Saturday, December 15, 2012

At a loss

It's been a rough couple of days for me for several different reasons. Yesterday was the anniversary of my grandfather's death so that is always a sad day for my family. Thursday evening my husband's great uncle passed away and it has been devastating to his family. 

I've lost four grandparents and two other relatives in my life, but my husband's family has been pretty blessed. This is the first death that has happened in the eight years I have been with him. He still has five living grandparents and many more extended family members that are much like grandparents to the both of us. His family is just as much my own and I am hurting seeing them grieve over the loss of such a sweet and caring man. I think about myself when I think about his young grandkids. Several of them are around the age I was when I lost three grandparents and I will never forget those days. 

My mom said yesterday, "I can't believe he has been gone this long. I can still see him, hear him, just like it was yesterday. I hope I never forget that." I don't think you ever forget. 

I can still imagine sitting in my Grandpa's lap while he scratched my back. I'll never forget the smell of his button ups or the sound of his voice, a normally rough voice, talking to me so sweetly and telling me stories as long I would sit. I can taste the carrot muffin he would share with me at Stoney's after picking me up from Clarkesville Elementary after school. 

I can feel the way my Grandma hugged me. She was so little and frail but when she hugged you, she gave it all she had. I can smell her kitchen and taste her fried potatoes as if I just had them for breakfast! I can picture the walls in her living room, covered with photos of her many grandchildren. We would always count the frames and talk about the faces inside them.

I can feel the warmth and softness of my Meme's skinny little hands. I can hear the way she called my name, the same way at five and at fifteen. It didn't matter if I was sitting right beside her or darting into the ocean without my floaties. I can remember digging through her purse to find candy during church then falling asleep on the pew beside her with my head in her lap.

When I think about them those are the things I want to remember forever, not the sadness surrounding their passing. The sadness never fully goes away, but in time it is replaced by more and more comforting memories. Those good memories will last a lifetime as long as you let them. God knew what he was doing when he created us. He created us to be compassionate and loving and created a heart and head for memories. As long as you remember, you can keep them alive and with you.

I am crying as I write this post just like I cried all day yesterday watching the footage of the school shooting in Connecticut. This one really hit home for me in a new way. As a teacher we love our kids as if they are our own. I don't think parents quite understand how much their babies mean to us. I promise we do everything in our power to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. There are so many families who are hurting and lost after this tragedy and I can only pray the Lord comforts them in such a sad and confusing time.

Pray for those sweet babies who are home with the Lord this Christmas. Pray for their devastated families who have suffered a loss that no one should ever have to endure. Pray that the community can band together to heal. Pray for those who had to work that awful crime scene. Most of all pray for our country. We are lost and need guidance more than ever. I hope you'll pray too.

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