Thursday, December 21, 2017

Lost and Loss

I am trying to process my trip to Arizona. I knew my Grandma was close to her end, but couldn’t make it down when she was still in control of her life the way I had last seen her.
In fact, I was faint with hunger when I landed in Tucson but was advised that she had almost passed away as I landed and I had better hurry over.

I arrived as soon as I could manage and she held on for me, but could barely move her eyelids open to see me. She had suffered mini strokes, leaving her unable to share her delightful laugh that bubbled up out of her every time before.
I can still see the sparkle in her light blue eyes as she joyfully filled our lives through her small acts of service. She always took great care with every task and paid attention to the smallest details.

My Aunt brought her guitar to the care center and we sang and played and spent two hours after visiting had ended, singing Christmas carols, hymns she loved, and even some modern worship choruses. We had harmonies, laughter, and sweet fellowship. My sister was still there, having given up a week to be sure my Grandma was being cared for properly (she’s an RN) and she was able to address some major concerns. We harmonized just as we had so many times before. Both my Aunts and their children were also there as well as my Mom and one of my Uncles.

A nurse came by and we asked if we were too loud. She said,”No. You can scream for all I care! You are singing Christian songs!”

There was something special in the room that night. I may never totally understand, but my Grandma was glowing. She had such a relaxed expression in her mouth and her brow was smiling even though she couldn’t open her eyes.

The next morning, she was much different. It was as if she was in a deep coma and couldn’t acknowledge our presence anymore. My Mom and I looked up hymn lyrics in Spanish on our phones and sang for hours. I spent some time alone by my Grandma’s bed, stroking her hair and holding her hands, praying with her.

We went to the small church she had attended for the last 15-20 months. The pastor and his wife drove to my Grandma’s home every week and took her to church. After she fell in October, they visited her faithfully. Another visitor at the center commented to me “You have an amazing pastor. He would play songs on his phone for an hour and sing along, holding the phone by her ear!”

Monday, my Grandma was the same. My Dad flew in, and we spent more time singing at her bedside.
Tuesday she was still stable, so we made the journey south to see my other grandparents. We had almost reached their town when we received the call.

It was hard to process the words. I knew what they meant, but I still cannot digest them.

You see, my Grandma is not lost. I have not lost her. I am experiencing loss, because we are separated by a fathom I cannot cross, but I know where she is. I know that I will get to join her. I have a hope and a joy mixed with a jumble of knots in my stomach and throat.
I am laughing and crying and quiet and wanting to shout and in the midst of all of it, it is well with my soul.

All around me are the jingle bells ringing and bright happy Christmas pictures and lights and I want to lose myself in them and I also want to shut them out.

I last saw her nine years ago and she wasn’t much for long phone calls, so my recent memories are few and far between, but I mailed her photos of my girls every year and tagged her on Facebook so she would be able to keep up.

I won’t tell you that I lost my Grandma, but I am definitely at a loss right now. At a loss for words, I am fine and then I am not. I can breathe, and then I am fighting to keep back the ocean from my eyes and voice.

“Jean was my Grandma, her heart was to love.
 She taught about Jesus, who came from above.
 Her life was the Gospel, she served and she gave.
 She’s on Earth no longer, she’s not in that grave.
 Goodbyes are disgusting and awful and hard.
 They pierce through my heart like a jagged glass shard.
 But someday I’ll join her and we’ll dance and we’ll sing,
 reunited in Heaven and worshipping our King.”



  1. sorry for the sorrow but glad we all know she is rejoicing!

    1. Gina,
      thank you. Yes, she is. I have been taking a break from writing, but am trying to come back again at least once a week. It's so good to have you here!

  2. I love you, Tammy. Thank you for sharing this with us. May God pour out His comfort upon you all.

    1. Marie,
      thank you. I do feel so loved by you. I am joyful in anticipation of that day we finally sit and sip tea and do absolutely nothing and thoroughly enjoy each other's company! :)
      You are a blessing to me.

  3. Oh, dear Tammy. God ensures that nothing good is ever lost.

    I hold to that; I hope you will, too.

    1. Andrew,
      blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Thank you, my friend, for your comforting words. As I am reading them tonight, several weeks later, they are bringing tears to my eyes because you keep slipping closer to heaven as well.
      Thank you for your enduring friendship. I am so thankful that we will finally get to meet in person on the other side of glory-and we'll be weightless and carefree. That sounds wonderful tonight.