We all are printed with an expiration date.
But it’s printed in invisible ink & only God knows the date.
photo by Helene Dujardin, May 18, 2012
September 11, 2012, was my dear Grandma Jones’s date & God called her to her eternal home.
Everything happened so very suddenly. She had been in fairly good health, but she suffered a massive brain bleed & less than 18 hours later, she was gone....
Ironically, she collapsed into the arms of a dear friend at the very end of a choir practice. Since she never regained consciousness or any responsiveness, it comforts me to think that she actually left this world at the end of one of her favorite activities: singing.
For the visitation, prayer service and funeral, I was able (with tremendous help from my sisters & parents) to create four 24"x36" photo collages as a tribute to her memory. They show just a fraction of her well-lived life, but I could not NOT make them. While they aren't perfect, they are a labor of love, finished in record time, with minimal amounts of sleep, and with many tears. I was too overcome with emotion to speak at her prayer service or funeral, but I could show my love for her & how much she meant to me through these images.
This loss has been unbelievably difficult on me. I have cried more tears than I knew possible. She was not just my grandma, but like a friend too. We had so many adventures & I already her tremendously. I take comfort in this: she had a deep faith in Christ and I am 100% confident I will see her again in heaven one day.
I wish that perhaps she would not have gone quite so quickly... so that I could have said goodbye. I wish I had called more often. I wish that we been able to spend more time together in recent years, but alas, my living so far away made that impossible. I wish I had asked her more questions about her life, more questions about the stories behind all these pictures we found.
Following the funeral, I was fortunate to spend a couple weeks in North Dakota (hence my unexpected absence from blogging), helping my mom and grandpa with things like: organizing the house (trying to unearth & organize as many old pictures as possible!), making freezer meals for my grandpa to have on hand, writing some of the thank-you notes to the unbelievable number of friends & family who showered us with cards, memorials, food, and flowers. I am grateful for the time we spent together (and thankful to my amazing husband who was willing to have me away for so long).
I am now back in TX, trying to figure out what “normal” life means.... Bear with me as I work through this grieving process. I need to take some time for me. Please keep my family in your prayers as we go through this difficult time.
My challenge to you, my dear readers (if you’re out there), is to tell your loved ones how much you love them. Call them (often). Write them (email, text, old-fashioned letter writing). Visit them, whether in person or via a webcam. Tell them how much you love them & how much they mean to you. Look through old photos. Find out their stories. Write down the stories.
We never know our expiration dates.