J’s grandmother Beatrice quietly went home to be with Jesus on April third. She fought a long battle with cancer, and we are grateful she went home peacefully without too much pain. She was happily close to her three daughters, adored her twenty-one grandchildren (including the seven, almost eight grandchildren-in-law), and loved her five great-grandchildren very much.
Even though she once asked me to call her by her first name as I was, according to her, “one of the few people who pronounced it right”, I usually defaulted to calling her “grandmother” along with the rest of the family, and Richard, her husband, will forever and always be Granddaddy. I was the first of the granddaughters-in-law, and I always enjoyed discussions with Beatrice and Granddaddy.
She was the epitome of a southern lady – soft-spoken, strong, true to her beliefs, loving, loyal, and protective of her family. I so enjoyed hearing about the many things she did throughout her life. She also experienced incredibly difficult things which only served to make her stronger. Her relationship with Granddaddy was beautiful as was their story of redemption, a legacy that we will keep alive for our children.
I am so grateful that all three of my children got to meet her. Oldest and Quietest have very fond memories of visiting with her. While Littlest likely will not remember her, I have pictures of her – some from her young adult years that were scanned and shared with me – so that he will see and hear about her.
Please pray for the family as they gather this weekend to honor her. J and Em leave tonight to drive to SF for an early morning flight, and they won’t get back until Saturday evening. Their absences will be stressful on me and the kids, both because we will miss Dad and Aunt Em, but also because I just don’t do very well without assistance anymore. Things are dropped that shouldn’t be dropped, and my ability to cope with the basic stresses of parenting three children (much less schooling them and doing therapy!) disappears. Pray especially for our Granddaddy who misses his wife terribly, for Bea’s three daughters, and for all the grandchildren who will be gathering in Alabama to say goodbye. The fellowship with family will be sweet, but there will be a lot of sadness that will hamper the joy in seeing each other.
The following song has been a blessing to me many times over the last few years when death seemed to be waiting just on the other side of the operating room doors. I cannot listen to it without being so grateful for the promise we have: though we grieve here on earth, the ones who have gone before us have complete rest, no pain, and are experiencing the joy that comes in the presence of our Lord. We believers can truly have joy in the midst of our mourning.
It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears
O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die
It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore
Original Words by Henri Malan (1787-1864), Translated by George Bethune (1847), Music, Chorus, and Alternate Words by Bob Kauflin