My grandmother, “Me-Maw”, passed away Sunday December 20 around 4:30 pm. She was 80 years old. A few weeks ago my mother admitted her to the hospital in Memphis because she was in so much pain. She had Parkinsons and Dementia, but she also had a disease called Neuropathy which no one knows a whole lot about but causes a TON of pain. My Me-Maw was in alot of pain for a long time, she just hid it and didnt complain much until it became unbearable for her. So I am glad that the Lord was gracious to her and brought her to the place of perfect peace, joy and rest. And even though its Christmastime, I am still rejoicing knowing that Me-Maw is celebrating Christmas in heaven. I know we don’t know alot about heaven for sure, but I like to think that Christmas is a big party up there, the best birthday party you can dream of times infinity. So she is partying with Jesus this week and I think thats pretty cool.
My Me-Maw and I were closer than most grandmother/granddaughters (I think). When I was small my parents divorced and my dad wasn’t in the picture. My mom had to go to work and do the single mom thing so I spent a great deal of my childhood with Me-Maw and Pa (my granddad who passed in 93). They helped my mom out a ton when I was growing up, and still did after she remarried when I was 11. But as I remember it, for the first 11 years it was mom, Me-Maw, Pa and me. I practically lived at my grandparents house until I was a teenager so I have a lot of strong feelings and ties to them that I think other folks may not totally understand. I even find it difficult to explain and I am not going to try to do that here. I am only attempting to pay a small tribute to my grandmother here and the hand she had in who I have become.
Its interesting, last night the pastor who will perform the service stopped by the house to discuss a few final details with my mom. He asked me if my grandmother had an influence on me doing mission work. I found that interesting that he asked me that. He didnt really ask me much at all but that was kind of a big question with great implications. I answered him immediately, that “if my Me-Maw had not taught me about Jesus and how to read the Bible, if she had not taken me to Sunday School and Mission Friends and GA’s all those years, I am certain that I would not have pursued mission work when I had the opportunity to do. She absolutely had a huge influence over my decisions to pursue missions.”
And even though she was so worried about me traveling to the places I have traveled for missions (and probably would’ve preferred that I stay put in the states), she always supported me and always told me she was proud of me. She let me fly and let me become the woman God was working out in me to be and helped me achieve those dreams in many ways.
When I first started out in my career I always took jobs that didnt pay squat. First a tv news reporter for a cable station in Atlanta and later a staff assistant on Capitol Hill, those are in no way lucrative positions. So as you might imagine I racked up a good bit of debt during those years. My Me-Maw helped me out with one debt in particular, back in 2002, and I promised I would pay her back. Well, yesterday while my mom was going through some of Me-Maw’s things, she found the check I sent to repay her, never having been cashed. ‘Thats what Me-Maw’s do,” she would say.
My Me-Maw is classy. She had style. She loved to dance and taught me to gitter-bug on the linoleum floor of her kitchen on Courtney Drive. She always had her hair done and dressed sharp. She had a sense of style all her own. She and my Pa even took square dance lessons when I was a kid. I often tell my friends of her “love story” between her and my Pa, they met and married in TWO WEEKS. That was back during World War II. Things were so different then. The met in Memphis and I find it interesting that after living all up and down the east coast with the U.S. Navy, they settled back in Memphis, where it all began. When they got married (quickly!) they didnt have any money so at their reception they split a hostess cupcake. In their honor, Brian and I gave out hostess cupcakes to the guests at our wedding in memory and hopes that he and I would share a love like theirs. (She married an Ohio boy, too, like me :-))
She’s made a lasting impact on many areas of my life and I will miss her so much. But I rejoice because I know I will see her soon, when we all get to heaven.
Thanks for letting me share a little about her with you. She was one fine woman. She loved the Lord, loved her family, and loved her church. I hope they say the same about me one day.
And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.
And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we have the Master’s word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they’ll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, The Message