One of the most surreal days of my life was the day my Granddaddy died. As a ten-year-old fifth grader, death was not on my radar. Granddaddy was diabetic, but he showed no signs of feeling poorly. The Saturday before he died, I remember him going with us to pick my cousin up from baseball practice. The day after, I saw him at church, and then he went to a family reunion (and thankfully he had the time of his life). Then Monday came.
He and Granny ran some errands, he ate lunch, and then he went to take a nap. Before he walked into the bedroom to lie down, he looked at my grandma and told her he loved her. There was never any doubt that he loved her, but he didn’t usually verbally express it, which makes me wonder if he knew his end was near.
She walked into the bedroom while he was sleeping and noticed his breathing wasn’t normal. She called her sister-in-law who advised her to call an ambulance. A little while later, with all the kids gathered, the doctor came out of the room and told the family that he didn’t make it. I am so glad I wasn’t there. From what I was told my dad was completely devastated.
As Mom and I walked in the door from school (she taught at my elementary school), the phone was ringing. I remember hearing my Mom say, “Oh no! Your Dad?” My heart started pounding. I walked around the house whispering, “no…no…no….” When she got off the phone she just looked at me with tears welling up in her blue eyes. I asked her if Granddaddy was gone and she nodded her head yes. I ran through the house screaming, “No!” I’m not sure anyone could’ve stopped me. The shock was so great. A few minutes later, Dad came home. It was the first time I’d ever seen him cry. He sobbed. I sobbed. We both felt so helpless. He just kept saying, “We’ll be okay.”
After a half hour passed, we drove to Granny’s house. By the time we got there, people had already flocked to the house in droves with food. I’ll never forget looking at my Granny. She was standing next to the door leading to their bedroom. Distraught friends passed by her and tearfully gave their heartfelt condolences. She kept saying, “I’ll be okay.” I was amazed that she wasn’t falling apart. We were all falling apart, but she was standing strong.
Granny continued to live in their home for another six years before moving to a small apartment in town. Years later, I remember her talking about the day my Granddaddy died. She said it was like God wrapped her in a bubble. She said without God’s hand on her, she would not have made it through that horrible day. Granny has been a strong Christian believer since her late teens, but moments like this made her faith come to life. We can all have a form of godliness, but we know someone has a real relationship with God when that person has peace that surpasses all human understanding. As close as my grandparents were (nineteen years later she still talks about him as if he just passed away), there is no other explanation for her peace.
No one else has had as profound of an influence on my spiritual life as Granny. She made the gospel real. She made being a wife, mother, and grandmother seem like the most awesome job in the world. She showed Granddaddy great respect and would accept nothing less from me (I tried calling him “Frank” one time, but after her reaction I never had the temerity to do it again).
When someone would call her to pray, she would stop what she was doing and pray. And she didn’t just pray briefly… she prayed down fire from Heaven. She’s the greatest prayer warrior I’ve ever known.
Physically, Granny is not strong anymore. We don’t know how much longer we will have her, but even after she goes on to be with the Lord, she will live on in my life. It just goes to show that what we do in our lives, before and after our children are born, will affect their lives forever. Someday when your kids and grandkids seem to be ignoring you, know that they really are not ignoring you. How you live will be woven into the fibers of their hearts. They will take their cues from you. ~smile~
Watching Granny live for Christ, and watching Christ’s love and peace work in her life, is a memory that has shaped me. I pray that I can be as much of a gift to my kids and grandkids as she has been to me.
Who has shaped your view of God and relationships?