I haven't been around death that much in my family. Benay and I have been blessed to still have both of our parents and they are all in good health. Our brothers sisters, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins are all alive.
My dad's parents were killed in a car wreck over 30 years ago. I was 9 then and can still remember them but only bits and pieces because of the short amount time I spent with them.
My mom's father passed away almost 20 years ago. Because of the fact that I was able to have a few more years with him and be able to see him more it really was tough when he died. I can remember my dad walking with me outside the funeral home as I just wept like a baby.
I wish I could have had that closeness with my dad's parents but, as you all know, life doesn't always work out like we plan.
My mom's mom lived by herself for a while and then she moved in with my parents around 15 years ago.
We called her "Grandma" until my sister and Benay and I had kids. Somewhere along the way our kids changed her name to "Mammy."
I got a call last night around 11:00 from my dad telling me that Mammy had gone to heaven.
Mammy was 93 and had an amazing life. I might share some things (photos, cool things) about her in the future. I would like for you to see this woman and not just read about her.
For now, I ask that you especially pray for my mom, her sister and her brother in the loss of their mom.
We have all been blessed to have so many years with such a Godly woman.
A few years ago my dad had open heart surgery. We got the call in Brasil that it would happen the following day. I immediately went to the airport to catch a flight to the states and was told that the last flight out just left. I was depressed to find out that I would have to wait until the next day. We then got a call that they moved the surgery back one day. A Christian brother of mine, who travels frequently, hooked me up with his travel agent in the airport. I got the quickest flight out to the states and was even able to go with my brother on the same flight to the states. I knew that I would miss seeing my dad before his surgery but hoped to be there when he got out.
When I got off the plane I was told that my dad's surgery was moved back again. I was able to get to the hospital, give my dad a hug, be with my family and pray together before he went into the surgery.
To this day I believe that God allowed all of that to happen so that I could be with my dad and family before the big surgery.
Why do I share that? I feel like God did it again with Mammy.
We were scheduled to come back to the states in December instead of now. About six weeks ago we decided to change our trip to September.
We arrived in Memphis last Thursday. Benay got to be with Mammy on Thursday. I waited until Friday to go because I had a little cold. Mammy looked very different. She had lost a lot of weight and she wasn't clear on everything but she knew who we were.
On Sunday my mom, dad and I took Bronwyn, Ansley, Garrett, Carys and Anderson to see Mammy. She smiled when she saw the kids. She could not stop holding Anderson's hand. She wanted to kiss Garrett and she joked a little bit with Bronwyn. It was important for me to allow our kids to say goodbye and for Mammy to get to see her great grandkids one more time. I want our kids to not be afraid of death. As Christians, I want them to always be reminded that death is not the victory and we should not be afraid of it.
God blessed us with just enough time to say our goodbyes to Mammy. It was a time that none of us will forget.
I spoke to my dad later and he told me that he could see a peace wash over Mammy after talking to our kids. Almost like she was waiting to see them before she moved on to be with Jesus.
Six years ago former NFL quarterback, Trent Dilfer, lost his 5 year old son to heart disease. I couldn't think of anything more painful than to lose a child. Especially at such a young age. What impressed me about Trent Dilfer was his faithful comment right after his son's death. He said, ".......we are comforted in knowing that as a child of God he has returned to his maker. We grieve, but not as those without hope.''
We are, obviously, grieving the loss of Mammy but we know we will be with her again in heaven.
I thank God for what Mammy has meant and will always mean to my family.