Grandma G* died on Christmas Eve, two days before her 98th birthday.
I was highly aware that Christmas is supposed to be the worst time to lose a loved one, and she really is a loved one, and it was Christmas. I was aware that this not only complicated Christmas for my parents, who were out in the Midwest visiting the BroFam, but that this would deeply affect my father, because this is his Mother we’re talking about. I was also aware of not feeling anything myself. By which I mean anything, about anything–not sorrow, not fear, not happiness, not hilarity, not even a feeling as easy to access as annoyance.
I certainly didn’t feel “Christmassy” anymore (whatever that feeling is), although I had been gearing up to it before I got the phone call–but at the same time, I had this flash of realisation that Grandma G is now in a better position to celebrate Christmas than any of the rest of us left here. If there’s really a God, and He really became one of us so we could be reunited to Him–well, then, for Grandma G, that reunion is fully accomplished. It is finished. Or truly begun. She’s been moving toward this moment her whole life.
Some Christians think we die and immediately are transported to the presence of Jesus, and some think there’s some sort of holding area which we only get to leave after Jesus has come back here to get everyone else, and some people believe in Purgatory, and some people believe in a sort of unconscious stasis until the Second Coming and some people believe something entirely different, I guess. My own view fluctuates, but I definitely don’t think time works the same way on “the other side” as it does here, and so it didn’t feel remotely inaccurate or “wishful think-y” when I posted on facebook:
Merry Christmas, Grandma G. I guess the arms of Jesus are a good place to be celebrating both His birthday and your 98th. #loveyou
There’s this weird kind of tension in living when you know that (through no effort of your own) you’re going to get to see Jesus actually in person when you’re done getting to know Him and His love in this life. It’s not like you have a death wish, but waiting for the next thing might be kind of like waiting for Christmas. The Apostle Paul described it pretty well:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. (Philippians 1.21-26, ESV)
Apparently when TWCN and Smiley-Guy were told that G.G. had died and gone to be with Jesus, TWCN was excited for her. That’s my girl. She knows what’s what. So does Grandma G.
* In case you were hoping I was going to say something more eulogical about Grandma herself, remember, Memory Monday is coming up . . .