My grandmother Dorothy Hawkins passed away Thursday night so I have spent the last few days getting ready for her funeral. She lived a long life and survived cancer that left her with complications and a stroke that left her blind. We used to say that she was going to outlive the rest of us because she always seemed to miraculously bounce back. This time she had surgery to place a stint in her leg to increase the blood flow to her foot and it just proved to be too much.
It has been several years since I have lost a loved one and I feel like a am grieving differently. One difference is that Dot's death was not tragic or unexpected so the element of shock is removed, but the other difference is that I think I have a better grip on how our time on earth relates to eternity. I once heard a sermon where someone stretched a piece of rope across the length of a sanctuary and then made a mark in the center of it. She said that the rope represents all of eternity stretching back and forward as far as we can see and that the mark represents our very brief time here on earth. I grieve with hope today because I know that my grandmother was a follower of Jesus and that someday I will spend all of eternity with her which is infinitely longer than my time left here without her.
I am smiling right now as I think of all the things that made me grandmother unique. She spent much of her life in New Orleans and she loved her Cajun food. She also loved slot machines and playing bridge (I am not sure that God is going to let her gamble in heaven). Dot sewed most of my halloween costumes an always came up with the funniest things. She also dressed up every halloween herself and even dressed one year as the grim reaper. We laughed knowing that only Dot would show up at the retirement home as the grim reaper. She was a faithful Catholic and didn't give me too much grief about marrying a Baptist preacher, but did ask if a priest could stand in at our wedding so it would be official. That still makes me laugh to this day.
I will miss Great Dot and am sad that my kids didn't get to spend more time with her, but I am also thankful for the abundance of time that we did have as I have been saying goodbye to her for 15 years it seems. Like I said, she had this incredible ability to bounce back. Well I guess this time she bounced back completely as she walks in wholeness in the presence of Jesus. Farewell Great Dot until we meet again.