This entry is a little weird because I still haven’t figured out how to write about my grandma’s death. It happened suddenly, in a matter of hours, last summer on the eve of our family reunion. She was there, with us, and then she was gone; her body was empty.
But we were still there, on a trip that was planned around spending time with my grandma, who’d organized the reunion and whose birthday was the following week. And because my grandma was, well, my grandma (you could say a lot about her, but never that she was anything but completely genuine and wholly herself), everything around me — the notes she’d left scribbled around the house, her world map dotted with pins that covered every continent but Antarctica, her bookshelf of games we’d spent hours playing together on cool summers nights, after dishes and before Who’s the Boss? — all of it was her, but she would never be there again. It was there, in the basement of her house, her home, that I first began to realize she was gone.
It’s a very odd thing, because the whole experience was, and is, full of sorrow — my heart cannot compute that she will never “surprise” us for Thanksgiving again (is it really a surprise if it happens on a yearly basis?), or that she won’t meet her great-grandchildren (not here, anyway) — and yet, from the moment she began to slip away, I’ve felt God’s hand shaping this story, and I’ve seen the beauty in His sovereignty, in life and death.
You see, my grandma’s body was empty because she wasn’t there. She’s with God. And since her passing, I’ve never felt closer to eternity. And while it might sometimes be easier to dwell on the years we missed out on, I find comfort in the memories of the years we had, and, more than that, I can’t help but be overjoyed for the years to come.
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The first night in her house, I pulled out my camera and took pictures so I wouldn’t forget.
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My grandpa came down this past weekend to surprise my brother for his graduation (he actually pulled it off) and spend the holidays with us, and with him he brought a box of games. It’d been months since I’d thought about those games, or that night, but in an instant I was back — back to the basement and back to those late summer nights with my grandma.
Again, I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures.
“What are you taking pictures of the games for?” my grandpa asked.
“These are the games we played when we were little. These games are my childhood!” I said.
But the truth is, in a way, through my memories, these games are my grandma.
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This is the message my grandma left behind, taped on her fridge.