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Lessons from the Life and Death of a Rose

My Grandma recently passed away.

Rose Marie Sanders was her official name, but we all called her Grandma Rosie.

She was a special lady.

She was admitted to the ER and a week later went home to be with Jesus. It was a long week. It was a hard week. And yet, amidst the tears, there was laughter, reflection, memories made and shared. It got me thinking about her life and how much she impacted me and my family in so many ways. It also made me think about death as well. I’ve never been so close to someone dying before. It certainly brings a clarity to things. It’s a journey we will all make one day.

So I would like to share memories and thoughts on her life and death and how they both impacted me.

Lessons from the Life of a Rose

You have been blessed, so be a blessing.

Grandma didn’t have an easy life by many standards. She came from Poland when she was a little girl, during the depression, the youngest in a family of boys. Her mother died when she was young. She had two children and was divorced some time later. But despite all that, I never heard her complain. She always considered herself blessed. And she was always quick to bless others. She was extremely generous!

Not to say that she didn’t love a good bargain. She taught me the value of finding a good deal and I remember being so excited to share with her when I would find one because I knew she’d be so proud.

Grandma was a hard-worker. But she never seemed to be in a rush. She was always serving, or putzing around, but she was never frantic or frenzied. She was the first to help with sweeping, cleaning or dishes. She never shied away from the dirty work. She was always there, helping.

She didn’t consider herself entitled to things in life, but she accepted what was given to her and enjoyed every moment. Thinking back has been a great reminder to me of what these verses look like. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly, will also reap sparingly and whoever sows bountifully, will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV. She was a cheerful giver and that’s what I want to be too!

Family is important.

She also spent time with us. A lot of time. As a kid I remember going on more walks with her than I can count. And she went on vacations with our family almost every year as well. I remember playing ball with her in the yard. And I just remember her always being around.

I know that’s not an option for every grandma out there, but I am thankful that she was there, and it’s a good reminder of how important family is. And it’s also a great reminder of the impact you can have on a child, whether you realize it or not. I don’t think she ever told me anything profound with her words, but her actions spoke volumes.

Lessons from the death of a Rose

In her last days I was there with many other family members. It was difficult to see her non-responsive and in pain. I wasn’t sure what to do or say or what to think. I just wondered what was going on in her mind. Was she conscious? Was she asleep? Was she feeling and thinking? What about? I won’t know, and by the time I get to ask her, it won’t even matter.

But I know I learned a few lessons from this experience.

It’s good to just be there, even if you don’t know what to do or say.

I was unsure at first what I should do. Part of me wanted to be there, but it seemed silly because I couldn’t do anything, and Grandma was not alert anyway. I wasn’t sure what to do or say when I was by her side, but I went anyway. And I was so blessed to be there. Just being surrounded by family. Us just all being together, remembering Grandma, thinking about all the stories from our past, looking through pictures, building new memories, even as we mourned the loss about to take place. It was good. It was good to be there. It was hard, but it was good.

It was a great reminder of what family is about. We aren’t perfect and we won’t get it all right, but if we stick together, life is so much better. I think Grandma would have been happy to know we were all there.

In the end, all that matters in this life is how prepared you are for eternity.

While many would cling to their loved ones and not want to let them go, we were praying for God to take her quickly. I distinctly remember my cousin crying out to her to just go home already after a hard bout of coughing and trouble breathing. We were all thinking it. “Lord, please, take her home. Give her peace.” It was hard watching her body stop working.

When I sat with her and I didn’t know what to say or do, the bible was my rock and all I could go to for comfort. I read to her out loud, but I think I was more reading to myself. The Psalms were amazing and so applicable. I tried to think as I read them about what would be especially meaningful if I was about to be face to face with Jesus, and it was amazing what stood out.

“But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.” Psalm 5:7

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6

“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” Psalm 17:15

There were so many more, but this is just a tiny sampling. But even these declare God’s goodness and steadfast love. A reminder that she would wake from this life and be satisfied with the likeness of God, she would receive a beautiful inheritance and fully comprehend the steadfast love of God in his holy temple. Wow. I can’t wait to go too.

And I couldn’t help but think about how people mourn who don’t have the hope I do. I know my Grandma is in heaven with Jesus. I know she is no longer in pain and is experiencing more joy than I can comprehend. I know I will see her again one day. Do you know that about yourself or your loved ones? Would you like to?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

If you have any questions or would like to know more about how I can have that security, feel free to contact me or comment.




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