Benjamin Franklin once said “In this world nothing can said to be certain, except death and taxes.” April 15 has a whole new meaning for me now. Right after I woke up I got the call that my Grandma had passed away this morning. Because of the COVID-19 crisis her grandchildren didn’t get a chance to say good-bye. Not having that close closure and being all alone is surreal and sure is hard to process. On May 3 of this year she and my sweet Grandpa would have been married 63 years.
My Grandma often talked about dying and meeting Jesus. I would always change the subject because I didn’t want to think about it. Her passing brings up a lot of emotions for me.
I met my Grandma when I was 2 months old and my mom started dating her oldest son. Clearly I don’t remember that, but she and my Grandpa accepted me the first time they met me as their own, though I wasn’t a biological grandchild. I grew up always knowing I was different from my cousins and my sister, but just couldn’t put my finger on why. When I found out the truth at the age of 9 it made sense, but I didn’t like being the only one who was different…the only one who didn’t have that genetic ‘thick skin’.
Right before my adoption in the summer of 1990 my Grandma spent an entire day with just me which didn’t happen all that often. We baked, made crafts, went to lunch…all kinds of fun stuff. She asked me at one point why I was so upset about my adoption. While I was so thankful to be adopted by my dad, I told her I didn’t like being different than everyone else. I didn’t like being the only one whose veins her blood didn’t run through. She made so everything fun. She could take a boring old box and make it into the coolest Barbie house with carpet and wallpaper and a bed made from an old shoe box top, and a bedside table out of an old spool of thread and a milk cap with lace trim. I mean this woman was amazing! Give her a glue gun and some scrap material and voila! She had a recipe for absolutely everything! A solution for almost any problem! If she couldn’t find it, she would make it. She was talented, creative and deemed herself the ‘crazy’ Grandma and strived to fit that title to a T. In my mind there was nothing she couldn’t do.
In the 1980’s she kicked butt selling real estate and in the 90’s went into public office. I didn’t really see why women couldn’t do it all. She did! She worked hard and played even harder. We spent a lot of time with her because she had a very flexible schedule….and I mean, hello…it was fun! Looking at her I had no reason to think anything would hold me back, least of all being a girl. She didn’t let anyone tell her she couldn’t do something. If they did, she proved them wrong. I didn’t by nature necessarily have that in me, but because of her, I do by nurture. So much of who I am is because of her influence.
She was so funny…a hoot and a half! Every single time she called she would leave her phone number on the answering machine. She would yell “Oh Jiminy Crickets!” when you know deep down she really wanted to swear. When we were little, she was always covered in grandchildren. We would have camp outs with forts and sleepovers on the pull-out bed on the 3-season porch listening to the frogs, ice cream for breakfast, and Jaws marathons in what seemed like endless summer adventures. She taught me to like spinach and tomatoes, how to shuck corn and the value of a hard-earned dollar. She taught me how to bake pies, hull strawberries, and make a really big mess and then how to clean it up.
So when I told her I didn’t like being different I will never forget what she told me…don’t you see…that’s what makes you special! While I still didn’t like being different, I believed her. She never treated me any differently than anyone else. If anything, she did make me feel special. She didn’t love me because she had to…she loved me because she wanted to.
When I got in my car this morning to go run payroll at the shop I was devastated. Not getting to tell her thank you or goodbye and thinking about my Grandpa being here without her was just too much. I turned the key and heard a familiar voice. My pastor just happened to be on the radio talking about Jesus’ resurrection and how because of it, for those we love who believed in Jesus and have passed, we will see them again. It was a great comfort and such a gift from the Lord. While I’m heartbroken, friends, I know for CERTAIN that I will see her again. So, I guess Mr. Franklin in all his brilliance was wrong. There are three things that are certain in life for me at least. Death, taxes and because of Jesus I will see my Grandma again. Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful woman…have fun up there, Grammy..see you soon!
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26