My grandmother passed away last week. Even though she and I lived more than 700 miles from each other, I was blessed to be with her just hours before she took her last breath on earth. I also was privileged to feed her her last meal. It was a moment I will never forget.
I arrived at her nursing home right at lunch time, and there she was, seated in a wheelchair, slumped a bit, but awake. This was the woman who swam laps until she was 70, drove her own RV across the country for years after my grandpa died, and lived in her own home until she was 89. My visit with her marked the first time I’d seen her in 4 years and even though her body had obviously slowed, her eyes were still filled with life. Immediately she recognized me. That was a good feeling. I’d been warned that her memory was nothing like it had been in the past.
So we started in for her meal. Her voice was soft and scratchy, but I was able to understand her requests for water, applesauce, and her telling me that the fish tasted good. All of her food had been blended and I couldn’t help but think about the cycle of life. I was feeding my grandmother just the way I fed my own children when they were babies. Spoonful after spoonful. Encouraging her to keep going and eat more. Cleaning up the bits that slipped from the spoon and had fallen onto the chin, the shirt, or maybe even the floor. It was a long process, but it was precious.
It was an hour and a half long lunch. And little by little, I saw things change. The grandma who recognized me at the start of the lunch really didn’t know me by the end. She wasn’t connecting with the personal stories I shared and I slowly realized I was becoming “another of the care givers.” That was okay. I didn’t take it personally.
Then, out of nowhere, she was ready to stop eating. Her gaze into my eyes had glazed, and she quietly, but clearly, said five final words to me.
“It is time to rest.”
A nurse transported her to her room. Two aides carefully lay her into bed and she did just that. She rested. The next time she truly awoke, she was with Jesus.
Genesis 3:19 says: In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
Just 8 days after I fed my grandmother her last bite of bread, I watched her earthly body “return to the ground” (literally.) My husband was among the pall bearers. My children took home some roses. I reconnected with cousins I hadn’t seen in years. My grandmother’s body returned to dust.
There’s a good chance you have experienced some or much of what I just described. Losing a family member is never easy.
But there are two things I know about my grandmother, two things in which I am thankful and provide me peace.
She knew Jesus.
She left a legacy.
Knowing Jesus is key. Leaving a Godly legacy is like a set of keys.
At a prayer service the night before her funeral, many family members stood to talk about the importance of my grandma’s faith, and how it has already impacted the next three generations. My grandma’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are living examples of the fact that she knew Jesus. In their daily lives, they represent her Christian legacy.
So, as we said goodbye to her body last week, and rejoiced at the thought of her wholeness in Heaven, I am thankful to know that there is a part of my grandma that will remain evident on this earth. It’s that set of keys: the Godly legacy.
Joel 1:3 says: Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation.
Someday I will eat my last meal and I will be ready to rest from this earth. What will remain after I am gone? Someday the same will happen to you. What will you leave? I encourage you to think about how your decisions today can remain effective for generations to come. You will never regret choosing to follow Christ and your family will never regret the way you influence them to serve Him.
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