Sunday, July 30, 2017

Grandma Jackson goes home

Last week we paused to remember the life of my (Becca's) Grandma Jackson.  This was my last grandparent. I don't feel "old" enough to no longer have any of my grandparents. But, alas, apparently I am. I know friends who have already had to say goodbye to parents.  As you get older, you start to realize that there are certain roles in your life that are incredibly important. As you parent, you finally have a glimpse of the magnitude of love your parents have for you. No one else will think of you so much, love you so deeply, cheer you on, lose sleep over you, or always want to spend time with you like a parent will. That's a big role. And a big hole once it's gone. And I suppose I'll have a greater understanding of a grandparent's role if I'm able to make it there. But again, there's a hole once that's gone.
Mother's Day 2015 with my mom and I. Three generations, all with the middle name of "Ann."

Reality is - funerals remind us that our lives are brief - even if we nearly make it to 90, like my grandma. We have but this one life to live on earth. There aren't do-overs. There will be a day when our loved ones will sit in a service, or at a graveside, and cling to precious memories of us. The feeling of separation from our loved ones can be painful and hard, but as a Christian, the assurance of eternity spent in heaven offers immense comfort and peace. I am certain my grandma did not just cease to be...this life is not all there is......but that she is living whole and in the presence of Jesus. It breaks my heart to know that many, many people live and die without that assurance.

I had the privilege of sharing my grandmother's life story at her funeral. I had told my mom I thought I could handle it, but 2 days prior to it as I snuck away from the house and worked on honing it while sitting in a coffee shop, I had second thoughts.  My mom had drafted much of it, jotting down details from her memory and from journal entries from my grandma - details that many of us were unaware of. I didn't want to just read some bullet points, I wanted to make it smooth and pretty. But all of a sudden, the weight of sharing one's life story and trying to do it justice in a 10-minute reading seemed overwhelming. I used a lot of tissues, received some sympathetic pity looks, and sent a few texts to friends asking them to pray for me. I could barely type it out and hold it together, I didn't want to be a blubbering mess, not allowing anyone to even understand what I was saying.

I made it through just fine at the funeral though. A little emotion. A few pauses to take a breath and collect myself. And then a big release of tears once I took my seat and we sang "Blessed Assurance."

Some family had asked for a copy of it, so here's a link to it.

The day was long. There was a lunch that followed the funeral. And then several hours of gap time to allow travel to her burial site which was over an hour away. And then another meal. It was a long day.....but not that we should quickly move on from remembering the message of a funeral and of a life well-lived. In that case, it felt much, much, much too short. 

December 1982....I'm the girl in green plaid on Grandpa's lap.
August 2003 on our wedding day.

May 2010, with Tate and Landon.

February 2013, with Heath.

November 2016, with just a portion of her great-grandchildren.
In short, this woman was precious and endearing. I was blessed to call her my grandma.