( I don't have a picture of my grandma here, but really this post is for my own mum)
The week before conference, I was in church praying and my phone rang. It was my mum.
Just a few weeks earlier she had told me that my grandmother had had a seizure and that she was being flown to the states for a biopsy because they suspected a brain tumor. I remember being struck with worry, if you've ever had this moment happen you know the feeling. Its a cold snake in your belly that scares you, you suddenly wish beyond all hope, that this isn't real. Maybe its a weird dream...but you hear the quiet, deep worry in your mothers voice and know in fact, this is real.
I remember exactly what went through my mind when I saw her name on my screen; I had been irritable with the kids and was annoyed when my phone rang because I was pretty sure it was a lady calling for a ride who torments me to no end...I sighed loudly and picked up my phone and saw my mama's name. I knew she was in San Diego with my grandmother and I almost couldn't answer. What if my grandma had gone? I answered and I knew immediately something was wrong...my mother holds her emotions so well, always the strong one. And I could hear the almost breathless tone of someone trying not to cry. My grandmothers tumor was malignant...also not treatable. She had about 4-6 months left with us...could we pray? I remember talking a bit more then hanging up and suddenly tears were in my eyes and my heart was racing, its a strange pain.
I have only seen my grandmother a handful of times, but she has been the only grandparent I have known. My nanan biha. My beautiful chammorita grandma who had nine babies and lives for her Lord.
This next week I will be going to see her, and to ultimately say goodbye. It wrenches my heart to know that, I keep avoiding thinking too much about it because there is just no way to prepare myself for moment when we both realize I am saying goodbye for now...until heaven nanan biha.
Through all this, my mother has had to wrap her mind around losing her mother. I've heard the grief in her voice, the struggle as she tries to not worry while she is away, her mother always on her mind. How do you prepare to lose the woman who gave you so much? How to come to terms with that?
In this time, my mum has started a blog for her mama, letters from her heart. And it has really impacted me on such a deep level. My mother's childhood was not a perfect one, in fact if you've heard her testimony there were some awful things that happened, and in all this, my grandmother is struck by this horrible condemning guilt as she realizes she is going home. My mum is always mentioning how tormented my grandmother is by the past, wishing it would've been different and does she have enough time to make sure everyone knows how sorry she is? And it hurt me so much to think in these final days, my grandmother is not at peace. but what began to really hit me is just how gracious our God is.
You see, my grandmother really got saved about 30 years ago, her son had been murdered but he had just gotten really saved, and his life started a revival in my mama's family. And so begins the grace of God, Joel 2:25 " so I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts has eaten"
I know that there were some terrible hurts that happened before I knew my Grandma, but oh precious Lord, how that time has been redeemed.
In her years with Jesus, there is now a legacy so different than the one that haunts her. My Grandmother is a beacon in my mind, she is a pillar of what a Godly woman is. She is the one who prayed with the man who murdered her son after she extended her forgiveness to him in prison. She is the one who sings every morning with my grandfather, as they worship together and wait on God. She is the woman who loves deeply, everything about Jesus Christ, the woman who lives a life full of God. There is no dark spot on her reputation with her grand kids, no ugly scar to remember. The time before Christ was turned in at the altar, and given back to her spotless and renewed. And that is who I know now, this woman of God that I love so dearly, who's favorite scripture is Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?"
Grandma, nanan biha, you've done that. You have done what the Lord would require of you. And it has left an inheritance for your grandchildren who love you.
As I have read my mothers letters, I have realized the sweet grace that is in her words. The gentle ushering of forgiveness, as someone begins to journey on, that they need to hear so badly. And I am reminded every time, that there is powerful, cleansing, healing power in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. A hue of perfect white, only the Master knows the color of, and only He can give it. But give it he does. And now, as it is my mothers heart, and she reminds her own mother there are no wounds here...it is almost heartrendingly painful, but so tender to read the words of a daughter walking her mother home to heaven.
I love you Grandma. Hu guaiya hao Nanan Biha.