“for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” the preacher once said. There is ” A time to be born, and a time to die.” (Ecclesiastes 3).
When I was young, I used to dread visiting my grandmother’s house after school. It was very boring and she always made me do the most oppressing chores. I would have to take out the trash, help fold clothes, and occasionally, I mean every once and awhile, get the mail. You can imagine the extensive amount of time and energy I would exert completing these tasks (not much). It was a great burden to complete these things (it really wasn’t, I was a pretty slothful character back in the day). But, I knew that it was a great help for her.
Over the years, as I grew in stature and strength, I visited her quite often. Sometimes I would bring food and other times I would just provide her with company. She really appreciated these small gestures of kindness, as did my grandfather and myself. As we both grew older, she grew sicker a weaker as I grew stronger and gained much more health. It was really funny actually, she would ask me the same set of questions over and over not remembering that she had asked those same few questions our last visit. She was not very bright, but she was very kind, loving, and charitable. In short, I loved her with all my heart.
Recently, she began having seizures which lead to her breaking multiple bones. She did not fall, in fact, she was sitting when she had these seizures. Her bones were so weak that when her muscles contracted so suddenly that they would break under the pressure. She broke both her shoulders, and one of her legs. I visited her the first night in the hospital. She was very weak and could not move her arm towards her mouth. She had to practice breathing. Her husband, my grandfather, would stay with her multiple nights comforting her and helping her.
Over time, she was transported to a rehab facility where she got along great with the nurses. By this time, she was able to bring her hands towards her mouth and feed herself. She seemed to be doing much better. But she kept commenting on how the morphine was making her crazy. But overall, she seemed to be doing very well.
Later, when I was at work polishing tables, my manager told me that I had a call on hold for me. I made my way over to the phone and dialed 51. My mother, on the other end, told me that she had just passed away. At first my thought was “why are you telling me right now while I am at work?” I was frustrated at the timing but soon realized that my family needed me. I went and spoke to my manager and he let me off of work early to minister to my family.
I arrived at the hospital at 9:12 AM and went to the second floor in room ICU #8. I met my mother outside a room. She brought me into a room where most of my family were sitting down mourning. Some were in tears. Others were just quiet. I asked my mom ‘where is she?’ She took me to the room where her body lay. I stood there and began to cry as I looked upon my grandma’s lifeless body. I touched her face.
My mother and I spoke for sometime about the situation of others. She thought that she would live another 15 to 20 years. I anticipated her unhealthy condition though and estimated another three to five years. But no one expected her to die today. In my mourning, I found hope and peace, I thought to myself of a scripture in Ecclesiastes. I remembered all the great memories that my grandmother and I shared. I loved her. I loved the time I spent with her. But those times on earth are now over. Old live moves on and new life will be born. That thought gives me great comfort.
So for now, as I coast through life, I will remember the old life that God has given me and love the new. The “Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away” (Job 1:21) and frankly it was her time to go I think. I thank God for the gift He has given me. He has given me my beautiful grandmother, who is dead, and now it was her time to be taken back. She was truly an angel in my life.
But with such an understanding view of death, I now have a greater appreciation for life. I do not fear death. Whether my death or a friend’s death. But death comes as life comes. That is something I will never forget.
With Christ, she will rise again.