“You have fifteen minutes.”
I cross the threshold and throw down carry-on and run for the shower to wash off the residue of airports and airplanes… And then I emerge to run around the house with cuffs unbuttoned, nibbling Rosemary and Olive Triscuits– my substitute for lunch.
But still this isn’t real.
When I left, my little grandmother was tired. But she was alive…
. . . .
In this house, my mama is the Queen.
So my abuelita was the Queen Mother.
And sometime while I was guiding blind campers through the locker rooms at a swimming pool in Hellen Keller’s hometown in Alabama, she went to her rest.
So, Sabbath a few hours gone, I sat and watched the morning born out a window over the left wing.
And then landed in Albuquerque hours later, a few minutes before my cousin, inbound for the same reason.
But still, it wasn’t real.
It wasn’t real until I walked into the little church and saw her pretty face, all full of peace.
And I was washed over with gratitude…
Because though many call this nightfall, I think of it as just the moment before dawn.
Her night– al chained in by the blackness of a world increasingly impossible for her to understand–
That night is over.
So even while tears washed the piano keys, and I groaned for grace to keep going– happy that everyone was singing and my back was to them all…
Even when, after all the nearest and dearest of our friends had mingled tears with ours, wet our shoulders and let us wet theirs,
Even when they were gone and I knelt before the open casket gripping the side with one hand, and stroking her little, cold, white one with my other– shaking with sobs…
Even then, through tears I could only repeat one thing.
Thank You, Jesus…
Thank you for those little hands. Those hands that would reach around me from behind and suggest chords and harmonies when I was sitting at the piano pecking out compositions… That musical mastermind that always insisted I nail the progression without compromise, and would cheer and clap with glee when I did. She, with the equivalent of a Doctorate in music from the most prestigious conservatory in her homeland, the composure of unnumbered ballads; I, the upstart child that tried…
Thank You, Jesus.
For the gift she drove home for me, starting before I even knew my own name… By her endless creativity, her bottomless passion–
The gift of love for beautiful things.
Butterflies. And flower petals. And shimmering plumage. And harmonies just, just so.
And symmetry, and color, and shades and songs, and sunsets.
She’s why I’m drawn right into the heart of a flower the size of your headphone jack.
And she’s one of the great reasons I’m drawn right into the heart of God Whose idea beauty was [is!] in the first place…
Thank You, Jesus.
The Queen Mother sleeps.
June 25, 2012 at 11:53 pm
June 26, 2012 at 2:09 am
*Hugs* God is there shedding tears with you. So sorry for your loss. Such a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. 🙂 Please give your family each a hug for me.
June 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm
"…the moment before the dawn.", yes. Yes.
Your words, all of them, are so achingly beautiful…
I can't begin to imagine your pain… But please know that I'm praying for each of you…
June 28, 2012 at 3:23 am
you brought tears to my eyes
June 29, 2012 at 3:36 am
Oh Sean–I'm so sorry. I lost my grandpa just a few months ago. I understand all the mixed feelings–it hurts so, so much, yet there is such peace in knowing that they are safe. The devil can't touch them any more, and the next thing they will see is the face of Jesus. No more night, no more pain, no more tears, never crying again…
June 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm
Heaven will be a wonderful place!
June 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm
Thank you for sharing, brother. A few weeks ago we buried my father-in-law. I empathize with you. We have hope. Thank you, Jesus.
August 4, 2012 at 11:43 am
Sean, I just saw this blog page… I can't imagine losing someone that dear. I never have. When my grandfather died I hadn't seen him since I was about 9. I cried for the relationship I'd hardly gotten to have with him. When my father's step mother died… it was another again. When my FIL died… I cried for my husband and his family but I'd never really gotten to know him. May God continue to give you strength as you miss her.
November 22, 2012 at 5:45 am
I know I was late in reading your post. But this is the second time my eyes filled with tears this week, from reading a blog post. (the first time was from reading Natasha's post.) We almost lost our Grandma last December. And my Uncles Dad passed away this summer too. When they have a large part in helping you to see Gods Love it's even harder to see them go.
But Praise the Lord that "We have this Hope"!
I would like to meet your Queen Mother in Heaven!
May God comfort your family.
November 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm
Thank you Heidi… Yes, hope is our prison. And Heaven is our home… God is gracious.