Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Gift of Time

Our visit was precious, wonderful and worth every tear.

It was goodbye. Hugs, tears and death bed promises asked and made. She told me to be a "good grandma" one day so I can be as lucky as her. She reminded me of how blessed I am with the family I have. She held my sister and I close and shed tears of grief of the loss about to come, and tears of joy for all we have shared together.

We laughed. We giggled. We ate. We cried. We reminisced. We sang. We listened. We talked.
We played crib. She skunked me. Twice.
We prayed.
She is ready to see heaven, but I am not ready to let her go. This dance of letting go and holding on is tragic. Brutal. Heart breaking. And at the same time, beautiful.

Beautiful to have a chance to celebrate her life with her while she is still aware of what she means to us, and us to her. Beautiful to KNOW that this time I have a chance to say what I need to.

To say good bye. Thank You. I love you. You have taught me all you needed to teach me. I will be ok. I will keep your legacy going. I will never forget you. Your memory is alive with me. It's ok, you don't need to be afraid.
All those the words I whispered in her ear, while inside I was screaming "Not Yet! Please God. Please Nan, NOT YET! You might be ready, but I am not. I need you, please, I need you. I need you as you were. I need your advice, your wisdom, your unconditional love. I need my Nan."
But she is not who she was. She suffers now and wants to go home. To see her daughter, grand daughter, husband, mother, sisters and brothers, friends and her Savior who wait for her. She talks of the curtain she dreams about with the light behind it. Of pulling back that curtain and not being able to see out it yet, but knowing its beautiful and bright. She wants to go. And I hold tight to the memory of the time when she was fully present and I celebrate that. Because I love her, I tell her what she needs to hear. It's ok to go. We will be ok. But I wonder.

And the present calls me back and I watch my sons gently show her love while she so gently offers it in return. I want them to remember her. Her little parties, their sleepovers at her house. The $5 that came in the mail for "an ice cream with your mom" every few months. The card games she so patiently taught, and then lost, for their sake. Her pictures of them that invariably had a thumb in the middle. Her legacy of college funds for each of the 8 great grandsons saved out of her own self sacrifice. She has loved them all. Equally treasuring them and honoring them. For Tanner's gentle nature. Eric's beautiful smile. Greg's love of hockey. Caden's love to snuggle. She is a GREAT, Great-Grandma. And she is so loved.

She is not a perfect woman. She made mistakes. She has had a very hard life full of losses that I can't imagine surviving. But she is my Nan and I love her.

Life without her presence is unimaginable. If one day I am as precious to my grandchildren as she is to me I will truly be a successful woman in the only way that matters.


Anonymous said...

jen- those pics of nan are so precious. you are blessed to have had her all these years- her strength and beauty of spirit and deep, constant love. what a treasured saint she is! hugs to you my friend as you walk this path and face another "cup of tear soup".

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post about a beautiful woman, your Nan! Thank you for sharing a little of her with us. And Jen, you already are a successful woman in the only way that matters.

Vanessa said...

I'll be praying for you and your family as you prepare to face such a great loss in your lives!! May God comfort you now that you have said goodbye to your Nan and she knows how much she means to you! She will go with the Lord in peace one day with a beautiful smile because of having someone wonderful as you in her life!!

Di said...

Jen, thank you for sharing your precious story. You truly will be o.k. because you will always have her in your heart. The boys will come up with "nanisims" at unexpected times and you will KNOW that they have her in their hearts too. And one day in the far future you will hug her once again and heaven will be a great time of reunion. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...


I could not get through the whole blog about your grandmother. I will go back and read it when I can...because the loss of my grandmother is still fresh and raw even 3 years after she passed...I was crying on my birthday this month because I missed her so and didnt think it was fair to have another birthday without her present with me.

What beautiful beautiful photos of the woman who loves you unconditionally as you love her....grandmothers are very very special beings God places in our life.

Now let me suck it up and read the blog, as I only read the first paragraph and viewed the beautiful photos of your grandmother.


OpenAdoptMomof3 said...

Crying now... what an awesome way with words you have - conveying the loss and celebration that together help us say goodbye. I'm so glad you got to say what you wanted to say and that you have no doubts your Nan knew how much she meant to you. She surely was a special person!