Celebrating The Grandmother’s Legacy of Love

October 21, 2022

For ten days time stood still … or raced while I stood still. The grandmother, (my mother-in-law,) was admitted into the hospital with congestive heart failure. This was her last journey, 24 hours in the hospital. Then we were in this time warp for another week while planning her funeral, a celebration of a life well lived.

When she was admitted into the hospital, I had hoped that she would live long enough for family to send her on her way with the knowledge of their love for her. That prayer was answered. She died a quiet, peaceful death, with loved ones gathered at her bedside. Who could ask for more?

I don’t know yet how I will feel about the grandmother’s death. Yes, there is an empty chair at our table. The daytime T.V. is silent. I no longer have an excuse, (if I needed one,) to stay home. On the other hand, sometimes I wanted to go out without making sure there was someone here to care for Grandmother. I feel embarrassed by this new sense of freedom. That is also part of the complicated feelings surrounding a death.

We all grieve differently, and we grieve each death or loss differently. Sometimes all that is needed is a recognition or an acknowledgment that it’s okay to feel whatever I’m feeling in the moment.

In the grandmother’s death I am not grieving a life taken prematurely; she had finished her work of raising a family and farming her farm. What remained in her elder years was to share love and joy and pass along wisdom.

In one way or another every faith tradition, as well as nature itself honours the cycle of life. New life emerges from death. The nature of new life isn’t like the life that has died. Even when setting aside my trust in a joyous afterlife for her, I can see how new life is emerging in me as I become reconciled to the Grandmother’s passing.

The Grandmother lived with us for close to five years. In that time, I have learned to live differently. I have cared more about the “home hearth.” I have gotten used to seeing my house neater and cleaner. I have reconnected with an early love of creative cooking. My life has been less frenzied and frantic. As I reflect on my changed lifestyle, I recognize new life in me … the Grandmother’s life, love and wisdom living through me.  

Gratitude Prompt: Give thanks for the legacies of those who have loved us and passed on.