Thursday, July 5, 2012

They Say She Looked Beautiful.....

.....but I don't know for myself. It took everything I had to walk  into that steps got slower and slower as we approached the door and emotion threatend to take me under as we entered.  I couldn't make it past the closest chair.  Everyone else kept going, but I couldn't.  I was trembling, trying so hard to keep from falling apart and Mark came and hugged me, asking if I was sure I didn't want to see her.  I couldn't look, couldn't force my body to go the number of steps it would take to reach the far side of the room.....I just couldn't do it.

The hour reserved for the family may have been the longest of my life and I was glad when others started coming in....mostly older people and the sound of their sweet, weathered Southern voices comforted me and they helped to distract me from the presence of her casket, from the sad oppression of my thoughts.

I eventually made it further into the room, sitting on a couch with my own family, my boys suffocating me, squishing so close, trying to help.  For the next two hours, I was introduced to people I've never met, smiled as I was introduced and even held my composure when unexpected drama erupted and the emotions of shock and incredulousness were added to the ever-growing list. The anger at what had happened help me get through the remaining time, helped to cover the feelings of grief.  Fortunately, it was kept low-key and only those of us involved even knew what was going on. I was able to smile some more as people told me over and over again what a good woman my Granny was, how beautiful she much younger than her age, how pretty her dress was. 

I wouldn't know.....I couldn't look. Just couldn't do it and I'm happy to take their word for it. That wasn't really her there, anyway, I told myself.....she's in the Land Eternal.

The funeral was this morning and I couldn't stop the tears as we pulled into the cemetary. I sat on the front row with my mama on one side and my sister on the other.....Mark and the kids behind me. Mandy sang one of Granny's favorite hymns, "Amazing Grace", beautifully....Mama had asked me to do it but I couldn't. I can barely get words to come out of my mouth, how on earth would I have been able to sing??? The pastor talked about Granny, talked about her life....but I only heard bits and pieces.

It was so very hot, beads of sweat rolling down my neck, back and legs and it was hard to hurt to breathe, but it hurt not to breathe, too. It just hurt. The Lord sent a breeze and as it drifted over us, I thanked Him for it. I looked at her's the first time I had really looked at it. It's beautiful, and it matches her dress, a detail that was not intentional. Not the same shade, but a lighter one and a perfect blend. There are roses engraved on it in places, her favorite flower. Mama told me later that they didn't even think of that when they picked it out....another unintentional detail.

The tears came and went in waves, and people walking by us after the service to speak to us was a welcome distraction from what I was feeling. I don't know most of them, and my heart warmed when I saw my cousins.....I didn't know if they were going to come and I was so glad they did.

We talked and caught up a bit and I was distracted from the presence of the casket by their chatter, by their sharing their memories of Granny and PawPaw.....they and my sister share their memories,  they can all remember him and how I wish I could. How I wish I had something of him, some memory to share. We talked some more and they took pictures, and it seemed so strange to be reunited in a grave yard, snapping photos of our reunion.

The small crowd started thinning out, one by one and two by two, until there were few left. I couldn't leave without taking one more moment....I wasn't ready and not sure I ever would have been. I stood there with Mark, tears came again and he put his arm around me and I was glad. I stood by her casket several minutes, quiet tears escaping, trying to say good bye, wanting so badly to tell her I love her just one more time.

Ashlyn walked over to me and started rambling on about something, but I couldn't really focus on what she was saying and was trying not to be irritated.....something about how country people talk and I caught the words,"they say 'yonder' a lot. Instantly, the words from the familiar old hymn "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder" went through my mind and I thought about the fact that when that roll is called, I will be there....and my Granny will be, too.

It was so incredibly difficult to leave....difficult to accept that this was it, to make my feet do what I was telling them to do.  But with sweat rolling down my back and my eyes stinging with tears, I turned and walked away, feeling as though I was leaving a piece of myself there at that gravesite.

This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, letting go of someone who has been such a significant person in my life that her worth cannot begin to be measured and who holds such a large piece of my heart.  I know I'm not the first nor will I be the last to walk through this.....I  know this is part of life, part of loving someone, but knowing that doesn't make it hurt less. 

Claiming so many of His promises, and waiting for the morning to come again.

"Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy Comes in The Morning."
~ Psalm 30:5 ~

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more, And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll, is called up yon-der,
When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise, And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Oh Jill you have touched my heart and brought me back to when my own Nana passed away years back. I thought I would never get through it, but I did, and with His help, you will too. As I read your post the other day, I could not help but remember when Nana gave me her wedding ring, that I wore (and still wear every day). When I met my husband, six months after her death, it was the first thing he commented on when he saw me. "Wow, someone must love you." And I actually could see my grandma tapping on God's shoulder asking him to bring Kurt into my life. My mom always tells me that there are "so many people cheering for you in heaven", and now you have one more.God bless you Jill.