One year ago on April 4, my Grandma Violet died. This year, April 4 falls on Easter Sunday. I think that’s wonderfully appropriate. 🙂 Grandma died believing in Jesus as her Savior, and I know her soul is in heaven with the souls of other believers who are waiting for the final Judgement Day, when souls and bodies will be reunited again to be taken up to heaven to live forever in eternal joy. Easter is what being a Christian is all about, and Grandma knew and believed the message of Easter. So, it’s apropos that the first anniversary of her death-day falls on Easter Sunday.
I’ve been thinking about Grandma Violet a lot over the past few days. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone for a year already. I’ve been thinking about her so much I dreamed about her the other night. Or, more specifically, I dreamed about her house.
I dreamed that JJ and the girls and I were staying at her house, and in my dream, Grandma hadn’t died yet but was living in the hospice house. I could see every detail in her house in my dream, just like I can still see every detail in her house when I close my eyes and remember. In my dream, it was so wonderfully comfortable to be back in her house, but I kept wondering when we were going to go to the hospice house to see Grandma. Then, at some point in my dream, I realized that she was dead, and in my dream I cried and cried.
Interestingly, JJ was probably the last house guest Grandma ever had before she moved into the hospice house. JJ had done a SoWE in the area, and after it was over, he spent the night at Grandma’s house. She was already on oxygen most of the time due to her congestive heart failure, and she got winded easily after very little movement. But, despite that, she still made a full breakfast for her grandson-in-law the next morning. Frankly, the cooking itself probably wasn’t too difficult for her, and she was glad to be useful and take care of someone else, just like she was her whole life. Her biggest frustration with her congestive heart failure was that she couldn’t DO anything anymore, and she hated that. Her little house out in the country was a peaceful place for JJ to sleep, too. He maintains that that one night of sleep at Grandma’s house in spring 2008 was the best night of sleep he’s ever had.
I haven’t done it recently, but it has happened more than once that when I’ve finished my nightly prayers but can’t quite fall asleep, I take a walk around Grandma’s house in my imagination. I can hear the sounds that her old table and chairs (for those of you family members who read this blog, that’s her old table, not the newer wooden one that she had in more recent years) made when they were scraped across the floor. I can hear her old telephone ring. I can hear the sound of the outside screen door that led to the entryway, and I can hear the sound of the kitchen door, too. I can hear the sound her old alarm clock made as she wound it up every night before bed. I remember the taste of the old metal glass that sat next to the bathroom sink for years. I can remember lying in bed at night next to Grandma at night when I was a little girl and my parents and brothers and I would stay overnight. On those nights, I also remember how Grandma would read aloud her Meditations devotion to me when I shared her bed. I can hear the cadence of her voice as she read aloud, although, sadly, the sound of her voice is starting to fade away.
I can still remember all of those things; I wonder how long they will remain in my memory.
Nowadays, however, I usually don’t spend so much time thinking about how things used to be. When I think about Grandma now, I think about how hard she worked for so many years, and with her example in mind, I am more inspired to keep going through the much-smaller trials in my life. And I think about her in heaven, finally getting the rest she wanted for so many years. Although, once in a while when it’s the afternoon and I’m faced with a particularly boring/tedious project, I think about who I could call and talk to, and before I catch myself, I think to call Grandma. I still know her phone number by heart; I’ve known it since I was a child and my dad would let me dial the phone myself on Saturday nights when he made his weekly call to her. During the last few years of her life, I used to call her during the day once in a while and chat with her; it worked out well because with us being two time zones apart but her being home during the day, she was often available to talk when other people weren’t. I miss that.
It’s hard to believe she’s been gone a year already. But I’m so happy for her that she’s out of the pain and struggle of this world and safely home in heaven. I pray that I, and those I love, will all join her there in heaven one day, too.