The next day, in the quiet dark of an early Wednesday morning, a gentle breath exhales and takes away life...our grandmother. She has a thinned head of once dark hair and dim eyes fading away to the world and she is beautiful too-for all that she is and has been. My eyes tear up as I write this in gratitude for this gift as well.
The trite words "circle of life" come to mind...trite but true. One of the last things she was told before she died was that she had a great grandson. I am so glad. I did not get to say goodbye as I would have liked but I hope this news was a measure of joy and peace to her in her last moments.
She was born of Italian immigrants and represents the heritage in me that loves big family get togethers, talking excitedly with my hands and of course good food. I hope our son will have this "italian" in him too. I never lived under her roof or worked with her or knew much about her daily life because she was just my gramma. My memories and moments with her are mostly from younger days-baking bread, getting our hair done and of course ballroom dancing. Though towards the end she was so tired and weary of life, I will remember her as full of life-a great smile, a happy countenance, quick on her feet in white dancing shoes as she waltzed gracefully around the room in her seafoam green dress and pearls around her neck. She was married for over 30 years, she raised eight amazing strong children, and she lives on in her 14 grandchildren and now two great-grandchildren.
|Gramma and Grandpa and their eight kids, bottom left. She is also the bride in the small picture in the middle.|
It is hard to have a moment of sadness mingled with such a moment of joy in my life...and yet there is a quiet peace about it. This is life and death as God intended. Ecclesiastes says the day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth, the end of a thing better than the beginning. Why? I cannot say it more beautifully than Matthew Henry does:
That, all things considered, our going out of the world is a great kindness to us than our coming into the world was: The day of death is preferable to the birth-day; though, as to others, there was joy when a child was born into the world, and where there is death there is lamentation, yet, as to ourselves, if we have lived so as to merit a good name, the day of death, which will put a period to our cares, and toils, and sorrows, and remove us to rest, and joy, and eternal satisfaction, is better than the day of our birth, which ushered us into a world of so much sin and trouble, vanity and vexation. We were born to uncertainty, but a good man does not die at uncertainty. The day of our birth clogged our souls with the burden of the flesh, but the day of our death will set them at liberty from that burden.
Gramma leaves behind a good name and enters into eternal holy joy-hopefully full of ballroom dances in the arms of her beloved Father. Luke is born into a good name but enters into a world of unknown. Hopefully, we pray, he is soon called into the arms of his beloved Father and knows a life on earth of certain grace, that one day a long time from now he can look back on a good life like Gramma could.
Goodbye Gramma. We will miss you and know you are so loved. Hello Luke. Welcome, and know you are so loved.