I just returned from the Women of Faith conference in St Louis last night with all four of the other HobKnobbers. I love these women, and two-plus days with them just served to make me more deeply admire and respect all of them. Brave hardy souls, one and all, making their way on this journey with a tremendous amount of grace.
The speakers were very good, the worship music was very good, and I got to see my most favorite Christian singer ever, Nicole C Mullen who, judging by the jumbotron, is roughly 8 foot tall and whose magnificent arm definition inspired as much envy for us all as her incredible voice.
We had the most amazing Holiday Inn concierge of all time, Brett, who not only gave us stellar recommendations for an Italian restaurant in St Louis, but wrote us explicit directions, highlighted a map, and called ahead to make sure they had a table for us.
It was pretty much my intent to write one of those nifty, uplifting positive posts upon returning to “the real world” of laundry and dishes and the continuing effort to get Madeline to really commit to the potty as her sole method for relieving herself. But I didn’t know that I was not only returning to the world of laundry and potty training, I was returning to the fallen world. The world where death sometimes jumps in without warning to separate us from the ones we love.
Anyone who has known me any length of time has heard me talk about my grandma, Gigee. I was a weird kid. (I know–major shock there.) I’m not sure my parents were quite sure what to make of me, and I tended to state wild and crazy intentions. Like I wanted to grow up to be all sorts of outlandish, unrealistic things: an actress, an Olympic gymnast, a ballet dancer, a writer. And I think Mom and Dad felt like it was their duty to set me straight and keep my expectations “realistic.”
Gigee felt no such duty. I love my parents and I know they love me. I love my husband and I know he loves me. But aside from Jesus, the only person for whom I’ve never, ever doubted their absolute, unquestionable love for me was Gigee. I suspect she would have loved me had I turned ax murderer, but she never passed up an opportunity to tell me how special and how smart and how all around good she thought I was.
Please excuse me if my grammar gets a little sketchy in this one.
I’m currently blessed to have a lot of encouragers in my life. But I am down one really big one as of yesterday. My grandmother, Olivia Pearl Atha Gaines, passed away yesterday afternoon. I don’t know details yet. I don’t know when the funeral will be. Yes, I’m a mess. Yes, I would appreciate your prayers. Yes, I’m bawling currently as I type this.
I know it will be okay. Even now, when my stomach is knotted in grief and my heart literally aches for my loss, I’m grateful for Gigee. I know where she stood with Christ, and I know she’s with Him now, and with Pop, and with her beloved children, Sammy and my mom. She’s not sick anymore, and frail (which never fit her powerful personality). The lupus that attacked her skin is gone and her beauty restored. She’s not going to blow up the house smoking while on oxygen (I swear to God, I really thought that was going to happen).
There is a much longer post in this than this, but I have neither the time nor the emotional ability to write it at the moment. Chris is making breakfast, and then we have to go down to Monterey. Just need to write this last.
Last week or two, on two or three separate days, I had the very strong feeling that I needed to go visit my grandma. I called her, and told her I would be down as soon as I could, but we’d had nonstop plans for a month now, every weekend. But I still had this feeling “Leave work, take a day, go down to Monterey and see her.” But I didn’t. I’m blessed that there was nothing unsaid between us, but I know that I got a warning, and an opportunity to see her one last time, and I passed it up.
Please, please, take a moment to at least call someone in your life who you know may not be here much longer. Not tomorrow, and not later, now. Better yet, if there’s any way you can manage it, go see them.
God bless– will be back when I can.