Mocha W/Linda is inviting us to re-visit our first memories of grief in this Week 7 of Flashback Friday. Come share your memories, too!
At 12yo while attending my grandfather's funeral in a tiny, fan-cooled Alabama Methodist Church, my attention was drawn to the tears streaming down my Daddy's face--I was seeing him cry for the first time. My grandmother had died 10 years earlier following a car crash when I was two. During Papa's funeral I was thinking of my one memory of her...my standing at her side while she was rolling biscuits. I remember wanting to know her better. I wasn't as close to my grand daddy...he was a little gruff and kind of scared me. My sister knew Granny VERY WELL and often shared her memories with me at night (while saying our prayers together in bed before falling asleep).
Our parents spoke openly about grief as a natural part of life, and those discussions led to talks about Scripture and Heavenly promises. The hope, love and promises Jesus brings us is my rock.
While a junior in high school, one of our favorite cheer leaders died after rupturing her abdomen (the rumors I had heard were she had been secretly practicing uneven parallel bars [against doctor and parental orders]). A vibrant 18-yo gone because of NOT LISTENING and BUT GREATLY DESIRING COMPETITION AND BEING INCLUDED...pity. Her passing sent a shock wave through our community, for sure...it was the same year Jim Croce died, I believe, and that hit us hard as well because he had come to our school for a concert the previous year.
My early impressions of death and dying were visions of 'just moving from one place to another...being in the sky on a cloud rather than walking on the ground.' I felt I could still talk with my Granny in my prayers...but, I knew she wouldn't talk back to me. When I was younger, you'd often find me walking around the graveside, balancing on the marble walls, walking along the granite rims of the graves, trying not to walk over the gravesides...and getting LOTS of sand in my shoes.
In May, we always attended MEMORIAL Sundays at these same rural, country churches. Days before the services, families would comb through the entire graveyard cleaning/updating the sand and gravel, sweeping the tombstones/retaining walls of any dust, raking leaves, or twigs that had fallen from the big oak trees. The withered flowers would be removed, then all the NEW, brightly-colored flower sprays be placed at the head stones and bouquet would be put in the brass urns Each May brought a full transformation of the old, dead graveyard to an almost-living celebration of each plot.
My other grandmother lived next door to a small country church--we'd be swinging on her screened-in front porch listening to their congregation before, during and after church services, weddings and funerals...singing their wonderful hymns. It was VERY peaceful.
She remembered seeing a funeral taking place one evening...packed with people overflowing out the back door while they sang their songs. A little way into the service, there was a great interruption.
(some clarity first: The little, old man had passed away while rocking in his chair...rigamortis had set in before they found him.)
Even though the funeral director had strapped him into the coffin to remedy his posture, the strap broke and 'he sat up' during his open-casket memorial...the CHURCH CLEARED!
Our daughter didn't attend funerals until my grandmother died in 1995...she didn't go to the church but was at Nana's house for the 'memorial meal' and visitation with the family after the funeral. We gradually had been discussing 'great granny's' death and her being gone. I would share God's promises from the scriptures and pray she was begin to understand the changes that come with life and death.
(I am continuing in prayer for Liddie, her family and friends during this difficult time of separation and grief...I wish I could have known "D" from all the wonderful times they had shared)
1. Where are my _reading glasses...How many times a day do I ask myself this question_?
2. If wishes were horses _I'd be riding on his back on a secluded beach enjoying the sights and sounds_.
3. I'd like to see _God's face with all my family and friends standing beside me as we dance into Heaven_.
4. When I was a teen, I thought _school was a great place to be because of all my friends and good teachers_.
5. One of my mother's favorite sayings was _"It's time to get uuuupppp! I loved sleeping in on Saturdays and she wanted me up no later than 9am, even on Saturdays._
6. I'd have a hard time doing without my _suv, which I enjoy so much because of its not-too-big size but enough to get all my 'thrifty' finds in each week_.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _hearing about DD's senior breakfast and finding out how many 'goodbye' letters she received from friends, teachers and family__, tomorrow my plans include _buying baby shower gifts and cleaning out all the dust from the workmen who are in my house today____ and Sunday, I want to _praise Jesus for the 'closing ceremony' and 'commissioning' of our Disciple classes having completed their 32-wee studies and the diligence of each facilitator__!