The week of September 1st was full and I did not have time to sit down at the computer - a couple of days I never even turned it on. So Thursday, September 4th was going to be my day to post on my blog, read friend's blogs and catch up on emails. I had just dropped off my 4 year old at his class and was heading back to the car when Jeremy called.
He was calling to tell me that Granny had passed away sometime in the night. Granny had been in the hospital before her birthday, but had been feeling stronger and much better for a week or so. Her daughter Carolyn had been staying with her for the week and they had a wonderful visit. On Wednesday, Granny and Carolyn had spent the day shopping and had a very special conversation before bed. How amazing to go to bed and wake up in Heaven! That is exactly the way Granny would have wanted it.
The next two days were filled with contacting family, making funeral arrangements and just being together as a family. Sunday (9/7) evening was the viewing, I could not help but think Granny would have loved visiting with everyone. Her three remaining siblings were there (two from AZ and one from MO) along with other out of town family and friends. It was like a big family reunion that evening - she would have been smiling from ear to ear. As she would say these are "my people" - she loved and was proud of each one of them.
Monday (9/8) was the celebration of her life. Granny's nephew Brad (who brought his mom from Arizona) shared stories from what Granny's siblings, nieces and nephews remembered about their Aunt Delia. Her son-in-law Billy (Carolyn's husband) sang "It is Well With My Soul" and lead us in singing "Blessed Assurance". Jeremy's brother Cameron shared a beautiful tribute that he wrote called "Reflections of a Matriarch". Former pastor (in the copper mining town of Morenci, Arizona where she raised her family and also where Jeremy and Cameron were born) and family friend Hubert Conway shared about the Delia he and his family knew and why she was so special to them. He closed with something Granny would have wanted - he shared the need for Jesus in our lives and how to accept the gift of grace that Jesus gave us all when he died on the cross. At the end of the service Jeremy sang Chris Tomlin's Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone). Granny had expressed to him on a couple of occasions that she would like him to sing at her funeral. It was hard for him (as I know it was for all of those who were involved in the service) but the Lord carried him through and it was great.
The service was full of laughter and tears and I am happy that those who were in attendance learned a little more about the Granny we all loved. All 5 grandsons served as pallbearers - she loved each of them unconditionally and thought each of them were special in their own way. After the service in McKinney the family drove to Oklahoma for the burial. It was an intimate time for just the family. While we were at the burial my thoughts were on Heaven - knowing Granny is there worshipping God and loving on her family members who were there to greet her when she arrived. I am so thankful that I have the assurance that I will see her again someday.
I have to thank my parents for watching our two youngest boys during the funeral and then all three while Jeremy and I were in Oklahoma. They were in town for the week visiting us (they also accepted a position at a church last week that will allow them to move back to the DFW area. They will be less than an hour away. We are excited!). They loved Granny too, so we appreciate their sacrifice of not being able to attend the service.
Granny adored each of her great grandchildren (they felt the same way about her!!) and she had told us before that she was a little sad knowing she would not be able to see who they would become as adults. She knew that God has great plans for them, but her biggest prayer was that they will serve God with their lives and ask Jesus into their hearts. She would want me to share this picture of a few of them - I can just hear her joyful laughter now as I remember how she would beam with pride and love as she would watch them at family gatherings.
The rest of the week was spent helping Jeremy's mom go through Granny's apartment. I am so glad I could be with Vicki during this time - it was so special to talk about Granny and look through the things she cherished. Granny kept journals - decades and decades of her life recorded - what a treasure! Sloan and I looking forward to reading them someday. She had boxes of pictures, loads of fabric, lots of cookbooks and other special things that we can use to tell our little ones about her as they grow up.
As a "granddaughter by marriage" I will cherish the many stories that she shared with me about her full and wonderful life. She loved all of her "granddaughters" as though we were born into her family. She was an inspiration to me and I was so blessed to call her Granny. I loved her and am so thankful for the 15 years I was able to spend with her. I pray that I will live my life as she did, loving the Lord with my actions, time and money, loving and praying daily for my family and living each day to the fullest. Vicki found an old proverb that Granny had written down in her Bible. She lived her 88 years by these thoughts. These words made an impression on me, so I thought I would share them here.
"This is the beginning of a new day. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss- good, not evil- success, not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for today. "