Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 11, 2012 in Retrospect

As I sat with my grandma on June 11 2012 I searched through her Bible, which she had got in 1982. The Bible I held in my hand was older then I was and for a moment I felt connected to my grandma in a whole new way. I sat there and read some of the notes she had wrote throughout the years and it brought me back to conversations we had together. I had hoped to sit and read to her but she wanted to rest.

Time passed by and I continued to search for a verse that could bring her peace as she lay still wincing in pain, but nothing seemed like the right words. I knew that there were some verses dealing with death in 1 Thessalonians so I attempted to search for the one I was thinking of. Moments later things took a turn and my attention immediately shifted to my grandma. At 4:16 my grandma would take her last breath. I sat there and held her hand remembering one of the verses that I always had fit her life so well. The verse is 1 John 4:16, which says, 
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." 
I couldn't think of a better verse to explain how my grandma lived her life. She loved the Lord with her entire heart. Even as she fought cancer she never stopped believing in His love and grace. She was a witness to the love of Christ and she had no fear of sharing His love to anyone she came in contact with.

Later that day on the train, I decided to look at 1 Thessalonians 4:16. I felt like her time of death had to have a meaning of some kind. I read what the verse said and also read the ones above and below. I was very surprised to read what verses 13-18 said. 
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words." 
These verses filled my heart with more hope then I have had in months, probably since before my dad passed away. I suddenly felt at ease and could start to process what had taken place not only on this day but every day since December 23, 2010.

I began contemplating life and once again death, however, this time I wasn't as scared. I knew I had been through something difficult and sitting here today I know that it will still be difficult the days that follow. But in retrospect no matter how hard it all was I wouldn't have changed a thing. I can now say that without a doubt, in my situations,  knowing death may occur at any point is much easier then not knowing. I am so thankful that I had the chance to spend the day with my grandma and say everything I said, especially how much I loved her. I am thankful that I had the strength in me to finally listen to the songs played at my fathers service for the first time since that day knowing that they were my grandmas favorite songs. I am thankful she was surrounded by family and love because I know how much pain it brought her knowing my father was alone.

Last but not least, I am thankful God gave me another look at death. A friend mentioned that to me the other day and as I began thinking about it I realized how much truth that statement held. When my dad passed away I was in so much pain and felt so much regret at the things left unsaid. I questioned if I could have done more or should have been there to help him. Like my grandma, l was upset that I wasn't there for him when he needed someone most. The worst part of it all was the fear I lived with for a very long time. The fear that someone else in my life would quickly be taken from me. The fear that I would come home to another note on the door. I was living a lot of aspects of life in fear of what could possibly occur. I had lost all trust with life and I think I even lost some faith in the process of death. I also was unsure how to move on with my life. I felt like I was leaving way too much behind me and that without my dad it wasn't right to move forward.

Moving forward, although hard, has been exactly what I needed. I needed to learn to find happiness again, true happiness. My grandma would tell me all the time that my dad was happy and that he had waited a long time to finally be with his dad. Recently, it hit me that it was selfish of me to be upset and not move forward with my life. My dad never got to have time with his dad that every child truly deserves to have. So, as my grandmas time came near I knew that all I needed to do was reassure her that she could go home. I told her over and over that it was okay and that it was her time to go. As she gasped for air I felt like I could see what was happening. Of all the people in the room I had a huge smile on my face. It felt wrong but I couldn't stop smiling. Her blue eyes stared into mine and she was beaming. Although she wanted to keep fighting she also knew what was in front of her. I wanted her to be free of cancer, free of the burden of carrying a disease that took so much and ultimately free of pain. As I held her hand she would squeeze strongly and I felt her security. That security will never leave me.

It may sound weird to hear me say that I am thankful for a second look at death and it may not be something most people say. However, after the darkness I have lived through since my dad passed, it was pretty amazing to see so much light surround a death. My grandma knew where she was headed, I know where she is and that made everything that much easier. I saw her strength until the end and I know that she lived her life giving everything she possibly could. She had a great life and I feel honored to have been apart of it. Her life is a testimony to the faith and trust one should have, as well as, the love one can have for the Lord. She is amazing in my eyes and I only hope to be as good of a person as she was. Makes perfect sense why my dad was the person he was. They were so much a like. Their hearts and passion for caring for others was always first before all else.

I now have two amazing angels and with them by my side I feel like I can do anything. I feel like I have so much strength carrying me down my life path. I'm not sure where I am headed but I know there is something special ahead. I know with God and my two angels directing my life the possibilities are endless. My life has meaning, your life has meaning and together we can make someone else's life have meaning. We also have the ability to change lives for the better one day at a time. Smile and be thankful for what you do have and try to make the best out of every situation that presents itself. Even in the darkness lies little holes of light and as time passes the world won't seem so dark anymore. The important thing is never give up and never stop fighting!

"To breathe is a hope that we would live for one more second. To pray is a hope that He will watch us for some more time. And to live is a hope that we will keep the lamp of hope kindled."

With Love,

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