Isaiah 40:6,7-"Everyone is as frail as grass, and their loveliness fades like flowers in the field....when the breathe of the Lord blows over it".
Last week we attended my grandmothers funeral. She was an old soul, and we all desired greatly for her to be in the presence of Jesus for some time. She lived life full and well and had turned 90 at the beginning of winter. Death, after a life-cup brim to overflowing, feels so different than one that is abrupt, young and only partially lived.
In a sense, I feel like 'history' died with my grandma. Like suddenly I realize just how close I am to growing old and being 'that generation'. I also have this overwhelming sense that, along with her, died memories and stories of my dad. Even in her last years of partial dementia, she would always say something about him when we would visit her in her elderly-care room. She would fuss over how much my husband looked like him. Remind me of how my dad would've loved his grandkids if he could've been here. It's like a part of him lived with her, and I feel this great loss of him all over again, now that she isn't here to remind me.
We know we aren't made to be here forever. And I feel great joy over the release of her old body into a new one, one she lived her life to be rewarded with. She was fiery, motivated, and didn't mince words. She spoke her mind but she prayed hard. And in the last years, she struggled graciously as her body and mind gave out on her but there was a level of trust and sweetness that came out during these years that I had never seen before.
My grandparents were married for 71 years. And my grandfather faithfully went to see her in the nursing home, almost every day, for the last 3 1/2 years. My grandfather is 'fit as a fiddle' at 92 years old and he so tenderly cared for her. It was like their relationship mellowed and sweetened during these years. The loss of his Love was heartbreaking to watch. He bent low over her casket and gave her the tenderest of kisses as he said goodbye with tears streaming down his face. And I got this big old knot well up in my throat and my tears then were not for me, but for him. Seeing the missing and the longing and all the memories of loving, desiring and cherishing come to a close as the lid of the casket thumped shut.
Myron asked me on the way home, what I think would be the most difficult: losing a Love like that at a young age or when you are so close to the end of life. Here is the thing: when you are young, the tragedy of it can be overwhelming, I believe. There's a life to be lived without that One person and it can take your heart and leave you broken. Losing someone at the end of your life is losing, well, your life. There aren't time for new memories. You awoke every morning to care for that one person and what is there to awaken for tomorrow?
I don't know. I only know, that at whatever age, loving someone will always create an opportunity to feel the pain of loss. Like Isaiah said, "We all wither and fade like a flower", and death is expected at some point. Carpe Diem.