Today is a day I wish to sit and stare at the heavens, and somehow, hear the celebration of a life that has been and will forever be, worth celebrating.
Mema would have been 90 today. She left us just two months shy of this milestone that many rarely see. If only I could have watched her blow out the candles to her birthday cake, even though I know she wouldn’t have even realized we were celebrating a special birthday. Her birthday. I would have been able to capture the memory, even though she would have been unable to hold onto it.
Looking through pictures this morning, I found one of my favorites that was taken Christmas of 2000. My twins were only five months old. The expression on Mema’s face as she snuggles close to Austen is priceless. When she found out she was expecting her first great-grandchild, she was ecstatic. When my husband and I announced she would be receiving two great-grandchildren, she was over the moon. She wrote me a note at my baby shower for the twins. It’s a note that I keep in my bedside table, that I refer back to often. Sometimes I just need to hear her voice. In her words…
“My dreams were fulfilled when you and Darren told me you were expecting my first great-grandchild. Then the real thrill came when I found out I can hold one in each arm. Just can’t wait.”
The magnitude of loss is felt daily, but the hurt intensifies on days like today when her absence feels somewhat unjust. Yes, she lived a magnificent life, surrounded by loving friends and family members, but if you’d only known Mema, you would know she deserved 90 years more. She was a rare gem. One who lived through mounds of heartache after losing her husband in her early 50’s, the tragic and unexpected loss of her son in her early 70’s, and the debilitating monster of Alzheimer’s that eventually stole her away from the rest of us.
Why do bad things happen to good people? I hear that question alot. I’ve pondered the answer myself, but then I am quickly reminded that His ways are not always our ways. Mema’s life was constructed the way He intended. And in realization, I know her faith in God and that of her family is what allowed her to survive the anguish and grief that many people in this world allow to swallow them whole. She never once allowed it. Instead, she woke up every morning with the valid intention to fill her world with GRACE.
That’s a word that resonates with me more than any other word with Mema. GRACE. Without it, I don’t think she would have been able to survive the life that she was handed at times. Yet in each heart-wrenching instance of emotional and physical pain, she found it. And the smile on her face, and the tone in her voice always proved it.
In my heart I know her celebration today is one of unbelievable stature. After years of being without her beloved husband, her sister, parents and that of her son, she is finally gathered at the table with those she missed so greatly for so many years, slicing up a delectable cake, and sharing it with those that missed so many birthdays beside her. I believe her 90th birthday, without question, is the best birthday she’s ever had.
And in that I can find PEACE, because I know she is filled with immeasurable GRACE today.
With His Grace ~