Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Shadow of Death

MJ reminded me about Psalm 23 today, and it is amazing how a passage I have known my entire life--one that is traditionally associated with comfort during times of mourning--is still as relevant to me today as it was relevant to David thousands of years ago.

I don't wish to sound morbid, but the nature of death and loss has been indelibly imprinted in my thoughts lately. We buried my grandfather two weeks ago. And now, his wife is slowing slipping away, as well.

When I found out the severity of the situation, I called to speak to my grandmother today. My aunt answered the phone and held the phone to my grandmother's ear, so she could hear me. I told her I loved her. I told her I was doing well and shared a bit about my life. I told her I loved her again. She heard me, and had responded in little raspy-breathed moans to what I said, but I could not understand a single word. When my aunt took the phone away from her ear and spoke to me, she began to cry. My heart was heavy. But yet, tears did not come to me until after I had hung up. I don't know why I respond to sorrow with numbness. I don't want to. But then the tears hit me when I least expect them to. A sudden feeling of awareness stops me in place, and if I move or speak, or acknowledge that feeling, I begin to weep.

I wept Sunday night while at Aaron's. We were singing "It is Well With My Soul," and I could not bear to sing the words. I couldn't stop thinking about my Dad and how it is his favorite song. I couldn't bear to think about the pain he is going through, watching my Mom struggle with inoperable cancer. I couldn't bear to think about how that song, the song we used to sing as a trio--me, Mom, and Dad--as a special during church services, is now a song that can describe our family's fears and sorrows and pains.

I'm crying now, as I type this. I've never felt so vulnerable, and scared, and confused as I do this year. So much has happened.

I may well be attending my grandmother's funeral in the week to come. Hospice has come to help her, and she is barely able to breath. It hurts to hear her in this condition. I think back to the stories she told of her childhood ... of running freely through the woods like a wild child and playing impish pranks. I think of tales of her teaching my mother as a child how to can corn or pick raspberries. I think of her as a young grandmother, watching my brothers and I and teaching us how to blow large, rainbow-colored dish detergent bubbles that shifted and bulged and danced across the open air above the freshly mowed lawn while my grandfather tended his garden and pulled out fresh carrots to be watered down by the green hose so we could eat them. I think of her as frail elderly woman, still as opinionated and cantankerous as ever, telling us how to eat healthy and speaking out against errant grandchildren's crazy grown-up ways. I think of her grief-stricken face as she mourned the loss of her husband while clasping the folded flag given to her in his honor by the humble American Legion representative as the wind blew a storm in.

I love you, Grandma. And I'm going to miss you.

Dear God ... please get us through this valley. I can't see the way through these tears.

1 comment:

Ali b said...

Girl I am praying for you! I know how hard it is to lose grandparents. Love you!
Ali