This past Tuesday marked three years since my Granny has been gone. After several long years of battling medical problems, she left this earth to go to her home in heaven. And after these years of not hearing her voice, it still hurts. While I loved my Granny very much, she had the most beautiful relationship with my youngest daughter, Peyton.
After Peyton was born, there was a time before I became a stay-at-home mom where I worked and needed someone to watch her. Granny graciously volunteered herself for the job. Four years later, after a divorce, I found myself going back to work and she became the babysitter again. Tea parties were held, breakfasts were cooked, and pictures were colored. During the time she was temporarily in a nursing home for some long term therapy, Granny would save her word search puzzles so that her and Peyton could scour over them together, looking for f-l-o-w-e-r and s-a-u-s-a-g-e or whatever the topic of the day was. While these visits were always special, their absolute favorite thing to do on the planet was to read to each other.
Granny would tuck Peyton into the crook of her arm, snuggle her up into her lap, and read all sorts of books to her. Many books held their interest, but the most sacred of books to read, for them, was the Winnie the Pooh set. Granny would bring the characters to life in voice as Peyton’s eyes danced across the pictures, anxiously waiting to turn the page to get to the next Hundred Acre Wood adventure. When Peyton learned to read, she would read it to Granny, who was so proud to watch her great-granddaughter thoughtfully pronounce each word, first with hesitation and then with the confidence of a skilled elementary school girl.
Those moments with Granny are precious to Peyton who lived it. They’re precious to my mom who got to witness this scene far more often than I got to. And they’re precious to me, because those are the moments that gave my daughter a love for the older generation that beats profoundly in her heart even now. Those moments are gifts that not everyone is blessed with having, and not one person in my family takes them for granted.
During the last hours of Granny’s life, my family was there to talk to her and tell her how much she was loved. And in the final moments, Peyton chose to honor Granny the best way she knew how. She pulled up Winnie the Pooh on my phone, held her hand, and read to her as she went to be with Jesus.
I wondered why God laid this on my heart to write, to share with you, and this is what He said:
- Love your family/guardians/foster mom/grandparents, etc. They can be annoying, impolite, and sometimes downright mean. Lord knows I can’t tell you how many times we’d roll our eyes at Granny for some rude thing that came out of her mouth, but the moments they do give you will be teachable moments, both good and bad.
- There’s no timeline on love. While someone you love may be gone and a new normal has to be found, it’s okay to miss them, love them, think about them, and remember them.
- Let others grieve them, too, in their own way. For Peyton, she likes to have one of Granny’s favorite meals on her birthday and on the anniversary of her death. For me, it’s a relatively private experience (until now). As a family, on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, our table is set with the unopened can of cranberry jelly that I forgot to open for her on our last Thanksgiving together. That can is three years old now, and I can’t bring myself to throw it out.
- God is good. My Granny accepted Jesus into her heart many years ago. Because of this, I know she’s in heaven, rejoicing and worshipping at His feet. There’s no greater comfort.
One day, we’ll see Granny again. Of this, I’m sure. And while we may or may not remember each other in heaven the same way that we know each other here on earth, I believe that we will still know the love we have for each other. You want to know why? Because Pooh was right; it’s a feeling, and it’s a good one.