Revelation 21:4 (NLT)
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
September 17th is a hard day for me. This is the day my grandmother passed in 2012. She meant so much to me and I spent a lot of my childhood with her. She lived two doors away until I was ten and my mother would take me to her house each morning before work and let my grandmother take care of me.
This continued for years, and she spoiled me. She would feed me breakfast in bed when I was in kindergarten and walk me to the bus stop every morning. She would take a quilt with us on cold mornings and wrap it around me until we could see the bus coming and she would take it away so no one would see.
She is the one who introduced me to God and religion. A path I would accept and deny throughout various stages of my life, but ultimately embraced again six months prior to her death and have stayed steady ever since. She loved God and believed in him so much that you couldn’t help be inspired by her faith. She didn’t have an easy life, but she made the most of it.
As an adult, my husband and I made the tough decision to move our family six hours away to another state for employment opportunities. I felt so guilty leaving her and knowing that time was precious. I had left her and taken her great-grandchildren away and it weighed on me heavily. She always made sure to let me know she was proud of me and that we had made a good decision, but it still left a hole in my heart.
She started to show signs of dementia, but after my grandfather passed in 2006, the signs seemed to increase. I think taking care of him had helped her, but without him, she didn’t seem to have a purpose. She stayed near my mom and traveled with her, but she seemed lost those final years.
I remember they took her to the hospital and I rushed to be by her side. When they moved her to hospice that evening, she was very aware of all of us. She had no problems talking to us, knowing our names, and I even Facetimed with my son so they could talk and she could see him. The next day she was in good spirits and we were able to talk more. I cherish that time that we shared in those last moments.
I had to go home for work and to get my daughter, who had traveled with me, back to school. The next few days, my grandmother had slipped into sleeping most of the time and unaware again of her surroundings. I was so grateful for the time I had with her, really with her.
The night of the 17th, my mom called to tell me they thought she was going to pass soon and she wanted me to have a chance to speak to her. They put the phone up to her ear and I could hear her struggling to breathe. I said my goodbyes and told her it was okay to go now and not suffer anymore. Then I heard louder crying and my mom told me she had passed. It was difficult for me to not be there with her and my family.
What made it additionally hard, was that September 19th would have been my first love’s birthday. I had lost him my senior year in a tragic accident. Her death and his birthday are very close to each other as well as her birthday and his date of death on the opposite side of the calendar. So I struggle with feeling a little more emotional each year during that time frame.