Today was kind of a strange day for me. Instead of spending it hanging out with my fellow MTC 4th year buddies I spent it with my sisters, trying to work out what contribution we wanted to make to our grandmother’s funeral on Tuesday. We were very close to my grandparents on mum’s side, and the 4 of us were their only grandchildren. When Grandad died I felt like I had tonnes of memories I wanted to share with people – so many good times to look back on. The memories were so fresh then. But not so with Grandma.
I feel like I’ve actually had two grandmothers in one. The first – the one I love so much, is the Grandma whose house we spent every school holidays at because mum & dad both worked. The Grandma whose house my older sister and I were quarantined to when we had the chicken pox. The Grandma who, along with my Grandad, turned up at our house 6 weeks into their 6 months camper van trip around the country, because they missed us too much. Instead they packed up me and my sisters (I was 10, my sisters 13, 7 & 5) and took us on a 4 week trip to Cairns. Probably the greatest holiday of my life and only 1 of many they took us on over the years.
The other Grandma only appeared 6 years ago. The Alzheimer’s started long before that, but 6 years ago Grandma became an old woman who didn’t know who I was anymore. By the time she died there wasn’t a single person in this world that she recognised.
I’ve heard it said that death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person. For Grandma this is certainly true. She was a woman who loved Jesus and served him with her whole life. Death was the best thing for her.
On Thursday she had surgery to pin a broken femur, and on Tuesday she died from post operative multi-system organ failure. Alzheimer’s may not have killed her, but it took her life from her years ago. It was back then I grieved the loss of my wonderful grandmother. For that reason I don’t feel sad that she died. We lost her 6 years ago and we have grieved for all those years. I do feel sad that the last 6 years are the freshest memories right now. I hope they fade and I start to remember the 24 amazing years before that. But I also don’t want to forget the last 6 years completely, because they remind me of this truth
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” [1 Corinthians 15:51-54]
When I think about that I feel indescribable joy – because God is good and faithful to his promise. Death is defeated and my Grandma lives! She is raised imperishable with a body and mind that work. Praise Jesus that she is home with him. I look forward to joining them one day.