Wednesday, September 28, 2005

finishing that thought

"...He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces."
-Isaiah 25:8

sorry that i ended things a little abruptly yesterday... i was checking e-mail while i was writing, and i got a message from my dad that my grandpa (who has been struggling against cancer for the past 8 months) likely wouldn't make it through the day. i scrambled to finish my thought and then hurried back to the house.

i was a mess for a while. cami let me use her phone to call my grandparents' house. my aunt paula answered the phone, and when i told her it was me she squeeled "how are you?!?!" and seconds later my mom was on the phone. i was confused because it seemed like i was the only one crying. my mom asked how i was, and i managed to blurt "i'm sad" before beginning to sob. my mom told me that everyone there was praying for me (what?!?!!?) and that grandpa was so proud of me and would want me to be where i am. that, of course, didn't help me stop crying. then she put grandma on the phone. i have never been so amazed by that woman. she was so calm and confident. she started telling me some of the things grandpa had been saying in the last couple of days. he's been unresponsive for the most part, but every once in a while he has something to say. usually it makes everyone laugh, which he enjoys. i was cracking up when grandma was telling me some of it.

my favorite thing she told me is that the other day he looked at her and asked very matter-of-factly "do you know the way?" my grandma got sassy and said "well, where are you going?" he said "well, heaven! do you know the way?!" my grandma let him know that she had a road map and she would be able to find him.

then she let me talk to him. what do you say when you know you're speaking to someone for the last time? i told him i loved him and i was proud of him and grateful for the life he lived. and then out of nowhere i told him, "have fun!" i have no clue where it came from, but i actually think it was the right thing to say.

there was this strange air of celebration coming through the phone line. i've heard about this before, but i was always a little skeptical. we call death natural because it is a part of life, but it is the ugliest part. and though it happens in families all over the world every second of every day, it is always painful because it was never God's intention for us. but i could sense in the voices of my family that there was joy in this somehow. like i said, i was the only one who was crying! in my grandpa's last moments, they could already see that great promised redemption taking place. i finally saw that he was on his way to the very place we all long to be. he's going home!

i still haven't gotten the final word. i don't know if he's with us or with Jesus, but i want to close with a poem today.

please pray for my family, especially my grandma. love you all. - steph


Holy Sonnet X

Death be not proud, thou some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which by thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

-John Donne

2 comments:

jarabeara said...

praying for you steph.

Sarah said...

steph--i love you and miss you and i am praying for your family. it is beautiful to think that our grandpa will dance on the streets that are golden...having fun.

makes my long for home...

love you,
sarah