Today’s Love Showed Up post comes from the lovely Rachel Haas and it’s a topic that I hope you identify, that of grief binding together in love and memory rather than tearing apart.
Two days before I turned 23, my grandmother passed away. The circumstances surrounding her death were a whirlwind. It wasn’t expected, it all happened so fast.
I stood in our brand-new kitchen and clung to my husband while I sobbed. We had just talked on the phone the week before, Grandma and I. She had asked about my daughter and we had laughed over an inside joke. There was no goodbye, there never was one when our phone calls ended. Only a “see you soon, love you much.”
I texted my sister that night and we shared memories while tears dripped onto the screen. Everything ached. Grandpa had died when I was a teenager, and now Grandma was gone too. It was the end of an era. Nothing felt the same without her. I wanted to call her and tell her how sad I was. The missing was agonizing.
She wanted to be cremated. It had always been her wish. Grandpa had stayed on the top of the curio cabinet, among all the other pictures of loved ones. But now he and Grandma’s urns were placed side-by-side in the ground. Just their dust. Their souls were walking the beach with Jesus.
And so we gathered, all of us. All five of her children, all ten of their children, and their fifteen children too. Only six of us were missing. I wrapped my arms around my cousin’s wife for the first time and chased their toddler around the lobby. My one year old daughter met all her little cousins, who could not get enough of the littlest family member. My poor husband was dizzy with all the names and faces.
We were all there to remember Grandma.
At the end of the service, the family all stood together to sing the first verse of How Great Thou Art. It had become tradition at the funerals in our family. We’re a musical family, somehow, and it always seems to fit. We celebrate with song. We mourn with melody. It was just the voices, no piano in the background.
The love was tangible as it filled that auditorium. It was Holy Hands reaching down from Heaven to wrap us all up and hold us close. It was the most beautiful, the most heartbreaking, the most sacred celebration of life I have ever experienced.
Love showed up in the fingers of my family as we looped them together around the graveside, the air cool enough for coats. We stood around the plot and laughed. We must have been such an odd sight, the humor echoing off the stones. Love showed up for us that cold October day with tears streaming down our cheeks but smiling so big it hurt.
Love showed up in a cemetery filled with laughing mourners. Love showed up in a family gathered for the first time in years. Love showed up in connections and family love growing in bigger circles, like ripples in a lake from the stone Grandma and Grandpa dropped. Their legacy is still spiraling out.
Love showed up because there was no goodbye. There never was any goodbye.
See you soon, Grandma
Love you much.
Rachel Haas is a Story-writing, caffeine-consuming, paint-flinging, wild-at-heart Jesus craver. She is married to Jonathon, as she has been for the past four years, momma to Marian, and wrangler of an oversized Great Dane and two cats who are relatively bonkers. She dwells in between Midwestern cornfields where she pours her heart out in lowercase abandon. You can connect with her on twitter, Instagram and her blog