Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blessings amidst Sadness

It's hard to know where to start this post.  I don't think I have the energy to try to remember things sequentially.  Funerals can be quite emotionally exhausting and because of this, it's hard to hold in the mind everything that I want to remember.  The trip seems a bit disjointed, and as such, my blog entries might seem that way as well.

Perhaps it's easiest to start with the present moment.

Currently, I am wearing a yellow shirt from 1981.  It's from the Fickling-Pettis family reunion (I'd explain the names to you, but you probably don't care) and I found it in my grandmother's dresser drawer.  The fabric is extremely thin, the collar a bit thick, and there are a few paint stains on it.  But this morning, it smelled like my grandmother and that made it the only thing that I wanted to wear.  Throughout the morning, I'd lift the shirt up to my nose and breathe in the scent.

Then, about halfway through the day, I couldn't smell her anymore.  Sadness!  When I got home from the grocery store, I immediately put the other two t-shirts that I have from her in a ziplock bag and sealed it up to try to save her scent as much as possible.  I'm not sure how long it will last, but at least it's there for awhile.  Somehow, still being able to smell the scent of her house brings me comfort and, well, keeps her alive in a way.  I find myself desperate to know that she can still hear me, that she can still talk to me, that somehow, I would still be able to feel her. 

I miss her so much it hurts.

The night after the funeral, the kids were in bed, trying to go to sleep.  Rather, perhaps I should say, we were trying to get them to sleep.  My husband went to listen to their activity at the bedroom door.  Hannah was crying (she's four).  He was about to enter when he heard her say, I miss Grannie.  Abby (5) said to her, It's okay.  Grannie is in Heaven with Howard (her husband) and there are no tears in Heaven.  My grown-up little girl, who had to say good-bye to someone she dearly loved, whose body lay in an open casket, who had to understand how a body still on earth can have a spirit in Heaven, was able to console her little sister.

I find myself using these same words for consolation, too.

I imagine her in Heaven, with no more tears, no more pain, no one to worry about.  Only those who have gone before her to greet her at those pearly gates.  Not that I am ready to leave earth, but I cannot wait to receive my hug from her when I get to Heaven.  Oh, what a glorious day that shall be.

During the funeral, during that oh-so-solemn moment when my dear cousins, the pallbearers, carried Grannie from the chapel to the hearse, Hannah belts out in her loud Hannah voice, Is Grannie going to be okay in that box?  Sweet Hannah, Grannie will be more than okay, for she gets to meet her Savior.  She will be filled with unspeakable joy, amazing refreshment, and unceasing beauty.  Even though it may be hard to comprehend such exuberance since we are left to mourn, we can have faith that she will be fully entertained until we get up there to meet her again.

Honestly, I thought my heart would be more soothed after the funeral.  This doesn't seem to be the case.  As my dad said to me tonight, The mind knows, but the heart...the heart just takes longer.  I can be anywhere, doing who-knows-what, and the lump will come.  Sadness overcomes and I...

 This is a terrible picture of me, but just wanted the family reading to see the shirt...

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