Thursday, October 16, 2014

Saying Good-Bye To Granny

Today begins the process of officially saying good bye to one of my most favorite people in the whole world. It's not going to be easy to say the least.
When I first met Granny, to be honest, I was a little afraid. I guess back in the day, she was pretty blunt, so I think I must of kind of tried to avoid her just to avoid feeling awkward if she did happen to say anything. Sam and I had just started dating and since he was my first boyfriend, I was a little insecure how this whole "meeting the family" thing worked. Plus, in the spirit of being honest like I like to do on this blog :) I thought the name "Granny" was weird. What's wrong with Grandma? Why Granny? And what was I supposed to call her? She wasn't my Granny! Oh how that has all changed. I don't even know where to start. Guess you'll have to forgive my ramblings.
Granny was just Granny. She was Granny to everyone, not just those related by blood to her. Someone commented that they didn't even know her real name until a while after they met her. She was just "Granny"to everyone. That's how she liked it, and it just seem to fit. 
There are so many things I am going to miss about Granny. My world will take a while to readjust to be "normal" without her in it. Looking back, of course, I wish I would have made more of an effort to see her and be with her and just soak up her goodness but that is my own feeling, not anything she made me feel. She would always tell me something to the effect of "I'm so glad you are here and of course I love our visits, but I know you are a busy momma, so don't you worry about this old granny." We would walk around and she would show me her gazillions of flowers. Several years ago, I got a mandevilla flower and planted it in my big pot out front. I just thought it looked neat and didn't think too much of it. Granny, however, had never heard of it (shockingly!!) and loved it too. The next summer she told me she had bought one too and had planted it by her mailbox and let it trail up the post. She was pretty excited this last summer because she had kept it over the winter and planted it again and it was beautiful. Then there's me-I kill plants by looking at them I swear, let alone keep them alive over the winter and expect them to bloom in the summer! I would tease her about her green thumb compared to my black one, and she would say, "it's not a green thumb, it's just LOTS of years of experience". Several weeks ago, shortly after her diagnosis, we were in Garny for a birthday party and my heart just wasn't in the party. There were lots of people there, so I snuck out and went for some quiet time with Granny. After I finished sobbing all over her (several times), and calmed down a bit, we were chatting and she told me that she wanted me to have her mandevilla. Our conversation went something like this:
 "Granny! I can't take that! What if I kill it?!?!?! You know me and plants! My heart couldn't handle it if I killed your mandevilla!"
"You aren't going to kill it!"
"But what if I do?!"
You know how when you are having a conversation with someone and they say something that makes you kind of stop suddenly and think…did they really just say that? I had one of those moments at that point because Granny looked at me, smiled and "If you do, I'm not going to know and I'm not going to care!" I just had to laugh. Oh Granny. Still makes me smile when I think about it.
I haven't been around a whole lot of people who are close to dying, but the peace that Granny had was surreal almost. She knew she had this tumor and she was adamant that she did not want another surgery. Therefore, she knew she was going to die. And yet, she was the one comforting me! Anyone that was ever around Granny knew of her love for her Lord. She knew that death for her meant finally meeting The One that she spent so much of her life serving, The One who gave His all when he died for us. I knew there was a verse in the Bible about letting your light shine, but I couldn't remember the whole thing. When I found it, I found that it sums up Granny's life perfectly. 
      Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven. Matthew 5:16
Granny's life was definitely a light shining forth. It wasn't because of her good works, or the fact that she was a good person, or that she had decided to love Jesus. No, it was because Granny came to the saving knowledge that she was a sinner and as such, she needed that salvation that only the Lord Jesus Christ could offer. She would tell you it wasn't anything she had done, but all what He had done for her. That light she offered was so that others would see it and want what she had-the perfect knowledge that her sins were gone and she was going to Heaven when she died. And what a light she had. I had to try really hard to think of a time when she was even the slightest bit cross, and even then I don't think it was cross so much as it was a little frustrated. She was always smiling, especially when she was around people. She was such a people person. She loved to encourage others with just a small word and seemed to know exactly what I needed to hear. There were times where she would tell me stories about raising her kids that sounded just like my kids.  It was usually a way to encourage me-as in I've been there, done that, I know exactly how you feel. She would be honest in that sometimes she didn't handle things right, etc, but I always felt better after having talked to her. That's not to say she wasn't slightly biased. She would always tease me that her precious little darlings would NEVER do anything to make a mommy frustrated. She liked to say how cute and precious they were. I would tease her that she just *might* be a slight bit biased to which she would reply "It's not biased! It's the truth!" :) She just loved them so much. The feelings were very much reciprocated. Kai would learn his verse for sunday school and then say "I gotta tell Gwanny my vurse, K Mom?"and she loved hearing him say it just as much as he loved telling her. Of course, that made him the brilliant as well as adorable in her eyes. :) My Darren boy adored Granny. He's taken her death hardest of any of my kids. Darren is the kind of kid that if he loves you, he REALLY loves you, and if not, well….he isn't going to give you hugs or anything like that, so you might as well not try. He loved going to visit Granny. The seemingly never-ending supply of oreos in her cupboard helped :) but he always loved to find her at meeting and stuff and say hi and give her a hug. When I told him that Granny was sick and going to die, he of course cried. "It's not fair Mommy! I don't want her to die! I want her here!" When I told him that she was ready and that she had lived a long time and was happy, he asked how old she was. I told him she was 87 to which his response was more tears and "Mommy! That's not old! She's not even close to 100!" Made me smile, even thru the tears.
Sam's cousin Allison said something on Facebook that made me smile too. She made mention of the "I don't care how old you are, come over here so I can give you a kiss" kiss. Summed it up perfect Allison!
Granny and I loved going to Thoma's (the little restaurant in Garnavillo) for shrimp. Seriously, they have AWESOME shrimp there. We would go and get shrimp and milkshakes. She told me once that she wasn't sure if we could be friends if I didn't like coffee milkshakes but she guessed she could overlook that slight flaw of mine. 
I think of the things that we are ALL going to miss about Granny is her prayers. I know for a fact that this person was a prayer WARRIOR. My friend Becky summed it up well in her blog post about Granny (click here to read the whole post) when she said

"And this woman is the epitome of a prayer warrior.  If she says she is praying for you, then she is.  If you know her personally then it is safe to say she has spent time bringing you before the throne of Heaven." 

There would be times when I would just feel so overwhelmed with Kai or Claire's issues or even other things, and I would send her a quick email or a message asking her to pray for me in regards to such and such and I KNOW that she would. Like Becky said, if she said she is praying for you, then she is. 
This morning, I came to work in the dark and the little office I sit in faces the sunrise. I watched it this morning thinking of Granny and wondering if they can see the sunrise in Heaven. I know it says that there is no need for the sun there and as I watched it, I just started thinking about how absolutely breathtaking the scenery is there. The beautiful sunrise here on earth is nothing compared to what she is experiencing there. Singing was always her thing. She LOVED hearing people sing, and I smile thinking about how beautiful angel songs must be. I picture here there, holding hands with her "honey" as she called him :) and singing along. 
So many things about the woman and her life and our relationship together have made me smile. I just needed to get all these memories out to remind myself mostly that it's ok to be sad and it's ok to miss her, but to not dwell on the sadness and loss. She wouldn't want that. I want to remember her smile and her laugh and all of the good times. I am going to miss you Granny, more than I can possibly imagine. Birthday parties, holidays, visits to Garnavillo just won't be the same. I will miss seeing you smile when Kai see you and waves at you in meeting. I will miss your encouragement and when you call me "my tiff". I will miss asking you all my flower questions and eating shrimp. I will miss you, just being you. I am so blessed to have been part of your life and have you be part of mine. I will see you again. Until then, I love you~

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