Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nine Years...

I've been teary all week.  I don't really know why, as I don't think I am an overly emotional person.  I read "The Last Song" and cried several times.  I NEVER cry while reading a book.  But the girls dad dies of cancer and it just struck me as very tragic and realistic.  And I cried.  I read it in two days.  Thats my problem with reading.  I want to know what happens too fast.  So I stay up way too late reading a book when I should be sleeping.  I stayed up until 3:15 am two nights ago to read it.  It was worth it, but Jonas was raring to go at 8ish, so that was tough!   :D

Last night I went and saw Dear John with Dear Addie.  While I didn't exactly enjoy how it ended, it was a good movie, again, a movie that I gave myself a headache holding back tears.  They didn't fall, but they wanted to.  And I had a headache the rest of the night from not letting my emotions fall.  Weird.

Today is the ninth anniversary of my Grandma Edith's death.  Normally I would post a picture here, but it seems that all digital copies of pictures that I have of her are on an old computer.  Gotta find them.  Of all my grandparents, I guess I would say that I was the closest to her.  She had some eccentric character traits that were funny sometimes, but she was endearing and I know she loved me very much.  My grandparents moved to the beach to "retire" several years before they died.  In a way it made it surreal when they did die because it was almost like they were just still at home, since we didn't get to see them much after they moved. 

My grandpa had cancer.  He outlived the 2 years the doctors gave him.  He struggled, but he survived it.  Then in February of 2001, my senior year of highschool, my Grandma was diagnosed with cancer.  It was everywhere.  Within a month, hospice was called in.  By the time I got to see her, she didn't know who I was, or make any coherent conversation with anyone.  She died the next day.  I'll never forget dad coming and waking me up at 3 in the morning to go to Auntie's house.  She died.  And Grandpa gave up too.  I didn't leave the house where she died and where Grandpa was dying for a few days.  I was afraid I'd miss something.  I didn't.  I saw every bit of the agony of his death.  I don't know for sure if I regret watching, or regret remembering the vivid details of those days.  Looking back it was some of the hardest time of my life.  Who's grandparents die two days apart of cancer?  It is weird.  It was devastating.  I was halfway through "Fried Green Tomatoes" when he took his last breath.  I never have finished watching that movie.

I remember that my tears were selfish.  I wanted them to see me graduate.  I wanted them to be at my wedding.  I wanted them to meet my children.  They would have loved Jonas.  But I didn't get any of that.  I realize that everyone has stories like this, and that breaks my heart.  It also makes me long for heaven.  There will be no more broken hearts, no death, no pain, no cancer.  It's good to know they are there, with no pain.  Selfishly, I wish they were here.  Their funeral was horrible.  They chose to be cremated.  It was awful.  There was no closure seeing that little box, knowing that my grandparent's bodies were supposed to both be in it.  It was ugly.  Nothing like what I think Grandma would have picked out.  She was gaudy.  She liked bling and big florals.  Her Christmas tree was always decked with terribly huge ornaments.  She would have chosen something different.  I don't know how people are supposed to react, but I've never felt at a funeral like I did at theirs.  For that reason, I think that cremation is selfish.  It makes no difference in the long run what happens to this old earthly body, but I think closure would have been easier if I was not supposed to believe that both of my grandparents were in that little ugly box.  I wish I could forget that week of my life.

Another part of that story that breaks my heart is that I feel like my time truly loving my grandpa were cut too short.  As a child, I remember him drinking all the time.  I remember he was gruff and I remember trying to avoid him.  Philip and I played outside most of the time.  We didn't want to irritate him.  Grandma was nothing but patient with us.  Looking back, that must have been quite the feat.  :D  But when I was 13 I spent a week at the beach with them alone.  And that week, I helped Grandpa re-roof his building outside.  We really bonded, and I think he had stopped drinking by then.  All I remember was that we laughed and joked, and truly had a good time.  He drove me back home.  I was worried about being cooped up in the car alone with him for that long, but after that week, it was fine.  We talked and joked.  It was great.  But it is really the last real memory I have of him not sick.  And then he died.  And now nine years later, I still feel sad knowing that most of my life I had no real relationship with him.  At least we have all eternity to make up for it. 

I'm not really sure how mom made it through.  Looking forward, I dread nothing more than the death of my parents.  I truly hope Jesus comes back for us first!

Now as I type this, I look around my house.  The house my groom and I bought a month before our wedding.  The house we furnished together little by little.  The house we did little projects in making it ours.  The house we brought our firstborn son home to.  And while we've truly outgrown it, and it's still technically ours until it sells, I find myself crying again.  It is sad to close this chapter.   I am looking forward with great anticipation for how God is going to use Jonathan and our family at our new church.  That is exciting.  I look forward to moving, but I think you can understand how this is bittersweet.  Packing these boxes is hard.  Unorganizing all my cabinets is difficult.   Boxing up baby things is bittersweet.  But unpacking one day in Savannah will be wonderful, because it is where God has led us.

Life is sometimes hard.  But God is Good!  And He has been so good to me.  He gave me a wonderful family.  Special memories with my grandparents, who are gone, but never forgotten.  He gave me almost four years in Augusta close to my inlaws.  And as I tape up this next box, I tape it up with security, that no matter what happens in this life, or wherever God leads us, He is with us and He will see us through.  Through these tough times, He has been faithful and I know He will continue to be faithful.  After all, that is His character.  And He promised.


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