Monday, November 29, 2010

She Went To A Shindig...

My grandmother loved a story better than anyone...  I think it's in all of our family's DNA because we ALL love a good story!  We often laugh about how the stories that circulate through our family get bigger and bigger with each telling (kind of like a really good fish story)...  But my grandmother left us with one last story that will never need embellishing, it is BIG on it's own...

On Thanksgiving morning she went to breakfast...  She was so excited because she was going to a "shindig"!  My mom was going to pick her up and they were joining my aunt and uncle (her son) at more of our family's house to celebrate Thanksgiving.

That morning, she went back to her apartment, put together all of her things because she was going to spend an extra night with my mom so they could go shopping on 'Black Friday.'  Pretty amazing for a 97 year old woman!  But on this Thanksgiving, God had something bigger in store for her...  She got to go home!  As she sat and finished getting ready to go, she quietly went to sleep and woke up in Jesus' arms...  My mom found her with her bags packed by the door, only where she was going, we don't need bags to travel.

My grandmother did indeed go to a shindig on Thanksgiving Day, a homecoming party beyond our wildest imagination...  She went to heaven.

I am sad, probably the saddest I've been in 12 years since my grandfather Pop died, but I'm so thankful for the years that God gave me with them...  I am thankful for the example they set for me, I am so grateful for the love they poured out into my life...

My grandmother taught me that people love in different ways...  With her, it was always a hot pan of biscuits, and fried salmon patties (some of my favorite)...  Often there was a big pot of green beans and some fresh creamed corn...  I never remember a time that there wasn't a bottle of Karo Syrup to eat with my biscuits and when she learned that Bama Grape Jelly was my favorite (and we couldn't get it where we lived) she always had an 'extra' jar waiting in the cabinet for me to take home.

None of the grandchildren ever have to wonder if she was proud of us because when we would go to visit, all of her friends knew who we were and EVERYTHING we were up too...  And I LOVED that!! 

My grandparents blessed me in so many ways...  My heart is so full of incredible memories of times spent with them and the people they loved.  Not only did I grow up surrounded by a wonderful family, including aunts and uncles and cousins...  But my grandparents also filled my life with wonderful people from their church and community who lived and loved like Jesus... 

As the memories roll past the window of my heart, there are so many that I wish I could grab hold of for a while and go back and visit...  Mayfield Chocolate ice cream in the evening... stringing green beans... roasted peanuts... My grandfather shooting pecans out of the pecan tree and then sitting around and cracking them in the evening...  'Styling' my grandmother's hair on the nights before she went to the beauty shop...  Manicuring her toe nails...  Dipping my fingers in the buttermilk and patting it on the biscuits (my small contribution to the best biscuits ever)...  Hanging out with my granddad at his grocery store...  Family reunions that were full of fun and laughter...  Trips to the beach...  My granddad teaching me to parallel park...  Running to watch the trains go by their house... Playing Skipbo with my grandmother... Hanging sheets on the clothes line and then running through them...  I could go on and on...  My grandparents left me with a memory full of smiles and laughter and legacy of love and faith that I pray will be passed on to my children.

I will be sad for a while...  Christmas will be hard without my grandmother...  Our next family trip to the beach will be difficult too...  But today, I don't grieve without hope...  Hope that because my grandparents knew Jesus as their Savior (and because I do too), I will see them again in heaven someday...  And until that day, I have great comfort in knowing that I'm surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses cheering me on to finish the race well...  And when that day comes, we'll have another 'shindig' that will go beyond anything we can dream or imagine possible!  To borrow the words of an old hymn...  "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be...  When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!"


Naomi said...

The timing for your Grandmother to go home is amazing. What a sweet and wonderful portrait you painted of your memories and times with her and your family. I will be praying for you as you grieve for your loss and the reality that you will not see her until you are in Heaven also. But remember that she does live on in all the memories you shared together and you can continue to pass on to others.

Thank you for sharing.

Blessings sweet friend,

Kirstin C said...

I am sad for you for your loss, but you are so right - what an amazing moment that must have been for your grandmother to finally meet Jesus.
Thank you for sharing some of your memories of her. Those are some great stories!

sierrasmom said...

What a wondeful tribute to your Grandmother. When I first heard I thought how sad it was that she left on Thanksgiving, but now I see the perfectness of it all!!I will pray for you as you face the difficult days ahead!!

Shannon said...

Thank you for writing down these memories to help my grief! I'm so thankful for sweet, dear Sharla....the best cousin I could ever be blessed with! I miss you especially during this season....hope New Years works out. Love, love, love you.