I am writing this post with no idea where my fingers may lead me. I have my Bible next to me. I’m dressed in work out gear as I just finished a intense HIIT session. And I feel good. But 30 minutes ago, I was a wreck.
Yesterday morning as I was chatting it up with my big bro, I received a voicemail from my father. As soon as I hung up with Robby I check it. It was silence for a good 7 seconds before I heard my father murmur the words, “Gladys, call home.” My heart sank. I knew that voice. I knew that tone. I was sure of what I was calling into. Death. The death of my grandfather. A part of me wanted to believe maybe he’d just gotten worse, or maybe they had a scare. See, my mom and dad had moved my grandfather into their house to care for him as he was in hospice battling cancer. An aggressive cancer. It had attached itself to his lungs, his spine, his liver and his brain.
I hesitated to dial “MOM” on speed dial. My fingers quivered. I wasn’t afraid of the news. I sort of knew it was coming. I was afraid to hear my moms voice. These past few months of me visiting to help out, I had witnessed her strength and her sheer exhaustion. And I could only imagine the level of heart-break she was experiencing at this moment.
I took two more deep breaths. And clicked “Mom Cell”. The phone rang the longest it ever has. As soon as I was about to hang up, my mother picked up. In a voice that can only be described as the epitome of pain, my mother said “Gladys”, She took deep breaths and finished, “Grand-dad just passed this morning.” All I could manage to squeeze through my vocal chords was, “I’m so sorry mom.” I couldn’t comfort her. There wasn’t a thing I could do on this earth to bring her peace. There were no words eloquent enough to soothe her pain. Everything my brain thought to say, my mouth refused. So I sat quietly, as my mother sobbed on the other end of the phone. Finally, she said she had to go and we hung up.
Suddenly, I became a robot. My brain had no idea how to react to this news. So, I cleaned. I took a shower. I texted my church family and my husband to tell them the news. My husband came home and I completely blacked out on our conversation. And then I became angry. I don’t even know what I was angry at. But I do know, I couldn’t cry. I knew, if I’d cry, I would break completely down. And my mama needed me, her strong and efficient daughter. Not a unstable person.
I spent yesterday in a complete daze. At the end of the day, I laid in bed and asked God, “Why am I having a hard time with this? Why can’t I cry?”
And that’s when I noticed. This was the first time I’d lost someone I was extremely close to. I’d never experienced this sort of loss. And it hurt. It hurt to know I’d never feel his hug again. I’d never hear him say “Hey Lil’ Bit” again. I’d never eat his smothered pork chops or chilli or dressing or cake again. I’d never be in his house again, sitting on the couch watching baseball or the news. I wouldn’t have the 10 minute conversations that turned into 2 hour history lessons. I wouldn’t smell his cologne again or hear his chuckle.
I miss my grand-dad.
After feeling my heart break in my chest, I heard the Lord say, “And Give me this pain too.” That’s when it hit me, here I am trying to be strong for my mama and God is requiring my broken and contrite heart. I was heart broken but I served a God that said he came to heal the broken hearted.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
And suddenly, I had hope. Hope for myself and hope for my family. And I began to remember that my granddad knew Jesus. And that I’d get to see him again, because he was with God with his glorified body, not in pain. Not riddled with cancer. Not delusional. But just up there chillin’ and worshiping.
Psalm 51: 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
And with that knowledge, I was able to sleep. Then I woke up. And reality hit again, that he was gone. I was so sad. The tears finally began to flow and it took a while to get them to stop. I had no energy or will to do anything. I just wanted to sit. But oddly enough, I heard God again. And He said, ” Do as I have told you. ”
You see Monday morning, before I had gotten the call and before I had spoken to my brother, I was in prayer. And in prayer I had decided I wanted to honor God with my body. I had expressed how ill I’d been lately and God really laid it on my heart to work out and eat better. I had made a delicious healthy breakfast and was talking to my big bro about it. So, as I heard the Lord tell me to do as he told me, I immediately responded, “Okay.” Its like I just knew, I should work out.
I got up. I showered. I put on my make-up.(I like to feel pretty when I work out) I put on my workout clothes and I worked out. And do you know, by time i was finished, I was in high spirits. I could think clearly. I felt good all around. I wasn’t in tears. I just felt good. And I actually smiled. That’s when I realized, death to the flesh is inevitable. It’s natural for our bodies to give up. But our Spirits, those belong to God. And because we know Him, death has lost its sting.
1 Corinthians 15:55 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
God has been restoring my hope, moment by moment, and today the revelation that I got is that I don’t have to deal with my grief alone. I don’t have to bottle it up. I can give that pain to God and He will take it and make it beautiful; that encourages me. So now I’m not afraid to go home.
I’m not afraid of what is waiting for me, because I know who walks with me.
I am sure this post is all over the place, but I wanted to write and express that though I have never experienced this before, nothing is new under the sun with God. He is able to restore joy, peace, love, faith and hope in the midst of a trying season. This is not something I can handle by myself and I don’t have to.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glorify in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I am grieving for my granddad naturally, but my spirit rejoices knowing that God is still God on the throne. And He loved me so much that He even showed me a way to keep my emotions in check (exercise). I know it sounds silly to some, but it makes complete sense to me. I am happy to have found a way to cope.
I love my granddad and I thank God that I was blessed to know him.