The way we see it, my Grandma decided to leave this world on Sunday that way she could spend her 86th birthday in heaven with the Lord, my Grandpa, and my Dad.
While I think my Grandfather's passing was a lot more unexpected than Grandma's, hers was a lot more of a relief. She had been suffering from dementia for a while, so there was a lot of people she didn't recognize anymore, and the stroke that she had had 15 years ago finally caught up to her. But as an old friend of her's said over the phone, "The Lord is Merciful." and he certainly is. She went peacefully, and my mom and the pastor were there.
It was hard to narrow down some specific memories about Grandma that were my favorite, but one of them was that she loved to hear me play the piano. I considered it a special treat when I got to come over and read through some of her music books, and she would give me some pointers along the way. Music was a big thing for her and I was able to be a part of this family tradition as well.
The second was that she taught me needlepoint. Yep, needlepoint isn't supposed to be "manly" or anything, but I'll admit I made quite a few gifts by hand over the years thanks to it and it was another thing my Grandma loved to do. She'd be happy to know that my brother recently took 3rd place in a county fair with some of his work, all thanks to Grandma.
The final one was a more recent one from a few years back. Grandma's speech had been going down hill and some days she would speak and some days she wouldn't. We had come out for a visit as the entire family and the girls were about 3. They always kept books with them and one of their favorites was a cardboard book that had a bunch of farm animals in it. Rylee had brought it over to Grandma to read. We put Rylee in her lap and with the best voice she could muster at the time, she read the book to Rylee. Grandma's voice was a little slow and crackly at times, but she read the whole book to her, and my heart melted. Not too many people these days have the blessing of growing up next door to their grandparents, and even rarer is some quality time with their great grandparents. I'm quite fortunate that both of these have happened in my life.
On Wednesday, her 86th birthday, we had a small service at her church. There weren't a lot of people there, but it was a small and sweet service. Amidst some tears we celebrated grandma's life, and the new life she has now. I was able to hear some crazy and wonderful stories from people that knew her a lot longer than I've been alive. I got to see some family, and it was a good time. Farewell Grandma. I'll miss you since you're not here, but I'm happy that you're in a far better place and that I'll see you again.
On a lighter note, this visit did bring a few additional smiles.
I think my cousin Maria put it best when she reflected in an e-mail...
Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.