Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A World Without Parents

This lady.  This lady sitting here with one of her favorite grandchildren (who really is a grandchild by marriage) left us last week.  

For a few months, she had been sick and in the hospital for the better part.  So, we had time.  We had time to grieve.  We had time to visit.  We had time to say our goodbyes.  Selfishly, it still didn't seem enough.  Why not just one more hug?  Just one more squeeze of the hand.  Just one more, "I love you, Me-Me."  Why not? was time.

Upon hearing of her death that Monday afternoon, what I thought I had grieved for, I quickly realized I had not.  As the tears rolled down my face, I had to explain to my babies that their Gran Me-Me had left this life.  You know what it's like to see your parents cry?  With eyes the size of quarters, they comforted me, and they tried to think of ways to comfort their Papa who had just experienced the unthinkable...the loss of his Momma.

Sophie just knew she needed to call my mom's parents and ask them if they would be my daddy's new mom and dad.

Carter wanted me to know that this was a part of life.  That we all die.  That he would die.  That I would die.  And, that all would be okay.  Because Jesus died first...for that we may live in a better place.  He is right.  Yet sometimes, it still hurts.

And it has hurt.

This lady in this photo...she was my grandmother, my dad's mother.  The one who would tell it like it was, even if you didn't want to hear it.  The one who never missed cooking one of those meals you could taste just from the smells coming from the kitchen.  The one who laughed like you were the funniest person alive when you told a joke.  The one who made Christmas fudge-making look easy (I had seven failed attempts this year).  The one who sat down with all of us granddaughters time after time and taught us to craft (mainly wooden Santa Clauses).  The one who loved to play cards, antiqued like no other and who always had a new recipe cut from a magazine waiting to be tried.

It was her house where we built towns along the creek, were we learned to drive (on and off the road much to her dismay), where we made bets on how many rabbits would run in front of our cars on the evenings coming home from a local dance.  It was there where we learned what a good antique was (I'm still learning), how important it was to take care of things, and how to dress alike on family vacations.  It was there where I failed to learn to sew summer after summer and where tournaments of washer pitching never ended.  Where we decorated Christmas stockings with paper bags and countless markers, and where I learned to make a margarita (she swore it was better for her ailments than a handful of pills).

She was a spit-fire.  The very obvious matriarch of a family who sought to raise children just as she be loving, respectful, giving members of society.  She had three, and each of them had three.  My little family broke the three mold, and she was concerned about it until she left here...wanting me to tell her we were "finished" before she passed.  I couldn't.  She'll know eventually if we are.

But, she loved us.  Each of us in her own way.  And no matter the length of her life, the fullness of the time spent on earth, death always comes too soon.

I miss her.  Boy, do I miss her.  But even more, I ache when I think of my dad no longer having parents here.  A world without parents is one I am not ready for.

I know many tragically lose parents much sooner than my dad lost his.  I know there are deaths that are so much more difficult to bear.  But, as we walked into the church on Thursday, with her casket in front of our heavy steps to our pews, and my cousin singing, "Joyful, Joyful" the tears flowed relentlessly.  Seeing from the corners of my eyes, dare I look into the eyes of someone I loved for fear of sobbing uncontrollably, the pews full of those who loved her...who loved us, was a gift I am unable to thank everyone for.

It isn't until you are the one who is being loved on that you realize who funerals are really for...those left behind.  

And, as I sit at home today, caring for six kids down with their second round of flu, I find myself wondering if I love enough.  Do members of my family and community feel toward me how I felt just last week...knowing without a word, and even without a touch, just how loved I am.  Sometimes I get so worried that my time is spent so much in the confines of these walls of my home, that I'm not being Jesus to the world.  Instead I'm holing myself up, avoiding lots of social interaction because I would rather just be home.  And, while I know this is my vocation, I also know we are all called to love big.  And, I need to try harder.

As we grieve and mourn the loss of our Me-Me, the meals, cards, flowers, calls, texts, and visits have changed me.  

Thank you for loving me to the point of loving better.

And for you Me-Me, we're praying you back to Hosse every single day.  

God rest her soul.

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