grandma b's funeral

The funeral was a sweet, sweet time of family. I kept thinking Grandma would have loved it.

I cried the hardest while the whole family was gathered in the basement of the church before we walked in for the funeral. Seeing us all together and knowing that it might just not happen ever again, was a death I was grieving, just as much as Grandma's. Obviously I'll see all of them over and over, but it won't ever be the same. Death to a chapter in life, I suppose. I know this from Grandma and Grandpa Harrington's deaths. I miss that we don't all drive to Waverly for Christmas and wander around HyVee and Walmart the day after Christmas with Uncle Mark and Aunt Jane. I miss lingering over the continental breakfast in the Super 8 before heading to the nursing home. I just miss that chapter. And I know something similar is about to change with the Bredbergs too. I am most sad for that.

My cousin Daron gave a great talk on Hope and Humming, reading Psalm 108 and telling how one can't really hum unless they have a deep peace inside of them. Grandma hummed all the time, no matter what she was doing. And that was an outward evidence of the joy and contentment she felt on the inside.

My cousin Mark told a story at the wake. He told about how Grandma had a way of making ordinary moments feel special, and how on the night before his wedding at the farm, they found the dress shirt he was going to wear the next day in the clean laundry. Grandma walked the shirt over to Mark's mom and asked her if she would like the honor of ironing the shirt her son was going wear the next day. Mark said his mom would typically pay no attention to such a small task, but somehow the way Grandma presented the shirt made the ironing feel important, sacred. And so she ironed the shirt and she still talks about how special that was for her, how much love and care she took and how Grandma helped her see the holy in the ordinary.

That's what I'm going to miss the most, I suppose. Grandma was a quiet work horse. Always a project. Always turning the ordinary into something sacred.

It was hard for me to really be sad about Grandma. There was time for closure, and many had a special moment of prayer, a verbal blessing, a heartfelt farewell. It was time. I feel very badly for my cousin Kathy who is expecting in May, that Grandma will never meet her first baby. And actually I feel most badly for Kathy and Sarah. Grandma was basically a second mom to those two, always folding their laundry, at every game, involved in every 4-H project. I was keenly aware of how different their grieving must be from my own. I was definitely the city mouse and they had grandma in the country. And now to have Grandma miss meeting Kathy's firstborn...I can't imagine how hard and disappointing that must be.

Her funeral was so full of Jesus and why we are here, and what it looks like to live a life for all the right reasons, focused on the truly most important things. Dad preached and did a really excellent job. Got in a political comment, just enough to make the whole family laugh/squirm, and somehow even that felt right.

I didn't get to see her apartment emptied out. I think that would have been helpful. Also, she didn't look like herself in the casket, I didn't think. Her lips were spread too wide. She definitely was not in that body anymore, that's for sure. During the wake she was in one room and the family was in another all together, laughing, eating, talking. And when I went to her casket I felt so convinced that I was touching a shell. The party was in the next room over. She would have been by the food.

Just one closing thought. I have shared a few conversations and emails with friends talking about how they wish they had such a family. And I guess I have two responses: 1) I wish you did too. and 2) This family is far from perfect. But the truth remains that love and forgiveness fill in a whole lot of hurtful places, because this family knows the Lord. And what is so inspiring to me, is that somewhere, generations before me, a husband and wife decided to bend a knee and made a promise, "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And now, because of some great, great, great, great grandpa and grandma, I am living in the blessing of a Christ-filled family. There are hurts a plenty, but there is even more grace. That's the difference. So to the friends who wish their family behaved something like the Bredbergs, I guess I'd say, bend a knee. And you'll get be the great, great, great, great grandma or grandpa to some great, great, great, great grandchild like me one day. And she'll be unable to find the words to thank you for the gift you have given to her.


Jamie Willow said...

I love all the things you have shared about your gram. I especially loved your closing thoughts in this blog post...I think my mom started the legacy of godliness in our family and it is my prayer to continue it on with my boys. And it does come down to grace and bending our knees...

I'm so sorry for your loss, but it is good you have such a wonderful silver lining to get you through your grief...she was a wonderful woman.

marta said...

becca, i'm so sorry to hear of your great loss. grandmas are such special people, i am saddened to hear of her death. i hope you and your family are feeling peace at this time.

i popped by to say that you've won my giveaway of my christmas poster; if you'd like the download let me know which size and i'll email it to you!

sarah in the woods said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I was only around her a few times, but she truly knew how to make someone feel welcome and special and loved. I wish i could have been there