Through many sunsets
You've seen days filled with rain
You've had your share of smiles
You've felt life's sting of pain,
Though many years have gone
Life still goes on and on,
But in all that time,
Love has never changed.
I wrote those words as a young teenage girl for Grandma's and Grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary. All the grandchildren sang the song, and everyone oohhed and ahhed over how cute we all were. I had no idea what the future held for our family, but I knew that up to that point Grandma had experienced a lot of things in life, both happy and sad. That was over 20 years ago...there has been a lot more life experiences that have occurred between that point and now that makes the words to the song have more depth and meaning. As I have grown up, married, and had children of my own, I realized the last line of that song was not exactly true...love does change. Through the winding roads of time love has a way of getting stronger; it is a very powerful emotion that grows like a flower blooming in the springtime. It's the very thing that made the words “Grandma's house” spark joy and excitement inside a little girl's heart. And it is what causes me such pain today as we gather here to say goodbye to a wonderful lady.
I loved going to see Grandma. Her house was the very example of what a little, white haired grandmother's house should be filled with: good smells, tasty foods, and an awesome time with family. Her big smile of greeting always made me feel special as she hugged me close and remarked at how tall I had grown over the past year. I knew it would be a great few days of catching up and making wonderful memories. We had a lot in common and we shared many things together in life. We shared the joy of baking goodies for the family and enjoyed watching everyone eat them until their tummies were overflowing. We shared the crazy habit of constantly rearranging furniture in the house which made those around us shake our heads in confusion or simply just roll their eyes. We shared a running joke together that every time I came to visit her, something bad would happen to us, her house, or even the world. I had many fender benders on my trips out to her place, and there was the time the big tree limb fell on her roof during a storm. She turned to me with that glint in her eye and said, “ Every time you are here something happens. It must be your fault, Cara, trouble follows you!”
Another thing that we shared was her son, who was also my Dad. Losing him back in April of this year was a blow to the family that has still not healed. Now to add the loss of my grandmother to our already tender, hurting hearts makes it even harder to process. Yet, what helps me is one more thing thing that Grandma and I shared: our faith. She had placed her trust in the Lord many years ago, something I did as a little girl, and she had a peace about where she was going to go when she breathed her final breath on this earth. There have been many times when I wondered why my dad had to go when he did, but I believe that God has a perfect timing for everything. Somehow my dad's passing eased my grandmother's mind and helped her not be afraid anymore to take that journey across the river to reach heaven. She knew my dad would be waiting there for her, reaching out his hand, smiling in that way of his, just waiting to pull her into a hug and take her to see Jesus. She knew Grandpa would be there too, because he had also put his faith in the Lord right before he passed away. And little Richard...the infant son she lost from spinal bifida. He must have been waiting right beside everyone else eager to see his mother and have a joyful reunion.
Yes, Grandma and I shared a lot of things, and now I have those memories of all the good times we shared together too. I will hold them close, write stories about them, and share them with my own children. In closing, I want to share with you a Scripture that was Grandma's favorite passage from the Bible. It is Psalms 23:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
I'll miss you, Beema, but I know I will see you again someday. Until then, rest in peace and enjoy those golden roads.