Goodbye Sun, Greetings Death


My training trip to Tampa was postponed indefinitely due to a death in the family. My grandmother of 77 ended her fight with cancer and went home to Jesus two weeks ago.

I flew home to Michigan to be with family. When I arrived, she was still alive, though not cognizant. Hospice was handling her; they placed her in a bed in the living room. It was rough. They did the best they could, providing powerful pain medicine, and kept her pretty sedated, but it was still rough seeing her in such a state. During the day a large group of us kept vigil around her, entertaining ourselves as best we could. At night, it was a much more intimate group composed of my parents, one of my uncles, and me.

On Tuesday night my parents and I were sitting downstairs. I could tell my parents were exhausted. The edges were beyond frayed, and they were emotionally spent. My uncle had gone home for the night; Jean and he decided my grandmother might be holding out for our expense, and they thought if grandma had a nice quiet night to herself, she might go. I read for grandma from Romans 8, and prayed for her with Jean. Then I said goodnight, and my dad and I went upstairs, he to sleep, I to read.

A few hours later Jean came up announcing she had passed. I went downstairs and saw a newly made corpse, for the first time in my life. It was strange. Just moments before, a soul had fluttered strongly in that body – now there was but silence; an eerie silence that made me uncomfortable to remain alone with the body. My parents came downstairs shortly, and for one hour we had our last goodbyes, and then things got crazy.

I honored my grandmother’s wishes and performed ½ of the funeral, including singing (yes, I sang How Great Thou Art, bellowing as well as my choked voice could handle); I also delivered a eulogy celebrating the love my grandmother showed to children and adults alike. She was a special woman, loving to play games; who could laugh deep and loud, and whose smile was powerfully efficacious. She taught me to play the only version of Rummy I know; she let us use her trailer for several summers of joyous camping trips; and when I came home for holiday to visit, she was always downstairs and ready for a conversation and update of all my recent travels.

She will be missed greatly. I was grateful I went home to say my goodbyes. And as a final gift, her passing altered my schedule, allowing me to come to Phoenix. It would not surprise me in the least if she delayed her going to allow her grandson to visit a new place. Thanks, grandma.

Your nurse and friend, Carol, said you had a strong heart – we knew that for a long time. Thanks for everything, grandma, and may our Christ perfect His love in all of us.

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 4:52 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. Thanks for sharing, Scott! I missed you while you were gone from Seattle. I got news earlier today that my grandma passed away early this morning and I’ll be back in Michigan to be with family for the service this weekend… the day before Easter

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