"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
As many of you know, my Grandma passed away a few months ago. She was ready to leave this earth after almost 86 years here, living the good Christian life that she had. I miss her each and every day. I miss the quick daily phone calls, just to check up on one another as much as I miss the long, deep conversations we still would often have. She was my "go to" person in my times of need. Yes, I was married to Mike and now Kevin, but Grandma "knew" me from birth... all the joys and all the hurt in my entire life. Because I was raised by my grandparents, I had a deeper relationship with her than most people would with their grandmother. I could talk with her about anything and she would not necessarily need to give me advice. Her listening ear was always enough. She could just listen and say, "oh, honey... oh, honey..." Just hearing her voice and knowing she loved me like she did was enough. She had a sense of calming to her. I knew she loved me with all of her heart and could comfort me in my time of need.
Saying all of that, she is the one who introduced me to Jesus when I was a child. I have needed Jesus from day one. I found out just how much I needed Jesus six years ago today when Mike died. Grandma was the person to call me on that day to tell me the news. As I traveled down the interstate with excitement to be going on my daughter's fourth grade field trip, I got the call. I will never forget her words to me. I thought that day, as I stood along the road, "How am I going to survive?" I have. I am a survivor, I am an overcomer. I have made it to the sixth anniversary of my husband's death, an anniversary I thought was not possible standing there that day. I couldn't bear the thought of driving home and not seeing my husband again. How was this possible? My good life, a great husband with three daughters, living the American dream... boom... gone?
Grandma became my rock after Mike died, or at least I thought she would, however instead she pointed me closer to Christ. In my previous blog posts I have mentioned how I seemed to put Mike above the Lord as my rock, until he died. Grandma knew me, remember, my ENTIRE life... she knew my fears and she knew my needs. She came in alongside me and helped me, but led me closer to the One who could take my fears away and heal my broken heart. She didn't try to do it herself. Being a mom, I know we want to take the pain from our kids, but we can't sometimes. It's through our relationship with Christ that we can guide the hurt to the Healer. And, for me, that is what she did. We would sit up for hours on end sometimes at night (she stayed overnight with the girls and me often) and talk and cry. There were so many days that I would think, "How could I live without this woman?" There were times when I never would have wanted to live without her here with me, but I am. And, I am okay.
As I go through my day, thinking back on "the day Mike died", I will find a glimpse of sadness in my heart, I know. However, it's not where sadness stays and resides. We had a wonderful life together. I still get to look at our daughters each and every day and see him in them. I will be praising the Lord today for Mike, my Grandma, and the healing that has happened in my spirit, soul, and body since that day six years ago. I serve a God that loves me so much and only wants the best for me. Today, the best for me is being with family and friends that love me and our girls. A few weeks after Grandma died, my oldest daughter said to me, "Mommy, you are okay. This isn't like when Daddy died." It sure isn't, not at all. Grandma was ready to go to eternal rest; Daddy was raising a family and loving life here.
Her words made me think about grief, though. What is "normal" grief? Everyone grieves differently. We need to respect that we are all different and that is okay, as long as it is a healthy grief, not staying in the sadness every moment. I am blessed to have the gift of a second husband, one that comes alongside me during days such as this. He is not jealous of Mike in any way and is always there with a shoulder to cry on or anything else I need. With Grandma not being here now, I can walk in faith knowing that I have "grieved well". Without Mike, and without Grandma, I am a survivor, I am an overcomer.