Two weeks ago I lost only the second family member in my life, my Grandma Melva. She lived an incredible 88 years and nearly the last 5 without the love of her life, my Grandpa Stan. For myself, the last two weeks have been somewhat of a relief, knowing that my grandma is ultimately in a place she’d much rather be. While she leaves behind a large family that loved her very much, she also leaves behind a failing body and mind. I have a hard time feeling anything but happiness that she is rejoicing in Christ.
The older I get, the more I realize that I am not very good at remembering past events without having someone else remind me of them specifically. I struggled to move past the most recent memories of my grandma in a wheelchair, struggling to remember people and names. I knew that my 88 year old grandma was not the woman she was throughout most of her life, but it wasn’t until others started sharing their memories during the funeral and other times in the last weeks that I really began to recollect a better memory of my grandma. A memory of her that I hope sticks in my brain more than the last few years.
I have been reminded of my grandma’s sense of humor and how much she laughed. I can see in my mind her tiny little frame shaking with laughter and her great big smile. I can remember the echo of running through her house in Sedona and into her kitchen where she’d be making one of her incredible roasts. I remember the sour, sour, sour grapefruits that she would split each morning with my grandpa and wondering how in the world they actually liked those things! I remember going to their church on Sundays when we visited and hearing her loud, beautiful voice singing the hymns.
My sister and I sang “How Great Thou Art” at the funeral and as my sister was saying a few words before we sang, I was reminded of the memory that will stick for me when I think of Grandma Melva and my Grandpa Stan. As I stood on stage and listened to my sister, I also glanced out to those listening and saw my beautiful wife and my precious son. It was right then that I remembered, a time while visiting my grandparent’s home in Las Vegas and sitting at the breakfast table. They had their Bible and devotional on the table and we started a conversation about what was on their hearts. They shared with me that they prayed every morning for my future wife. That God would be shaping her life and my life to bring us together at the right time. Looking at Annemarie and Burke from the stage and remembering that moment gave me the most overwhelming feeling of thankfulness for who my grandparents were and how much they cared about me… and the rest of their family. I hope that I can be as faithful and full of faith as they were.
As with when my grandpa passed, it was a wonderful time to be with family. To share memories and just enjoy that we are family.
Here is a video that we played during the funeral… even using the same format and songs as my grandpa’s slideshow. While it has lots of pictures of my grandma, it also has lots of pictures of the family that she helped create.
Death is definitely not the end and I’m excited to rejoice with her “when we all get to heaven.”