Monday, August 31, 2015

When You Lose Someone You Love

I've never been good with funerals or wakes. I always end up blurting out something ridiculous or I don't say much at all. You know, on one end of the spectrum or the other. I'm always afraid that I'm going to say the wrong thing or say something to cause someone more hurt or pain than they're already experiencing. I haven't been on the receiving end of those bumbling, blundering comments very often and especially not for someone really close to me.

Gran and I around 1985. I loved being his helper. Judging by that smile on his face, he loved it, too.

But today, we lost my grandfather and I can see my past uncomfortable blunders or awkwardness at funerals or wakes in a new light. Those that offer condolences, even if it is an awkward hug or a simple I'm sorry, are much appreciated by the family. It's a comfort to know that others cared about our loved one, too. That they are extending a hand of love and understanding in a difficult time, even if it's just a handshake or a nod.  And in the future, I'll always keep that in mind when I feel like an awkward, blundering, ball of nerves before a mourning family. (Oh, and you know in the South, the way some people show they care is with food. By the time my husband and I arrived at my grandparent's house from the hospital, there were already friends of the family there with food and necessities like paper towels, toilet paper, cups, and ice. We're so grateful for those things,too.) 

The past week has been a bit of a rollercoaster for my family. Last Tuesday, Granddaddy had a mini stroke and was taken to a hospital about an hour away from our hometown. He seemed to be doing pretty well. He was even making all of us (some of the family that were there) and the nurses laugh. For the most part, he seemed like himself and it didn't appear that he would have any lasting major neurological damage. I left the hospital on Tuesday thinking that they would keep him a couple of days and send him home. 

The next day, however, he had a massive stoke. I didn't go to the hospital on that day because I thought he would be fine, so when I went to see him the next day, he was much altered from the way he was on Tuesday. His condition continued to deteriorate from last Wednesday until today when he was taken straight to the Great Physician and was healed for good. I'm sad but I have peace that he is with the Lord now and I'll see him again there one day. He walked into the arms of his Savior as he was surrounded by his family. We were with him to the very end and I'm grateful to have been there when he breathed his last.  We all knew he loved us and he knew we loved him. 

A couple years ago at Gran's 80th birthday.

My grandparents were together almost sixty years. (She'll tell you exactly how long.....they lacked one year and seven months being married sixty years. Her exact words.) I'm so grateful to have witnessed their love. My granddaddy loved to sing. I'll never forget the song he sang to her in front of friends and family at their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary party. It's an old Southern Gospel song called I Hope We Walk the Last Mile Together:

I hope we walk the last mile together
Hand in hand, we can see the promised land
We’ve been through a lot of bad times but our love is forever
And I hope we walk the last mile together

We made our house a home for our little ones
We’ve known happiness, yes we’ve known sorrow too
Oh we’ve walked in the sunshine and we’ve walked stormy weather
And I hope we walk the last mile together

I remember when you first said I love you
I didn’t know that our love could be so strong
But today I find its still mine, for its come and go whatever
And I hope we walk the last mile together

And they did walk that last mile together. What a great legacy to leave behind....that he was man who loved the Lord, loved his wife, and loved his family. I could only hope that the same would be said of me one day. 

Love his smile!

These next couple of days are going to be difficult for my family as arrangements are made and we have the funeral. A lot of us are really tired from being at the hospital for almost a week with him, especially my grandmother, dad, aunt, and uncle. (Some of us drove back and forth, and some stayed either at the hospital with him or a hotel across the street.) Please keep my family in your prayers during this time. Thanks in advance. 

 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

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