Remembering her -
Some days the stories flow stronger. They sharpen and take shape, time and scent. They form into feelings, emotions and suddenly I'm there. Back in the story. In the memories.
The memories have been flowing. A lot. It's been August, and I suppose it's a remembering of both, but it's unusual, and I haven't stopped and just ... written. I've just kept going. The problem is ... I can't stop remembering, and when my brain can't stop remembering, my mind doesn't stop dreaming at night ... and when my mind dreams, my heart remembers again.
I was 14. Young enough to slip under the watchful gaze of family as "young" and yet old enough to want to be strong for the rest of us when I perceived they needed some extra "okay". I would be okay.
I would help make it okay ... It was what I could do.
There was a couple sitting on the swing ... I passed them by, I didn't want company. I wanted quiet, and I didn't want someone looking at me like I should be crying, because I wasn't.
I found where the curb met the grass, where it met the road. I balanced on top of it, and when I couldn't find my balance, I scuffed the bottom of my shoe on the pavement. Just like a runner. Or a baseball player, digging into the clay. I liked to do that. It made me feel secure, like I was scraping myself into the cement and being ready for anything. I still do it today.
There were ants. There was grass.
There were people ... all trying to be okay, since they were outside with a bunch of other people all being okay too. I really was okay, because I had Jesus, and so did my family. I couldn't stand the smell in there. It wasn't like it stunk or smelled like office air .... it was a soap/perfume odor or something that was supposed to smell like perfume, but instead ended up being burned into my memory as a cover-up for real air.
Which is why I was outside. For the real air. The air where I could actually breathe in and out, and not hear the sound of oxygen tanks and ventilators. It was quiet out there, and I loved it. I came out to sing. and pray. I knew God was in there, but so was everyone else, and I had been close to losing it. I couldn't lose it in there, because I was being the strong one.
She was the strong one. The one I had to say "goodbye" to. As if I could put a lifetime into words and tell her everything I wanted to and needed to, in a few minutes alone. As if that would be enough. Turns out, she already knew. Her eyes knew. I knew. Love was there.
Jesus was there. He was stronger than the goodbye, and much stronger than the panic. He was stronger than the tears, and stronger than my family. He was stronger than me.
Which is why I needed the outside time, so I could gather up my smiles and tears and remember exactly everything about that day .... holding on. I needed everything to hold onto, because I had just said goodbye to someone I loved. I wanted to spend hours talking to her, telling her everything I had ever wanted to say ... we didn't have Time. God had Time.
The people were passing by, some were smiling .... because there I was. Singing.
I didn't realize then that we were all being strong, strong by weeping. Strong by grieving. Strong by trusting God, strong by rejoicing, strong by talking, strong by singing. Strong by saying we weren't okay, and crying because we missed her.
I can see now what I couldn't see then .... that we were strong by letting go, and I didn't have to be the strong one for any of us, because God was the strong one. He was making us strong in Him. I didn't have to be anything other than a 14 yr. old girl who had just said "goodbye" to her dear grandmother for the last time on this earth.
I was young enough to think I could carry that strong weight, and old enough to already know loss on a deep personal level, I was young enough to pass under the radar, but I was old enough to know that all of those moments would need to forever be stored in my memory, to hold onto, to retell to my heart every time I couldn't hear her voice in my dreams.
And to one day unfold on paper. Like today.
Thank you for reading my blog ... and this very personal memory. It is not easy sharing something so deep and not feeling fear that someone will take away the "specialness" of it.
Please keep our pastor's wife and family in your prayers ... today she and her family bury her Mama, who died on Wednesday. So, it's dear childhood friends of mine, burying their grandmother, and mother. We grieve with them, and rejoice with them, for we shall see them again, and soon ....
in our Home, where the saints live with God forever.
Thus, the memories that have flooded back ... my Grandmother died 8 years ago, this past August.
With great love .... and prayers for all who grieve,
Knowing we grieve with Hope,
"Till then, Grandma .... I love you."
~ Jean Marie ~
"Hallelujah, what a Savior .... "
Precious place .... I remember every part of you.
*Please do not under any circumstances copy this photo or blogpost, or take from this site.
The picture has been edited to darken and fade for personal reasons and to withhold details. Thank you for respecting this wish of mine for this particular photo and memory*