When the phone rang at 4:00 this morning, I already knew.
I knew that you had gone home.
You suffered in a broken body for a long time, and when I visited you last weekend, I could see you had just had enough. It was time. And I knew how badly you wanted to go.
I am sad that our time together in this life has come to an end. I will miss your summer visits to the cottage, where we shared yogurt cups and played endless rounds of Chinese Checkers and dominoes. I will miss your Thanksgiving turkey, cooked in great-grandma’s old wood stove. I will miss your smiling face when you’d come to the door, your distinctive “Hello, Wendy!” and tight hug.
All of these things had already stopped, long before today. But the memory of them will live on — until we meet again and can do them all over.
I’ll always remember the night we watched the fireworks from the car, parked at the top of the hill. And how surprised you were the first time I pointed out that Canadian flag flying so far off in the distance. (It’s still there, Grandma!)
I will remember to save my pennies, because they’ll make me rich someday. “Take care of the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves,” you always said. You were right.
I will remember the night mom died, and how you held on so tightly even when I tried to push you away. Thank you for being here so I wasn’t alone.
I’ll remember that you always thought of me as your birthday present — just delivered a day late. And I will miss you telling me that practically every year of my life. And when you forgot… I told you instead. “Is that right!?” *nods* Yes, Grandma, that’s right.
I imagine that today is literally the happiest day of your life. You had to wait such a long time to see Grandpa again. Such a long time — almost 50 years, and you left to meet him still wearing your wedding ring, though it migrated fingers as you aged and lost weight. I hope that his was one of the first faces you saw. You were the last one left in your family, and now you can all be a family together again. I’m sure that everyone was waiting eagerly for their Polly (especially little Sporty, who I’m sure came running out to meet you!).
You saw a lot in 94 years, and you lived a challenging life. You were strong and independent — life demanded that — and you took care of us all with everything you had. You would have given anything to anyone who asked (or even if they didn’t ask but you saw a need)… and you did just that. Many, many times.
And though I sit and write this message to you with tear-stained cheeks and burning eyes, it is only for myself that I cry. Death is only difficult for those who have to stay behind.
But praise God for our Jesus who conquered Death. Jesus who redeemed us despite the fact that none of us deserve it. Jesus who gives us hope — hope that Death isn’t the end of anything, but rather just the beginning of something so much better. SO much better.
Death is not the end. And Grandma, you are not dead. I will see you again. I miss you, but I’m so grateful that you aren’t in pain any more. (And now you’re finally going to have tell your mom about that broken rib!)
And so I simply say, “Bye for now.” Try not to worry about me, I will continue to try and do my best, and live by the example that you set. See you next time, Grandma. I love you, always and forever. 💔
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:53