I haven't experienced the loss of a loved one in years. Since my childhood, it's been short glimpses back of my grandfathers passing, the final breaths he drew when I watched him suffer in his final weeks. He always called me Lindsay-Lou, and would sing a little jig about how "Lindsay-lou, lost her shoe-didn't know what to do.."
The other I remember, was an elderly woman named Marceline, who was my neighbor growing up, along with her Husband Harold, who is in his mid 90's and has still mowed his yard the last few years and creates beautiful wooden furniture. He made our dining table for us, that we will, of course, always cherish.
Marceline fell on her front steps and it resulted in a head injury that took her to meet Jesus a couple weeks later.
Harold and Marceline would babysit me when I was younger. I'd go over to their home and Marceline would make a homecooked meal, and you could count on her to always have a pie or some sort of dessert too. Harold would light fires in their fireplace and I would watch him build it and enjoy the smokey scent and glowing embers. They harvested green beans, fresh tomatoes and other countless things, including flowers, from their garden. They were truly something special.
And now the time has come that I've said my goodbyes to my sweet Nanaw. Petite, strong willed woman. She worked every day of her life-whether it was in the old shoe factory or at home, serving her family. She wouldn't let you get her a cup of water if you wanted to and you couldn't make her sit down before everyone else even though she had spent all sunday on her feet cooking a big meal for the family. Truly a servant's heart.
When I was a little girl, She would let me comb through her hair, as I played as her beautician, or I would play "operation" on her arm, for "surgery" as she'd sit real still and talk to me while I did what my imaginary mind had made up. I would stay with her for a week some Summers. There wasn't much to do in her small town, but before the sun began to set, we would spend time sitting outside together, maybe even the neighbors would join and we would sit in our lawn chairs or on the yellow metal bench swing, watching the hummingbirds zoom in and out of the yard that was filled with a large garden that she had harvested many veggies, and a cherry tree beside it that many pies were filled with its bearings. We would watch the fireflies come out of hiding, blinking, twinkling. It was a simple time with conversation and sweet silence, just sitting and enjoying the cicada's buzzing and birds beginning to find their slumber.
I have thousands of sweet memories with Nanaw. I'll never forget the time she cried when I was getting ready to marry Matt in a few weeks and packing my things to leave for California. I had never seen her cry like that..and just like her, she tried walking away, but I managed to hold her close.
And that is what I know I'll be thinking of these next few weeks, if not for a long time. Memories of her, the things she said and how she always made me feel loved and cared for- Important.
The last few days before she passed, Nanaw told me she was ready to go. She said " I'm ready, are you?" She told my mom that she was just ready to go to heaven. I could not have asked for more peace and clarity that she had-while my mind was occupied with so much, God did that without me asking. The last week after seeing her, I knew in my spirit it was the last time I'd see her. After more complications and circumstances that we're telling us she didn't have much longer to live-the Holy Spirit was with me, giving me peace and understanding. Knowing that she will be better off, in the arms of Jesus.
My mom called me at 4:30 am yesterday morning, and when I saw I had a voicemail, I knew. I didn't dread it-she passed away peacefully in her sleep and I knew she was with Jesus, just as she had wished for.
So this Mother's Day, will be a bit hard, knowing my Dad and Mom have lost a caring mother, and that my sister and I lost a very special grandmother. I can only take comfort in knowing that while we lost Nanaw for now, she is in Heaven, rejoicing with others she's lost along the way, and probably cracking a joke or two. We know we will one day be together again.
I know without a doubt God has linked us all together-He has made us as beings that need one another. With each one passing, there is so much left behind-the impression on others, the compassion that was shared will be passed down, the things they taught us, will remain with us and will transform us into better people. We will leave behind an imprint one day-I pray that we all think of that-while our Spirits will be elsewhere, what will your imprint be to those that you loved and knew?
I know Nanaws will be here for a long time-shining out love and selflessness.