17 August 2010

when we all get to heaven...

...ok, so I have a confession... Grandma requested this song...

for her funeral, but whenever I see the title "When We all Get Together", I get the song "When We All Get to Heaven" stuck in my head. Today when I was googling the songs, Walker came running out of his bedroom when he heard the one Grandma likes... and I forgot that he had been dancing and singing to it at Grandma's funeral. Oh she would've been so tickled to have seen that! He asked me to play it again and started dancing again just like he did then.

Without a doubt, Grandma loved her grandkids, and great grandkids. Her smile in this picture really captures her delight in her greats...I found this picture of her with Wilson today. One of the greatest blessings of my life is seeing my grandparents with my babies. I am glad I captured this (or maybe mom did?) moment. Grandma had a stroke shortly after Wilson was born, and I remembered wondering if she would ever get to meet him... Thankfully, she not only met him, she knew him. I am grateful for that gift!
I am also grateful that we were able to travel to Michigan for Grandma's funeral last week. Brad got the phone call from Mom late Friday night - well, early Saturday morning I guess. I remember shouting "wrong number!" to him, in an effort to get him to hang up and come back to bed. Whoever was on the other end wasn't responding to his "Hello?"

But Brad saw "mom" when he answered my phone, and he knew what the silence on the other end meant. And when I heard him start offering words of comfort to my mom, I realized it wasn't a wrong number. After talking to Mom for a few minutes he gave me the phone and he sat with me while I cried with her. I was shocked. Even after all the times Grandma has been sick and in the hospital, I was still shocked. Maybe another 34-year-old granddaughter would've been a little prepared. Not me. After talking to Mom for a little while, Brad let me cry and talk for awhile to him. He never once said, "Ok, let's try and get some sleep now." He just let me do what I needed to.

Saturday morning we were up and at it pretty early, we had an all-day adoption class (more on that down the road this is Grandma's post). I called Mom to check in with her, while also trying to get the boys some breakfast. When I walked into our bedroom, Brad was on the phone with an airline getting prices. I hadn't even thought that far ahead yet.

Brad just sensed that we needed to be in Michigan, I guess, because he never relented about getting us there. I am deeply grateful for his thoughtfulness, not only to me, but to my extended family as well.

He also took this fabulous picture of my sis, mom, and me. Really, I don't know the last picture of the three of us together that is a keeper - maybe that one with the monogrammed sweaters?
And this picture. Love it.

Grandma was such a great encouragement to me during Brad's deployments... she and Grandpa were married just a week or two before Grandpa shipped off for World War 2. And they didn't see each other again for years. YEARS! Knowing how their love grew even during a separation that depended on very slow mail, gave me confidence that God would take care of Brad & I's relationship as well. And whenever I saw grandma while Brad was gone, she would take my hand, and pull me in close and say "Honey, I've been thinking about you so much... and Brad too." Not only was she an encouragement to me during deployments; but she was SO proud of Brad's service. She wasn't just happy that he had a job and a paycheck and health insurance... she was proud of his choice to serve our country. And she let us know it.

I think Brad said that all of my aunts said to him that Grandma would've loved to have seen him in his uniform.
The day after the funeral we went up to "The Cabin." And although "The Cabin" has changed dramatically in the years that I've known it, what it represents has never changed -- family time. A special place to get away to, just to enjoy being with family. Over the last 9 years (?) or so it also became Grandpa and Grandma's home. It was a little hard going there, knowing Grandma wouldn't be there. I felt like I needed to, and I really wanted to. And I am so glad we did. The boys had a great time playing in the lake, and everyone came down to the water for awhile. Grandpa even got in the water and collected some rocks...
Its hard to put into words, but it just felt like we were all where we were supposed to be that afternoon, at the lake, enjoying each other.

Its hard to imagine what Grandma's passing must feel like for my aunts and mom. Even harder to imagine what Grandpa is feeling. When I was sitting with him at the funeral home, watching the video/slideshow, he kept saying, "The Lord has been good to us," "We sure were blessed." and he even mentioned that Grandma was no longer in any pain. I pray that God continues to remind him of their blessings and to comfort him with the knowledge that Grandma is pain-free in Heaven.

In remembering Grandma, I remembered the advice she gave me before Brad and I got married. She said this - when you have a fight, don't go telling your friends and family about it. Long after you have forgiven and forgotten they will remember and remind you. She told me that one of her aunts told her that before she was married. It obviously served her well, as she and Grandpa were married for 66 years!

I will miss Grandma, I will miss her for myself, and for my babies; for my mom, and my aunts, and my sister and especially for my Grandpa. But I know where she is... and I look forward to seeing her again someday.

God gave me a special blessing today.

Sometimes, depending on the book, I am a really s-l-o-w reader. Today I am finally finishing a Ravi Zacharias book called "The Grand Weaver." I've been reading this book for a couple of weeks now, even brought it with me to Michigan last week. Today I began the last chapter, and it has something to say about our destiny... and this paragraph just gave me a lot of peace about our longing for eternity:

C.S. Lewis describes a constant hinting of something else within ourselves by comparing it to the surprise we feel with the passing of time, even though time is a part of our experience. "How time flies," we say. Then Lewis says that such a reaction would be as anomalous as a fish expressing surprise at the wetness of water -- unless, of course, it were intended to live on dry land. Those words capture it well. We react to the speed of time because, deep in our souls, we are "created for eternity." Yet we have "a certain shyness" about talking about heaven perhaps because we feel we are too intellectually advanced for "fairy tales." Nevertheless, deep inside, our longing for heaven suggests its reality, all the time.


  1. Amanda. . . .that was beautiful, the pictures brought tears to my eyes and I'm so thankful you've been so blessed by awesome grandparents! a true Gift from God. I don't know what else to say. . . .as I can't see through all the tears. My heart breaks for your family yet is rejoicing too. . . .I love you! thank you for sharing your heart!

  2. Yes Mandy, that was a beautiful tribute to your beautiful Grandmother! You are fortunate to have loving families all around you! Thank you for writing that and I am so sorry for your loss. But rejoice you will meet again!
    Love you! Aunt Lyla

  3. Amanda,
    Another beautiful post, and well thought out and written words to express the loss and joy. Really, that is how it feels...we have lost our mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife, and friend, but what a legacy she left for us and what beautiful memories she gave us of family. Family has been the important thing for this group spending time and enjoying each other....no matter what our funny quirks are! Life is not going to be the same without Mom's calls, but death will be easier when it comes, knowing that she and the Lord have it all planned! Love you kiddo and really appreciate how much you and Brad have helped me with the struggle in my head!

  4. Your post is so sweet. It blessed me this morning. I'm sorry for your loss. I can't imagine. When my Grampa died this year it was hard, but not because I was ever close with him. It was hard because I didn't know where his soul is. Glad you have the reassurance that you will see Gramma again. Wish I could give you a hug, my friend.

  5. Okay, so I am totally bawling my eyes out after reading that post. That was such a sweet post about your grandma!! So sorry for your loss. It's tough losing a loved one. So glad you were able to come back to MI and spend some precious time with family.

    And the adoption class? Interested in reading about that!!!