Where She Lived Last

Where She Lived Last

Last week, I came across a blog post that Rory Feek had written and shared about a visit he and his daughter had made back to Indiana for the first time since his wife, Joey Feek, passed from cancer back in March. The strength and faith that these two exhibited touched so many all around the world. As I read Rory’s post, I was struck when he shared something that his father-in-law said when they went back to Joey’s childhood home and the place where she passed away.

Then we all went across the pond and Bill opened up the house for us that we had stayed in while we were there those last few months in Indiana.   Joey’s daddy had come to that house often he said.   Most days he stops by and just sits outside.  “This is where I feel Joey the most”, he told us, ‘…where she lived last”.   But he’d not been inside since that day in March when his daughter left us, exactly three months before.

It’s amazing sometimes to think about the things that tie us to certain places. When a particular place is full of happy memories, going back and reminiscing is a joyful thing. When a place is marked with sadness, we want to block it from our lives and memories completely. When it comes to losing someone so precious to us, I think we sometimes feel a little of both sides. On the one hand, the places where our loved ones left this earth is marked with an unimaginable sadness because they are no longer with us but on the other, we can be filled with joy that this was where they lived last and went to go be with the Lord.

I found myself struck by Joey’s father’s description of the home as “where she lived last.” Back in September, when my family lost my grandmother and my aunt less than 48 hours apart, so much of this little North Carolina town became marked with a wide range of emotions and memories. This town, barely a blip on the map and so easy to pass right through, was a place that held so many of my happiest childhood (and young adult) memories. But now, this hospital that was a few miles down the road became the place where my grandmother breathed her last. This exit off Interstate 85, one that we never really had to take to get where we were headed, was the place where we lived as we prepared ourselves for her passing. My grandmother’s home, where I had spent many a weekend and holiday with my family, became the place where my aunt left this earth in the middle of night, just a few hours before her mother’s funeral….

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Happy Birthday, Grandmommy

Happy Birthday, Grandmommy!

Today is your 90th birthday, and although I wish so desperately that you were here to celebrate with us, I know you are having the time of your life where you are. Last year, on your 89th birthday, we celebrated with a party at the rehab center with family and friends. We had cake, shared laughs, and celebrated the amazing life that you lived. I’m sure you even managed to tell a few people that I was your youngest grandchild and how I went to Appalachian and became a teacher. You so loved to tell everyone that.

Happy Birthday

You are still with us everyday, Grandma. You’re with me in the way that I laugh; the kind of laugh that takes over your whole body. You’re with us when we’re cheering on your beloved Tarheels. I can picture it like it was yesterday. The way you’d be sitting on our front porch when you used to drive down to visit. You’d usually get there before Mom could bring us home from school and there you were, perched on the steps and waving those Carolina pom-poms so enthusiastically. And you’re with me every day because of the mother that you were. Thank you for raising the amazing woman that I call my momma.

We miss you more than words can express, but we know that you are finally walking and experiencing true paradise in Heaven. You’ve been able to see your parents, your brothers, and your little girl, Aunt Shelia. Although I never thought, when we were celebrating your 89th, that we wouldn’t have you here to celebrate your 90th, I can’t say that there is anything that I wish we’d done differently.

Happy Birthday

You were there for so much of my childhood. Dance recitals, birthdays, and so much more. You might not have been able to make it to my high school graduation because of your stroke a few months prior, but you watched me graduate from college thanks to internet live streams. I so cherished the short visits that I would have with you when I would drive through on my way home from Raleigh. Even if it was just five minutes, you never minded and I loved seeing you break out into that smile when you saw me walking in the room. You would even try and bribe me with candy to get me to stay longer sometimes.

So Happy Birthday, Grandmommy. I love you, I miss you, and I thank God for your love and presence in my life every day.

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