There are things to do… things to be done.
While she is dancing with Jesus, we are planning out the how and the where for us to say goodbye… to let her go.
I have a list sitting on my table.
It is full of my part… of my responsibility in the part I have to play.
But… and this is a huge but… I am sitting here. Unable to move. Unable to "plan".
I just needed a moment.
I needed to feel.
No one wants to talk about grief.
No one wants to read about it.
At least I don't. I didn't. Never.
Let's just be honest….
Who wants to partner with that kind of pain… the fears it calls to…
For me… until yesterday morning… never. I never wanted to touch it. Or feel it. None of it.
I didn't have a choice. Do we ever?
For the last week I drove back and forth… slept on a bed that is not my own and tried to prepare myself… my heart... for what I knew the end of this season would be.
When I walked through the door I knew that I wasn't going to be greeted by her smile… or the look of recognition that would take a minute to sink in… for her to recognize who I was.
Instead I have had to repeatedly turn the corner of her bedroom and find her there… lying there…. slipping farther away… not really able to talk… not able to reach out to us with her signature hugs and kisses… getting closer to the moment that we knew was coming but not one you can ever properly prepare your heart for.
We knew… we knew it was coming…
And as my family increasingly piled into the house and set up camp to do what needed to be done, I was surrounded by sights… sounds… emotions… and feelings that I could have never anticipated.
As we rolled her from side to side so she wouldn't hurt as much… as we all pitched in to bathe her… change her sheets to clean ones… touch her… feel her… surround her…. love on her… I have been so unsure.
How is this going to go down?
How are we going to know how to not do this?
How are we going to go back to our normal everyday after dropping everything and just being fully and completely in this moment? One we have wanted to escape from but never leave all at the same time?
How are we going to function as a family without the one person who has so hugely filled all of our lives?
At 11:44am on November 18th we got a glimpse...
As we all surrounded her as she slowly breathed in her last breaths with us…. breathing in the same air together…
As we watched as my brother kept his fingers on her pulse… to let us know that finally… she was gone.
As we all with tears running down our faces… not worrying about if we were doing this right…we said goodbye…
When my turn came to say what I knew I should… I couldn't fully embrace it… I couldn't embrace her anymore… she wasn't there.
The moment my fingers touched her shoulders, to lean in and hug her goodbye… I couldn't do it.
My spirit instantly felt it… like a shock to my system I felt it… she wasn't there anymore.
She was gone.
She is in a better place.
I can't explain fully I think, how I was feeling in that moment… but I remember a sick feeling rolling over me. An honest moment of emptiness…. I felt robbed.
A hole the size of which I have never felt before opened up…. it was like she just got up and left this place… this place in my life that I know can never be filled by anyone or anything else.
A crater of emptiness.
I know God knows.
I know that eventually…. eventually…. the hole will seem not so large.
I know that He is faithful to every single promise that He has ever spoken over me… my family… and over her.
I know that even though this moment feels so alien… so unfamiliar and foreign… me… my family… our hearts… I know that they will move on… go forward again from this place that we have sputtered to a stop.
I know that we will all be okay…
She grew us up to be.
But right now…. it pains… it aches… it's hard.
My heart is cracked and feeling lost.
I don't like not knowing how to navigate… how not to control my emotion.
I am working at it really hard… and losing miserably.
My family…her family… our amazing and loving family… she would have been so proud of us.
All that she taught us… all that she constantly pounded into our hearts and our heads… about faithfulness… how to trust God when things are uncertain… how to cling to the One who we know is the only One who can offer us true hope for what we don't understand… how to love with your whole heart… how to be there for each other… love each other when it's hard and tough…it all played out as we came together to care for and love on this earth the person that holds such a huge part of all of our hearts.
Her strength and her tanacity… it lives on. It resides right smack in the middle of me. In the middle of all of us.
I can't sit here and not insert any kind of hope… any kind of joy.
My sweet Gram embodied it.
She IS in a better place….
No more pain.
No more sorrow.
No more hurt.
No more loss.
The moment my cousin pulled me into his arms to release what I was holding in… I saw it….
Her… dancing… doing a jig like she used to… smiling big like I remember…. joyful… FREE….
How can I not rejoice over that?
How can I sit here and just focus on what I don't have in having her here and not focus on the what I know is now her very real reality.
On our unsure ride back home my brother asked…
"What is she doing right now?…"
"What does she see?…"
We don't know for sure… but we do know where she is. We are confident that although she is not here with us… she is there.
Dancing again… laughing again… getting reacquainted with those that she loved who have gone before her.
My Gram always loved parties… I imagine that she is having the biggest party right now ever.
It brings a smile to my face… and a little bit of joy leaking back in.
Although the pain of it hurts deep and the loss feels larger than anything I can try and compare it to…
I have hope.
Somewhere deep I can feel the release…
She is in a better place.
I imagine her dancing with joy… leaping through grass greener than she has ever seen.
I imagine her smelling and admiring the flowers that only a dedicated gardener can appreciate.
I imagine her touching the water as it flows from the springs of the kingdom.
I imagine her smiling…. her eyes sparkling…. her laughter bubbling over and loud.
I imagine her surrounded by her mom, her dad, her brothers and sisters… my Grandpa.
Finally reunited with the man that she loved. The man that was taken from her at such a young age.
I imagine her happy.
I imagine her whole.
I know that my imaginings are just that…
Deep down though… I know that there is some truth to it all.
And that… that is what I am holding on to in this moment of loss… when I feel bereft and unsure…
She is in a better place… and this truth that I can stand on surer than the keys that I am typing on at this very moment is this…
I WILL see her again.
That in and of itself brings me joy.
Until another tomorrow…
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:3-5 NAS