Tonight I cooked meals for a brother in need in memory of my Grandma Fern. I pumped gas in my car and thought of my Grandpa Frank, who I never met. I told a story to my kids and thought of my Grandpa Al, who died in May. And then heard that my Grandma Irma is gone to heaven today. I will miss her hands, her nightgowns, her kind heart and her easy smile, watching TV game shows (she always knew the answer first), and reading her hand-me-down murder mysteries. There was no warning or illness, just a kind neighbor who checked on Grandma daily and found her today beside her bed. As a nurse, my heart breaks that she may have suffered alone. But my brother Daniel had wise words - "she may have been in pain, but she didn't suffer because she knew she was going home to be with Grandpa". Since my Grandpa Al's passing in May, she has cried many hours daily in bitter loneliness that no other loved one could bridge. When I was a child, and asked her about her salvation, she said she had loved Jesus her whole life, and never remembered a moment when she didn't believe...you who believe in the name of the Son of God may know that you have eternal life (I John 5:13, exc.).
A big hole is left in your heart when a generation is gone from your life. My own parents are the grandparents now.
The feeling of my heart is echoed in John 11, when Jesus comes to visit the family of Lazarus, who had died a few days before: When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Sir, come and see." And Jesus also wept.
As I cry my tears over my own new loneliness, I picture her whirling around heaven on 20-something legs in the arms of her one true love, as "their song" is played by the best band they've ever heard...
There's just one place for me, near you...
It's like heaven to be, near you...
Times when we're apart,
I can't face my heart,
Say you'll never stray
More than just two lips away.
~ Near You, Francis Craig and Kermit Goell, 1947 ~