Sunday, June 6, 2010

Watching the Birds

I spent today with my grandma.

It was a hard day.

Over the last couple of weeks my daily visits with my grandma have consisted of random hallucinations and spurts of rage. She has been mad that she is sick. Mad that there are children doing construction in the middle of the night. Mad that she can't be at home. Mad that there are cockroaches on the walls. Mad that we don't see the cockroaches or the children. Mad that she is not with her husband. In Heaven.

It has been hard seeing her change. It is hard to be with her when she is not herself, but it is worth it to be there in the moments that she is.

Most days, when she has calmed down, we sit, sing to her favorite album of hymns, and watch the birds.

Right outside her window there are bird feeders. They attract many kinds of birds. Red, blue, brown, gray, yellow, big, small, you name it.

They are a beautiful reminder of a beautiful God during an ugly situation.

Today was a different kind of day.

The will to be angry has left my grandma's body.

She is weak. Too weak to eat. Too weak to drink. Too weak to talk. Too weak to be angry.

We sat together and sang her favorite hymns, over and over again. Her words were just jumbled up sounds, but she sang her heart out.

She tried to talk, but other than a few words only mumbled sounds came out. I understood her call my grandpa's name several times. And I understood, when as clear as day, she shouted out "Glory Hallelujah!"

I couldn't see what she was seeing, but as I sat and watched the birds I could see a sign of Heaven right outside that window.

Today there were not many birds. No blue jays or robin red breasts, sparrows, or finches. Most of the usual visitors were no where to be found.

Today there were only two birds at my grandma's window.

Two doves.

My grandpa loved doves, and doves loved my grandpa's gentle spirit. Growing up there were always doves around my grandpa. Sometimes even sitting on his shoulder.

God couldn't have given a better sign. A reminder of peace and love and the beauty that is soon to come for my grandma. A sign that God never leaves us nor forsakes us.

So today was hard. Not the kind of hard the last few weeks and months have brought. It was hard because she was herself. And I know that there are not many moments left to enjoy her here on earth. And I will miss her.

As I watched the birds today and was reminded of the glorious and beautiful home that lies ahead, my grandma, with her mumbled sounds, sang her heart out to this song:

"So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown."

And I know Jesus understood every word.


Mark Langham said...

Reading this brought tears to my eyes and three scriptures to my heart.

Psalm 116:15 (NLT) The Lord's loved ones are precious to Him. It grieves Him when they die.

And my grandfather's two favorite scriptures, though he passed recently, when I think of him I often quote them.

Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.


Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.

Thanks for sharing your sweet granny with us.

Rebecca said...

Mark- thank you so so much. She went to be with the Lord (and my Grandpa :) just a couple hours ago, so I couldn't have recieved these encouraging words at a better time.

Mark Langham said...

You're welcome.

Brigid Stoops said...

i have been with all 3 of my grandparents when they have died, even though each one had a very different relationship with God, but each death was very similar and reading about your grandma was like reading about my own experience, the calmness, the "other state" they are in because you KNOW they are working hard to be with the Lord. Those doves were a beautiful sign of God's ever last life in heaven. I am sorry for your loss and thinking of you durring this time

Rebecca said...

Thank you Brigid. She really was working hard to be with the Lord. Heaven was all she hoped for the last 14 months since my Grandpa died, and seeing her finally go was so bitter sweet.

On another note- I know you probably won't be doing the 1/2 marathon now, but I started meeting with the crew on Saturdays, so hopefully I see you out there sometime :)