It has been almost a year, but I remember it like it was yesterday. My mom walked quickly into my office. There has only been a handful of times when my mother did not seem glad to see me. It has been a staple of my life. Whenever I came home from school, she seemed glad. Later when I would come home for a visit, she still brimmed with that same excitement.
But this day was different. On this day, there was a sense of dread mixed with deep sadness. Without a offering a greeting, she said with a cracked voice, “They have asked us to come to the hospital. Mamaw is not going to make it.” As the words left her mouth and landed on my heart, the room started spinning. I did not have time to reflect, because all I wanted to do was run.
Time to reflect would come later, however, as my grandmother held on. Nearly a month went by as she lay motionless in her hospital bed. It seemed that she fought for every breath, and it seemed that any moment could be the last.
It has been almost a year, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember her tireless smile. With the exception of times spent at two funerals (that of her husband and later her son), she never stopped smiling. She had a contagious joy that I have often prayed to acquire. I remembered the blankets she made. With the birth of a new child in her family or church family, she presented them with a blanket, formed from the labor of her own arthritis infected hands.
What I remember most was the singing, always and forever singing. It was the authentic singing of faith performed for an audience of one. I know this because my grandmother was hard of hearing. So when I visited, she never heard me coming. Over time I came to appreciate this fact, because every time I walked in her house, she was looking out some window and singing some song. The songs of faith that colored her life have now become memories that shaped my experience of her death.
It has been almost a year, but I miss her like it was yesterday. But the sense of loss I feel is not a sense of eternal loss. Mamaw lived by faith without sight, but almost a year ago her faith became sight, as Jesus welcomed her home. So, the loss I feel is a temporary loss, for one day my faith will be sight, and we will gather together to worship the one who makes all things new.
It is funny that on a week when the Supreme Court of the United States sought to make it easier to take innocent life in the womb; I grieve the loss of one whose body awaits Jesus in the tomb.
It has been almost a year, but we are moving toward a time when the past and the present will be joined into an eternal “now.” Today I may grieve, but I will grieve as one who has not lost hope.