Going Home To Jesus

I’m not a religious man.  I believe in a god.  I’m not so sure of anything beyond that.  I look to religion for community and intellectual challenge.  I don’t normally go there for instructions on daily living or the answers to bigger questions.

But my grandmother did.

My Dad’s Mom passed away on Monday.  Between that, The Wife’s starting MS shots, Little Sister bashing her fingers in some hand weights, and Big Sister developing some non-strep throat virus its been a pretty sucky 10 day period.  Oh, and in the meantime I’ve been struggling with two separate projects for different clients.

But most of that is just life.  What I am hear to discuss is death.

I’m going to withhold the gruesome details because some things deserve a modicum of respect.  Let’s just say that even going out peacefully doesn’t seem very peaceful to me.  My Grandmother had moved to hospice care two Sundays ago.  My Aunts were hopeful that she’d be able to move back to her nursing care soon.  But Sunday evening I got a call that my Aunt from Florida was flying in…which is never a good sign.  I took Monday off and traveled to Mt. Joy to see my Grandmother.  They say she could hear us talking but I kind of doubt it….and I hope she couldn’t.  I’m not sure I will find it reassuring to have people talking to me when I can’t respond…and with everyone involved knowing I am going to die.  Of course, if my kids read this in 50 years (if I get that lucky) ignore what I just said and keep talking to me.  I’ll want to hear your voices one last time.

I spent a oddly pleasant mid-day with both my Aunts.  They are much more devoutly Christian than I and are drawing on that in this time.  I stayed away from the topic because, while I don’t disagree with them in the whole ‘there is an afterlife’ thing, we’d be unable to come to terms on the specifics.  We focused on stories about my kids, their stories of Grandma, and my cousins’ lives.

To say it was difficult to be in that room while the strong, reserved, and proper Grandmother I knew lay slowly dying doesn’t begin to describe my feelings.  But the one thing that my Dad passed on to me about death and funerals is that neither is completely about the dead and dying.  They both are, to a greater or lesser degree, about the living.  So I knew that me being there was important to them, it would have been important to my Dad, and, unexpectedly, it ended up being important to me.  I doubt she knew I was there but knowing that I had a chance to speak to her gives me a little comfort.  Perhaps it was being able to ask her to say hi to Dad when she gets there.  Perhaps it was just being able to say goodbye, as an adult, in a way I didn’t with any of my other grandparents or my Dad.  I’m really not sure.

The rest of the week involves the common trappings of Mid-Atlantic US mainstream Protestant funeral events.  Public viewings, services (church and graveside), and a luncheon.  We don’t do wakes or sitting shiva.

It’ll be subdued, formal, and proper.  Just the way I remember my Grandmother.

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One Comment on “Going Home To Jesus”

  1. Posey Says:

    This was beautiful! I had a tear in my eye when I read it on Friday and just didn’t get a chance to comment. So sorry about your grandmother.

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