We pause outside the door. She takes a deep breath, and I follow her inside.
The hum and hiss of oxygen greets us. We remove our shoes and step into the living room.
As a little girl growing up, you never expect to see your sweet Granny slowly slipping toward her eternal home. The Granny in your heart and memory races to the tree and teaches you to make butterscotch pie. She sips Ovaltine and offers you a glass – and a meal – every time you visit.
On our last visit, we looked at photo album after photo album, Granny narrating, detailing each picture – the who, the where, and the what. Her short-term memory may have been slipping, but she her long-term recall was sharp. The walk down memory lane was good for all our hearts as Granny and granddaughter continually lookeed into one another’s eyes and smiled.
They are deeply connected.
Now, Granny sleeps peacefully in her recliner. Dressed in a purple floral shirt and hunter green pants, fuzzy socks keeping her feet warm. Her appearance is slowly changing as her earthly body gives in to the disease inside.
She takes a seat by her Granny, covering her hands with her own. She gently wakes her. After a few moments, Granny face registers her visitor…
My little Jenny.
Jen smiles and jokes that she’s not so little anymore. Granny smiles and pats her hands…then her face.
The conversation is minimal. How are you feeling? I am ok. I am tired. Are you cold? No. I am warm. Are you thirsty? Want some 7UP? I guess that would be ok. That would be nice.
And so for the next hour they sit hand in hand. Granny and her little Jenny. Jen handing tissues and helping her as she coughs. I sit quietly in a nearby rocking chair. Tears in my eyes.
It’s a gift to watch them love one another.
She gets her Granny’s well-worn Bible and begins reading Psalm 103 aloud…
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
Granny drifts off to sleep. Other visitors come and go. It’s time for us to leave too.
She leans in close to say goodbye; Granny turns her head toward her granddaughter’s voice and listens intently.
She slowly lifts her hand, placing it on Jen’s face. A visible change comes over Granny’s face. Her posture even changes. With purpose and adoration she says…
I have always loved you, Jenny.
Awe, I love you too, Granny.
As her aunt takes Granny to the bathroom, we say goodbye.
I’ll be back to see you tomorrow, Granny.
Ok, Jenny. You be careful.
Something inside us both feels the weight of Granny’s goodbye. It feels final.
We were right.
Less than 48 hours later, Jen returned to Granny’s bedside. Except for a few hours, she never left.
Sweet Granny took one final breath this morning. Daughters and granddaughter by her side. Her earthly struggle no more. No more suffering.
Now dancing with Jesus.
I visited Granny four times, including yesterday. She would pat my face and tell me that I was a pretty girl with the prettiest brown eyes. I loved being in her presence. I always thought…it’s like meeting an angel on earth. I was honored to meet her – even for a little while. And I am blessed to walk alongside her granddaughter, my best friend.
I ache for “little Jenny” today as she says goodbye. We hurt when those we love hurt. Please join me in praying for this sweet family as they say goodbye and honor their Granny…
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the years Granny spent on this earth, your beloved servant. We know you saw each day as she loved her family well…every meal she prepared, every tear she wiped, every heart she loved. She exemplified the gentle and quiet spirit of one who loved you deeply.
As you met her face to face this morning, we know she heard: Well-done, good and faithful servant. Welcome, my beloved. And while we rejoice with the angels at her homecoming, we are simply sad. We will miss her loving words and pats on the cheek. We will miss her steadfast care and heart of gold. We will miss our wife, momma, granny, sister, great-granny, and friend.
Lord be near her family and friends as they say goodbye today and over the next few days. We pray you hold them in your hand, giving them strength to do all that comes in honoring her life. In life and now in death, we are confident in the power of YOUR great LOVE. Hold us, Lord. Today and always. In Your precious Son’s name we pray, Amen.