Sunday, September 13, 2009


1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Thursday afternoon as I was sitting in the dentist's chair waiting for some cement to harden, I pulled out my phone and saw that I had a new voicemail from my mother. I listened to it and knew that something was wrong. When they finally released me, I called her back and she told me.

My grandmother had a massive stroke.

The doctors gave little hope for recovery and the family was gathering from across the country. I took L to her first dance class and the car to get an oil change and a new battery. We went home, quickly threw some clothes and schoolbooks in the car, and the girls and I left for Texas. We drove late into the night, stopped for a few hours halfway to sleep, then came on the rest of the way, going straight to the hospital.

The hospital waiting area was crowded with family members. Friday night, all day Saturday. People who were directly and indirectly related. People who were related to people who had married into our family. A close-knit community of small-town life and generations who have stayed nearby. Everyone came to say good-bye.

We waited Friday night as more tests were given. We grieved Saturday morning when we were told that my grandmother's brain had been completely disabled. That the knowledge and memories that made her her were gone. We cried and told stories during the day as we waited just 24 hours more to make sure.

This morning, we gathered once again at her bedside. The machines were disconnected, she was moved to a private room, and we each said our good-byes waiting for the end. Without the tubes and the ventilator, she simply lay in her bed asleep. Snoring, which made me smile. Grandmother always snored.

K understood what was happening, though she this is her first real experience watching death. She is quiet and introspective. This morning, L broke from her play long enough to see the tears around her. She climbed up in my lap and asked many questions. What was happening to Grandmother? What happens when she dies? How will she get to heaven? How long will she stay? What will she eat?

We talked at length about how sad it makes us to see her die and how much we will miss her, but Grandmother knows and loves Jesus. Her soul will go to heaven and there she will be happy and healthy. She will see her mother and her brother, but most importantly she will see Jesus face-to-face. There will be a huge welcome home party where all of her old friends and family who also trusted Jesus will be waiting to celebrate with her. Grandmother will walk the streets of gold. She'll eat fruit from the trees beside the river. Her house on earth is old and falling apart, but in heaven she has a beautiful big mansion waiting.

At that, L stared at me and asked, "So God said her mansion is ready?"

That's right, honey, her mansion is ready and God is calling her, saying it is time.

Right now, we still wait. My grandmother was a strong lady and her body is fighting death, but her heart is slowing and her breathing becomes more shallow. It is hard, this death vigil, however I know that God has a purpose for it. Perhaps a heart is changing, a perspective is shifting.

Perhaps there's one more piece of silver that must be installed in her mansion.



Jess said...

i love you. i'm sorry. isn't it awful when the pain makes us write the most beautiful things (like this post?)...

thank you for starting my week of with His perspective. i am praying for you.


Heather said...

V, I am so sorry to hear about your Grandmother. It sounds as though she was quite the character from some of your other blogs, and I'm sure Heaven will brighten even more because of her.