Monday, July 29, 2013

She's in a better place.

Monday, July 29, 2013
Today was my maternal grandmother's funeral.

Yesterday was the memorial service/viewing.

It's been a pretty awful week (she passed on the 17th), and an especially emotional and draining weekend. My grandma turned 100 last year, and would have been 101 yesterday. I still can't believe she's gone; and even though everyone tells me she's in a better place (and I do believe she is), the pain is still so powerful.

It hurts even more when family drama takes a seat at the head of the table. It's the type that's been brewing for years and years, but came to a head yesterday. The dagger to my heart throughout the process - well one of the daggers - was when I stated that I had written a little something to read in memory of my grandmother, and the pastor of the church - who happens to be my uncle/my grandma's son stated that 'the tribute list was just so full already', and that 'we don't want the program to run long, so...we'll see'. Yeah, it never happened. I was provided a pre-approved scripture to read, and time was made for multiple members of the church community to tell stories, read letters, sing songs with seemingly unending choruses, and read statements from local counsel members who never even met my grandma. All this while the other children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were allowed to...just sit there.

I said some of the words to my grandma at her graveside today. It was during a quiet moment after most everyone had left, and while it was not the same as being able to share it with everyone at the memorial, I'm sure she heard me from up there and hopefully she smiled :)

For Grandma J:
For those who don't know me, my name is R. I am [my mom and dad's names here] daughter; and I want to say a few words in memory of my grandmother.
It's difficult to put into words how much my grandmother meant to me. She was a strong, intelligent, spiritual woman. She was loving and caring and had an amazing voice, a beautiful smile, and these wonderful cheekbones... She passed a lot of wisdom, conviction and strength down to her children, including my wonderful mother (who is a spitting image of her mother), who I am happy to say passed those traits on to me and my sisters.
I didn’t get to spend as much time with my grandmother as I would have liked, but even though our time together was too brief I felt like we had a strong bond. She was the only one to call me the special nickname she gave me, and observing her kindness and faith since I was a child has had a great impact on how I've viewed and treated others throughout my life.

My grandmother loved LIFE. She loved her family, and she loved God. No matter what situations life presented her with - no matter how challenging - she was able to overcome it with a wonderful attitude and belief in the love and power of the Lord. Not once did I witness her giving in to...pettiness, one-upsmanship, guilt...or having to downgrade the worthiness of others around her in order to make herself feel better, or appear better in the eyes of others... No, my grandmother showed me that no matter what happens in life, if you remain calm and positive, and keep your FAMILY and your FAITH in your mind and in your heart, you can overcome it. It was lessons like that...especially her emphasis on the importance of always nurturing each other and being there for your family...that I will remember the rest of my life. 
I love my family with every ounce of me. My parents, sisters and my husband travel with me in my heart every second of every day; and I count my grandmother as one of the inspirations for showing me how important love for family is, and what strength that love provides during both the happy AND sad times. It is incredible what an open mind and a kind heart can do.

As long as I can remember my grandmother shared with me the importance of faith. She was a very religious woman, who showed me how a belief in God helped shape her life. She did not feel the need to force anyone to follow a specific path; but instead knew that everyone has to follow their own personal journey to the Lord. I owe my grandmother immensely for my passion and faith in God, and I
 hope that I can live my life with the same honor, grace and respect that she did.

My grandma often spoke about how wonderful it would be when she would get to meet the Lord again; and while we were blessed to have her with us to celebrate the milestone of her 100th birthday here on Earth with us last year, He called one of his best creations home to celebrate with him this year. Happy 101st birthday Grandma. You will always be loved and remembered; and you will forever be deeply missed. 
Thank you.

Well, I'm exhausted and am going to take a nap. I hope everyone was able to have a more relaxing weekend than I did, and that the rest of the week gets better.


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