In Weed it storms sideways. The horizontal rain and the biting wind made it feel like a cold November morning at the Weed Cemetery where we buried my Grandma Ruth's ashes today. We stood, the entire (minus just a few that we missed dearly!) family, and remembered Grandma. We sang "Til The Storm Passes By," a song my grandma loved in the past few months, while she fought her last battle with cancer, that speaks of Jesus keeping his children safe in the hollow of his hand til the storm passes by. Uncle David explained how even after she couldn't sing the words, grandma would make a motion with her fingers in the palm of her hand, to symbolize being in the hollow of God's hand. As the storm hovered around us, I realized how strong grandma's testimony was, among other things, in this moment especially in this: this is just a storm in our lives, and just like He did with grandma, He will keep us safe until it's over!
Grandma died last Sunday night. When I found out I curled up on my bed and laid there for a long time, trying to process it without being home. I felt numb, like it had not really happened. I knew it was coming, but anticipating it did not make the news any easier to hear. As the realization of what life without grandma would mean sunk in, I began to let my emotions overflow into tears. That next week was hard. It was my busiest of the quarter so far with school and work, and my heart was in nothing. I took a midterm, but thought about grandma the whole time. I drove home on Thursday night. I should have known not to start listening to worship music, because it drove me to tears pretty quick. Somehow Death Cab and Matt Nathanson don't have that same effect - unless it's What Sarah Said, which I skipped over a few times in shuffle, I don't think I could have handled that one. The last line in What Sarah Said says, "love is watching someone die, so who's gonna watch you die?" Thinking about this, I realize how much grandma was loved, because she was surrounded by her children and grandchildren when she took her last breath. That comforts me quite a bit.
When I walked into grandma's house for the first time since she died, everything felt normal... but empty. When I rounded the corner and saw her green chair, where I was so accustomed to seeing her sit when I walked through the door, I bit my lip and my eyes welled up. Our family is missing the two people who started it all, and it seems to me our whole family's identity was wrapped up in grandpa and grandma... without them it seems abandoned. I know that isn't true, though. Grandpa and grandma taught us to stake our identity in Christ, and they were faithful in laying a strong foundation for us.
The memorial is over and grandma is buried now. Sometimes I think this is the hardest time, when you have to stare reality in the face. Real life floods back in, and can't be stopped. What would Grandma say, though? I can even hear her voice saying it, "well, we just have to trust God." And so, I am going to trust God.
Of course, I'm only sad for me, because grandma is in heaven with Jesus, and that must be so satisfying to her! When someone asked her if she was ready see grandpa and Uncle Ernie, she responded, "I'm ready to see my Savior!" She is experiencing what Christians on earth are working toward and longing for!
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
-1 Thessalonians 4:13-18