Hally ~ My Grandmother ~
I Miss You!
A grandmother is a special person and it is very hard to accept the fact the Lord is calling her
home.  My grandmother's name was Hally ~ but most of her life she was known as Maurgerite.  
She became known as Hally during her stay in hospitals and nursing homes.  I am going to
share some of the memories and how I dealt with the grief before and after her death.

My grandmother took care of her husband, cat and herself until the spring of her 95th year.  
Then, things changed rapidly.  One night, I received a call that my grandparents were fighting
and my step-grandfather was hurt.  Mom and I were shocked to find my grandmother had bitten
her husband Milo (my step-grandfather).  Mom took Milo to the hospital and I stayed with
Grandma.

I sat on the couch and wondered where the years had gone.  My grandmother asked me if I
was hungry.  I told her no.  She asked me several times if I was hungry and then finally she
decided to fix herself something.  After she had her snack, I talked her into going to my parent's
house. My heart was breaking to see my grandmother who once cared for me and tucked me
into bed now was unable to care for herself.  I had to help her get ready for bed.  I knew in my
heart this was the beginning of the end.

My grandmother was unable to return home.  For the next few months she lived with my
parents.  This was not an easy adjustment for my parents or grandmother.  She had dementia.

I tried to focus on the good memories such as the afternoons when she was able to sit in the
back yard in the swing and talk.  I will cherish the memory of her sitting in the little church (I
pastor) and telling the people:  "Now come back and bring a friend."  Grandma always
supported everything I chose to do.

Soon, my grandmother became so weak and helpless, that the nursing home was the only
choice.  I cannot explain the pain I felt as I saw her laying there so helpless in the hospital bed.  
My grandmother had everlasting love for me.  I would come and visit her and she would say:
"Well, it's Kimmy."   Mom and I would pray with her and we tried to make her as comfortable as
possible.  But, it was just heart breaking because she would say: "Help me. Help me. Help me,
Joyce Ann (her daughter)."  Mom and I did everything in our power to keep her comfortable.  At
one point she was starving to death.  So, Mom and I insisted on a feeding tube being put into
her stomach.

Toward, the end of her life, we had to change doctors.  I had her transferred to a nursing home
in Newton, IL.  Now, I knew death was coming and I was about to lose my best friend that I had
in the world.

I spent time thinking about all the wonderful childhood memories I had with her.  For example,
as a young child I would sit on the stairs and play train ~ going to far away places.  Only a
grandmother would stop what she was doing and take time to play with a child.  As I sat next to
her hospital bed at night, I would remember the good times we had.

I had been praying that if the Lord would not heal her, that he would take her home peacefully.  
A few weeks before she went home to be with the Lord, Mom and I could hear heavenly music
coming from her body.  The angels were preparing her for the final trip to be with Jesus. I knew
she would soon make that final journey because she came to me in a dream.  In the dream she
was much younger and she came to me and said, "I'm going on a journey, but don't worry.  I am
fine".  Then she was gone.  I woke up from the dream and prayed asking God to give me
strength and peace to accept what his plans were.

A few weeks later the Lord told me not to let Mom go to the nursing home that afternoon.  So,
Mom called the nursing home to find out how Grandma was doing and they thought she was
better.  So, Mom agreed to come up later that day.  Death can happen at any moment.  Within
an hour, Mom received a call that Grandma had gone home to be with the Lord.  Mom called
me and we drove to the nursing home together.  I loved my grandmother so much.  She looked
so peaceful that I knew she was in the arms of the Lord.

God knew it would have been tough on Mom and I if we had been there.  So, he sent the
angels for her and took her home.  We told her we loved her and saw her in the nursing home
for the last time that day.  I was not grieving for my grandmother ~ I was grieving because I was
left behind and I had lost my best friend. She was in a better place with Jesus.

I am an ordained pastor and I wanted to preach the funeral because that is what Grandma
would have wanted and no one else would have cared as much as I did.  I prayed to God to
give me strength to be able to preach the funeral at the graveside services.  Grief comes in
waves ~ I would be absolutely fine and then a sobbing mess the next minute.   I sat in the
funeral home chairs sobbing until it was time for me to stop being the grand daughter and to
start being a pastor.

This was the first funeral I had preached.  The funeral director came to me and asked me to
pray before we went to have the graveside services.  So, I stood up and the Lord strengthened
me.  I prayed and then we went to the graveside service site.  I stood there in front of the crowd
and read scripture and then shared with them about eternity and that I knew Grandma was at
home with Jesus.  But, did they know where they would spend eternity?  I reminded them that
Jesus (or death) could return at any moment, so they should make peace with the Lord and
family.

After the funeral, relatives and friends told me it was a beautiful service and thanked me for the
message that caused them to think about eternity.

It has been over eight months since Grandma went to be with the Lord.  As I said, grief comes
in waves there are days that I will remember something she said or did and if I allow it to
overtake me, I will become extremely depressed.  But, when this starts to happen I make sure I
keep busy helping others.  God has a plan for me to use this grief I have felt to reach out to
others.

As a pastor, this grief experience has given me more compassion for those who have lost loved
ones ~ especially for those who didn't know the Lord.  This also made my desire to share the
good news of Jesus with others even more urgent because death can come at any minute.

If the Lord calls a Christian home, they are like a caterpillar that is released and turns into a
beautiful butterfly ~ which is their heavenly body.

Here are a few ways the Lord has helped me deal with grief:  Pray for peace, ask the Lord to
comfort you, read Psalms 91, keep a journal ~ write down memories and current feelings, make
a list of things to be thankful for, volunteer (nursing homes, hospitals, hospices and schools are
always needing volunteers) and take care of yourself by eating balanced meals and getting
enough rest.

Trust in God ~ he will see you through!
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