I didn’t want to write this today. I didn’t want to sit down and reflect on the past week, even though there is so much grace, love, and gratitude interwoven through the days. And then I saw that today is Gratitude Day, and I knew I needed to share what’s on my heart. And to my sisters (and maybe brothers) in Christ, boy, is there a lot.
On Thursday morning, my sweet Grandmother went home to be with the Lord surrounded by six of her ten children, as well as my sister and I. She had been in the hospital for almost a week, suffering from pneumonia which is something she had overcome about three years prior. But when we learned that she had significant kidney damage and they were functioning at only 15%, my mom and her siblings made the decision to make her as comfortable as possible. My grandmother was an amazing woman who raised ten children primarily on her own while holding down many different jobs over the years. She was known for her quick comebacks, a fierce love for the Carolina Tarheels, and being the sun in which our entire family orbited.
But while we were sad at the loss of our incredible matriarch, there was so much rejoicing in knowing that she was walking in paradise with her Savior. A friend of my sister,who recently lost his own mother, told her once that although they will always miss her, they would never wish her back. Why? Because she has seen Jesus, and why would we want them back on Earth when what she is experiencing is so much better? Those words truly resonated with me and helped with that inital grieving process.
But then Saturday morning came. At 1:45am on Saturday morning, just seven hours or so from my grandmother’s funeral, we were woken in the night at our hotel by one of my aunts to tell us that my sweet Aunt Shelia was not breathing. My Aunt Shelia was staying with her husband and my Aunt Kay at my grandmother’s old house. She wasn’t breathing and EMTs had been working on her for over 10 minutes. We drove the five or so minutes over to the house from the hotel and had to park a block away due to the ambulances, police cars, and fire truck. When I saw the police cars, I think I knew, then as I stepped into the front yard and spotted my Aunt Shelia’s husband in tears and two of my mom’s brothers with him, my heart sank. My mom’s youngest brother, my Uncle Randy came over to my sister and I, since we were walking in front of my parents, and told us that they couldn’t save her. We fell into his arms and I heard my mom say, “no” in such a heartbreaking cry. My aunt had gone to be with the Lord and was reunited with her momma, but so much sooner than any of us could have guessed. We think it was a massive heart attack. She was only 56.
|5 of my Grandma’s 10 children. Aunt Shelia, 2nd from right, next to my Mom|
This may be one of the less peppy Grateful Heart posts that you read today, but make no mistake that although my heart is hurting far worse than I ever thought it could, I am still grateful. I am grateful for the 24 years of laughter and memories with both my Grandmother and my Aunt. I am grateful that my Grandmother was able to go peacefully into the Lord’s embrace. I am grateful for my Uncle Bobby, who showed me faith and a trust in the Lord so deep barely a hour after losing his wife. I am grateful for my family who have made me so proud in the past week. We are strong and we will get through these hard times together. But most of all, I am grateful for a grandmother and an aunt who had given their lives so fully to the Lord, giving me no doubt at all today as to where they are. I love you. I miss you.