Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grace in the Grieving

This has been an emotionally difficult week for both JT and myself. Last Friday, JT got a call that his Aunt Margie, his mother's youngest sister, had suddenly died.  At fifty-six, she left this earth without warning, without tarry.  A little over ten years ago, she battled lung cancer, losing one lung, and defied the six month odds.  However, in recent days, she was struggling, painfully, with the damage that radiation left behind...on her heart valves and her eyes.  Even more recently, a heart valve replacement was being considered.  When she did not arrive for work last Friday, her co workers of 20 years called her husband.  He arrived home to check on her only to find her unresponsive, performing CPR until EMS arrived.  Margie left behind three children 26 years old to 34 years old, three grandchildren, one unborn grandchild, a husband, 2 sisters, one brother, and her 94 year old mother... (plus many friends and nieces/nephews).  

While we ask, WHY NOW? we also praise the Lord for her life and thank him for releasing her from pain.  Yet nevertheless, I ache for my mother-in-law, losing her baby I am a big sister.  I ache for her grandchildren, because I grew up not knowing my paternal grandmother. I ache for her husband, because I, too, am a spouse.  I ache for her children because I, too, am a daughter.  But something new hit me with this loss.  I cried for Margie's mother, Mamaw, as we know her.  This is the first time I have had a child.  I watched her hang her head in tears through the funeral....her frail body shake with mention of the birth of her baby fifty six years ago.  This was the moment when "unfair" crossed my mind.  I can not fathom the depth of pain, her sorrow.  While God's plan is much bigger and better than ours, losing a child is not something that seems fair.  Now, I am a mother and I ache for her loss.  I hurt for all in Margie's family, but now I can hurt for Mamaw as well because I know motherhood.  

While hurting with the loss of Aunt Margie, I got a text Tuesday morning from my dad that my grandfather was not doing well.  He is 97 years old and has been becoming more fragile, especially throughout the last two years or so.  Then, the next morning around 6:45 I received a call from my dad saying my Granpa Stewart had indeed passed away.  I was post call (had been at the hospital about 24 hours at that time) and still had Aunt Margie's funeral that day.  I was sad for sure...hurting for my father's loss.  Yet, I could rejoice in my Granpa's passing.  He was suffering...He had lived 97 years, fathered 15 children (10 still living), had 27 grandchildren and many more great children...and great great grandchildren.  He was a blessed man, and one who had lived a full, long life. 

But there is grace.... Grace in that God saved these lives with His very son, Grace in the knowing they are with God....Grace in showing the fleeting moments are the most precious.  Grace in knowing watching your son put his underwear on backwards just because he wants to do it himself IS a special moment.  Grace in that time does illuminate the good times more than the hard times and the grieving times. Grace in the knowing we will get through.  Grace in knowing God Himself has grieved as well....

A much thinner and blonder version of myself in 2007 with Aunt Margie (far left), Sharon (my mother inlaw), Aunt Shirley (JT's late uncle's wife), Aunt Linda, and Mamaw (who was 91 at the time)  It was a great party, though I do not remember why because this family gets together for everything!

Me with Granpa Stewart the last time I saw in June 2009 as he rarely felt well enough to travel to KY but would do so for family reunions once a year for the last 30 years until this year.


  1. I'm sorry for your losses. Your words have conveyed what special people they were. Praise Him for giving us the grace to grieve!

  2. Hugs.
    I'm so sorry to hear of your losses.
    -Katie Hirsch