Saturday, September 11, 2010

my Granny

To be honest, after this week I hardly know where to start my blog post. So many conflicted emotions, so much inside and yet words seem incapable of describing it.

On September 9th at 12:05 PM, my dear sweet Granny's long silenced voice was finally restored. She was freed from her earthly body and the Alzheimer's that had slowly imprisoned her in her own body, into the presence of the Savior she loved to sing praises to. I really feel that she is where my deep love for music must have come from because I remember growing up she was always singing or humming. In fact I think I've sort of picked up her funny little habit of humming what seemed to be a random tune she would make up on the spot. In the beginning of this long goodbye I remember how special it was to take her to church and hear her still belting out hymns even though she was already forgetting who I was standing beside her.

I remember sitting in the bathroom one night when I was staying with her a couple of years ago and crying because I missed my Granny and knew she would never be back even then. I weep now knowing that my younger siblings and cousins will never have the precious memories of her that I do. I know I'm so very, very blessed because most people don't even get to know their great-grandparents and I had not only my Granny but also Oma, and Grandaddy & Grandmother Wilson.

There are many fun memories of Granny that stick in my head from when I was small. Granny was the one who stayed with us and help when Mom would have a new baby. She also often brought a special treat when she came to visit, Cookie Crisp Cereal, and I remember her taking us to McDonald's a few times. Her house was like something out of a book, she had beautiful flowers and often a vegetable garden. As a kid I loved playing her old childrens' records and using a slide projector in the bathroom to look at cartoons. There was the amazing treehouse she built (seriously who can say their great-grandmother built a treehouse??) and a big tire swing that we forever battled wasps for, not to mention cool little trails in the woods around her house and the best blackberry cobbler you ever tasted in the summer.

But I think of all the things that impressed me the most about Granny, the one thing that stuck with me the most was her prayer life. If anybody knew how to pray it was Granny. I could hear her praying under her breath a lot throughout the day, and at night when the lights were out I could hear the whispers. She prayed for protection and against spiritual warfare, for colds, and for everything in between. Because of her influence I grew to see the importance of prayer, and I noticed she didn't always just ask for things but almost always included thanksgiving. Her Bible was also very important and well read. I knew when I got up in the mornings she had been up for awhile already with her coffee and Bible on the swing. I'm ashamed to say I'm not nearly as faithful to my Bible as she was to hers.

I know my Granny was only human but so many spiritual lessons in my life I can trace roots back to things I learned from her, and one of the most remarkable things about this is I don't often remember her actually talking about these things--it was just me watching her live them out. Actions speak much louder than words. Because of the Alzheimer's Granny hasn't been the same person I knew as a kid, and I'm so grateful God allowed me as a child to observe those things in her life. Far too often we don't pay attention to spiritual lessons as children but somehow in this case I absorbed those seeds from her and they have sprouted over time. Some much healthier than others but still there nonetheless.

As we've watched her body and mind deteriorate these last few years it's been a very sad and painful process. For probably a year now I've been praying that God would be merciful to her, because to actually die from Alzheimer's is a very ugly picture. Several times she went into the emergency room with seizures and other things and I'd think we were reaching the end and she'd somehow bounce back. When I left to come here to France I had no idea this would finally be the time she wouldn't. This week when Mom told me things weren't looking good my heart sank. I wasn't wishing to be home to see her one last time, I had seen her shortly before I left for here and she wouldn't have known me anyway. Something inside of me just couldn't fathom not being at her funeral. It wasn't about what she would have wanted, I knew I could probably be sure she would be excited for me to be here and wouldn't have wanted me to cut my time short. It was just something that personally for myself I really felt I needed. Unfortunately there is just no way for me to come home in time and I'm trying to remember God knows and has a plan in all of this. He knew long before I did about this trip and knew that Granny would be coming home right in the middle and still led me here. I'm already planning to visit her grave as soon as possible when I come home.

And so I cry tonight as I did on the 9th, but certainly not sad tears for Granny's sake. She is sooo much better in heaven than where she was just a few days ago. I cried when I saw my mom's Facebook status about my Pappaw welcoming her and using his special name "Mrs. Bake". I cry for me and how much I miss them both but I know why God wanted them there with Him. Between the two of them they'll be singing all eternity. I can't wait to get there and listen to them, what a grand duet that must be!!