Going Home for Christmas

Family Friday

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

26 December 1915 - 24 December 2013

26 December 1915 – 24 December 2013

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.


Portal, Stone Table, Empty Tomb . . . nobody just stays in the ground

Portal, Stone Table, Empty Tomb . . . nobody just stays in the ground

* In case you were hoping I was going to say something more eulogical about Grandma herself, remember, Memory Monday is coming up . . .


20 thoughts on “Going Home for Christmas

  1. I am sorry for your loss and I don’t know how it all works, but I know Grandma G is in an enviable place! I think that getting to go back to the all-that-is has go to be an amazingly awesome experience. You will see her sooner than you know,perhaps. Watch for the signs!

  2. I am sorry for your loss. It feels kind of strange to say I enjoyed this post (which is why I didn’t just click the “like” button, thus forcing you to wade through an awkward and clumsy comment), but I did like it. I have struggled during my life with how to feel about death and about the death of a loved one. I am still not sure how I feel, but I like the idea of remembering those I love in Jesus’s presence. It is beautiful and comforting … And the ultimate goal for all of us.

    • Indeed. I don’t usually analyse how TO feel about it, but I do always take note of how I actually feel about it. Grief, in this case, may come in time, but right now there just isn’t any.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Your family is in a very difficult situation loosing a loved one and especially at this time of year. Somehow deaths around Christmas time seem to be the most difficult to work through. I was once told that God doesn’t allow us to view Heaven because it is so wonderful we would all be killing ourselves to get there. I will be praying for you and your family.

  4. I know from my own personal experience, that when one has suffered so much in life, that death is more of a relief/release from her pain. The mother I knew disappeared so long ago, that I spent so many of her last years grieving that loss. By the time she died, Mom had long since “died.” I think I sort of get what you’re feeling. Still, I’m sorry for your loss. ❤

  5. I remember that when my father died on December 12 several years ago, that your father came to the hospital and tenderly and thoughtfully put the blanket up around my father’s neck, which is a memory I shall never forget. My father was not aware that we know of but it was comforting to me just the same. I also would like to say that after he passed on, I never cried until weeks later. I just felt “nothing” as you said. I guess part of it is the shock of reality of his leaving us but knowing that where he went he was welcomed. And of course, I am so sorry that you lost your grandma.

  6. My deepest condolences, and I have the utmost compassion and empathy for you. I wish my grandparents were still alive, and understand the kind of puzzling sorrow this causes when it is at a time such as Christmas. It’s as though it kind of throws you for a loop. Not that you didn’t think it was impossible or could have predicted it- there’s just something extra foreign about it- much like you said you did not experience any kind of polarized emotion. But you are right, better to have passed on the Lord’s birthday, on the most peaceful of all nights. God bless, and may you find rest and comfort during this time.

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