Friday, 24 May 2013

Well Done

This morning my Grandma Cox died. Tommy, upon hearing the news, asked if she was already in heaven or if she was still "rising to heaven." It's interesting viewing this event through his eyes, because he is a little confused about our sadness. He keeps saying, "but the good news is, she's with Jesus, right?" And, if I'm being totally honest, he is also really hoping that she is hanging out with Jackie Robinson. A few weeks back when Grandma suffered the stroke that led to this, his response to learning that Great Gran was on hospice was as follows:

Tommy: If Great Gran dies she will go to be in heaven because she loves God and UCLA.

Me: Well, really it's just because she loves God, but the UCLA part is good too.

Tommy: Well, she will be happy to be in heaven because she can hang out with Jackie Robinson and he played for UCLA.

I know all the Trojans out there are shaking their heads at this slight theological misunderstanding, but Grandma Cox, a Bruin to her core, would have been proud at his conflation. She had a great sense of humor and that little anecdote would have made her smile.

Tommy is stuck on the tension between the sorrow of those who miss a loved one's presence and the knowledge that the person you love is with their creator and that they will spend eternity basking in His love and glory. He understands the second part, but he is having trouble comprehending what missing Great Gran will mean, because he hasn't experienced death personally yet. For those of us who have repeatedly experienced loss, we cry because we know about the void. We know about wanting to relate a story, or make a phone call, or give a hug to someone who is no longer there to receive it. Absence hurts.

However, if Tommy is going to get stuck on something, I want it to be the victory. While we will certainly be talking more about why sadness is appropriate when someone dies, I'm thankful that he can see the big picture; Grandma's death is our loss, but her gain. While I think it is easier to say these words about a woman who spent many years here on earth, who had lots of time to follow Christ and bear His fruit, and who experienced a physical and mental decline that made death a release, for anyone in Christ, no matter their age or health or how much they have accomplished, death is always a victory. As Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians, " live is Christ, and to die is gain." We were created to be with our Lord, and now Grandma Cox is with Him, worshiping Him, glorifying Him, she is without pain, without sorrow, and without tears. What a blessing. What a victory.

Grandma Cox leaves an impressive legacy. Four children, fifteen grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren (I'm counting the three on the way). Most importantly, her love for God has permeated the generations; she was a role model of faith, love, and wisdom. I will always remember her for her wit, her love of grammar (and pointing out grammatical errors), her quick mind, her generosity, her love and acceptance of all of her great grandchildren, and her compassion towards us when we were hurting. Grandma always had a bottle of chewable vitamin C in her cupboard, a full tank of Sparkletts, and a tin stuffed with Fig Newtons. She loved to travel, and I always admired her for taking off on her adventures, whether it was a trip to England or a jaunt up the coast with her dear friend Jaquie. For the last few years Grandma had not been able to get out much, but you could always count on her to greet you with a smile when you stopped by her home. For the past few years she has been lovingly cared for by two very dear women, Elizabeth and Jojo, and our family could not have asked for warmer or more compassionate women to assist her. Their care allowed Grandma to stay in her home until the end, which was her desire. Not everyone gets to die in their sleep, in their home, at an old age, at peace with their family and their maker. Grandma was blessed to do so, and we are blessed to be her descendants and to carry on her legacy. I am thankful that she chose to live a life worthy of emulation. As sad as it is for those of us who now live in her absence, I know that this morning she stood in His presence.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Well done.


Emily said...

I will also remember her hatred for marzipan. "Marzipan--Ick!"

Robin said...

Hello Amy and family. Your kind words about mom are a wonderful tribute to her life. I was writing to someone yesterday about mom and said, "She was a UCLA fan for 71 years which means she had her share of suffering in this life:-)". It will be amazing as we gather in June to celebrate her life and her and dad's legacy of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Our love to you and yours. Uncle David