Today is my grandmother’s funeral. She was 88. She was 5 feet tall which always seemed so miniscule compared to her spunk, sass, stubbornness, and sense of humor. For years, I said I would one day write a book filled with quotes from her. You never knew what would come out of her mouth next, and she had no problem letting you know what she thought nor sugar coated anything.
My Grandmother died of cancer. By the end, the cancer had spread from her stomach, to her pancreas, liver and brain. She died a painful death…a death that no one would want to go through. But, she also lived a life of 87 years, before cancer overtook her body, with health and vitality. She would climb up onto her roof in her 80’s (Not during the 80’s but IN her 80’s) and clean out the gutters. She would garden, mow, and work in her yard daily. The things that were important to her, she did. She was able to do them. That is one of the greatest gifts God can allow you to have…Health.
Today I celebrate and honor the life of my grandmother. I am thankful she had health for so many years. I am thankful she did what she loved each day. I am thankful to have known her and loved her. I am thankful she is now free of any pain or suffering. I am thankful she no longer has any fear or anxiety. I am thankful she gets to meet Jesus, and I’m pretty sure she will give Him an earful. I am so thankful to have had a grandmother who loved Jesus. While my grandmother was dying, I was reading in Ecclesiastes. It reminded me that there is a time and season for everything, and how life and death are so intricately woven together. Death in this life, births life into eternity.
Whether you are grieving or rejoicing in your life today, know we serve a God that oversees every season of our life. From our last breath on earth, and on into eternity, He holds us in the palm of His hand. I am unable to attend my grandmother’s funeral today. I made the decision a month ago to travel and see her alive so I could tell her goodbye, hug her one last time, hear her voice, and sit in her house and take it all in…a final goodbye. I very much wish I could be there, but was able to write a tribute to her that will be read at the funeral. It is posted below if you would like to read it. In the end, love deeply, love passionately, love others the way God loves us. Enjoy the little things. Take no moment for granted. Until we meet again Mamaw!
“Ruby Whitson was known and loved by many. She was a wife, mom, sister, friend, grandmother and great-grandmother. If you wanted to find her on a Sunday morning, there would be only one place to look. She would be sitting in the pew at church, singing in the choir, or singing a solo worshipping Christ. Ruby spent most of her life serving within the church. She and her husband Rev. Jack Whitson put their heart and soul into the church. They would leave early Sunday mornings to pick up those who had no way of transportation to church, so that they too could join in fellowship with others. She never wanted anyone to miss a Sunday service, including herself. She was a pastor’s wife who served daily alongside her husband, visiting the sick, cooking for those in need, and serving her community. Her love for the Word of God influenced many of her life choices and inspired her to read the bible through a couple of times each year.
1 Peter 2:11 says “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among all so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.”
Ruby, is now celebrating with those who have gone before her, and her heart’s desire would be the same for everyone reading this. Know this world is not your home. Live your life for Christ and know she will be waiting to celebrate with you. She will be missed by those who love her dearly, but we celebrate her arrival into eternity where there is no more pain and suffering. We honor the life she had on this earth, and our hearts are comforted knowing we will see her again in heaven. Until then, we will cherish the memories of her time on this earth and rejoice in knowing this is not the end, but only the beginning. She is free of sickness and disease, and is seeing the face of her Savior, the one she lived her life serving. What a glorious moment that must be!”