I last posted here Monday morning. Monday evening Rick took me to Hartford where I spent the night in an Econo Lodge suite, (there's a How-Stupid-Can-I-Be story there that I'll have to tell you about later) then I caught a 7:50 flight out on Tuesday morning for Amarillo. My itinerary had me to arrive in Amarillo at 6:45 p.m., but God's goodness and rushing through airports in St. Louis and Dallas allowed me to fly stand-by on earlier flights. I got to Amarillo just a bit before 3:00 in the afternoon. (Rick left Connecticut Tuesday morning and drove long and hard to arrive at home Thursday night.)
My sister and mother picked me up at the airport and took me straight to Hospice. My hope was to see Granny before she passed away. As one of my cousins later reminded me, Granny never waited on anything or anyone if she was ready to do something. And I guess she was ready to see Jesus face to face, for she took her last breath as we were pulling into the parking lot at Hospice. I didn't make it in time. That was tough for me, but fine with Granny.
When a beloved family member dies, it is never easy. I will miss my grandmother very much. I have only good memories of her and I know that she loved all her children and grandchildren very much. She always bragged about how good-looking all her children and grandchildren were. She would say, "There's not an ugly one in the whole bunch!" I believe she loved the Lord even more than she loved her family, and for that I am thankful. She left a wonderful legacy.
Now I have to tell you a story. I really don't want to, but my Aunt Laveta told me she expected to see it in my blog, and I love her, so---
After Granny made her escape to heaven, the sweet hospice servant straightened her stooped little body in the bed, placed a red rose in her folded hands, and then called the family back in to the room. Along with the hospice spiritual director, we all gathered in a circle around the bed to pray, remember, cry, and just honor the memory of the woman we all loved so much.
Now I need to tell you a couple of things about Granny. She wore dentures, but you'd never know it because she saw to it that no one ever saw her without her teeth. And she had a dowager's hump on her back. That hump complicated things a little because when they put her on her back, she couldn't exactly lie flat. The hump made her head tilt back more than just a little. When a person passes away, the mouth has a tendency to open and the jaw sort of locks. So here is Granny, without her teeth, head back, mouth open, and all of us gathered around her bed at this solemn yet undignified moment.
After we prayed and my dad spoke some words of comfort and reassurance, we all stood in an uncomfortable silence, so much on our hearts but without words to adequately express our feelings. My Aunt Laveta leaned over the bed, looking into the face of my grandmother's body and said, "You'd be really upset if you knew we were all standing here staring at you without your teeth, wouldn't you?"
Then I, the "Talkin' Texan," with mouth in overdrive and brain in park said, "Oh Granny would just die if she knew, wouldn't she?"
In the split second it took for my words to hit the bereaved brains of the family, Aunt Laveta replied, "Yes, I think she would!"
Instantly tears and gentle sobs were transformed--laughter filled the room. Loud, till-tears-filled-our-eyes-again laughter. Oh, I could have just died! My dad offered to help me pull my foot out of my mouth.
I felt terribly about my blunder, but everyone else said that it was just what we needed. If Granny was watching, I know she laughed harder than any of us. She was cute when she laughed.
What a wonderful thing it is to know that these bodies we inhabit are earthen clay, formed by the hands of God to serve us for a short time here on earth. And we can laugh and rejoice when we, or our loved ones, are released from this earth and imperfect bodies to a glorious eternal existence in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ!
We buried Granny's earthen vessel, teeth and all, on Friday. We all rejoiced in her 90 years here, and I look forward to seeing her again.