This side of Heaven…


Uxbridge Ontario has been a destination of mine every time I’ve returned to Canada, as it has been home to my Oma (mother’s mom) for over a decade.  Every time I have come to visit her, she has thrown a mini-parade when I’ve arrived; greeting me at the door with a happy cheer, arms in the air and a massive smile on her face.  There is just something so precious about grandparents 🙂

This past fall she had a terrible cold, and when I spoke with her in December, she promised me to be well when I returned so we could spend time together and eat at my favorite restaurant: Swiss Chalet (of course).  I arrived home two weeks ago and she had been admitted to the hospital, two days later the doctors suspected cancer, Christmas day she had an outpatient pass and there was hope it was treatable lymphoma; then Saturday I got a call from my aunt saying she might have 2-4 weeks to live.

I have been on a roller coaster, and almost forgot it was the holidays.

Today I visited her for the last time before I return to Virgina.  My sister, her husband, and myself met up at the hospital; they had brought their guitar.  We sat in her hospital room and sang six hymns, starting with the one Oma asked me and my sister to sing at her funeral.  Let me just tell you how well that went over…I let my sister solo the first verse and choked through the following three; especially the verse that said:

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

In the middle of choking back the tears, my sister says out of the side of her mouth (who, by the way, is holding this song playing the guitar and singing like a rock!): “suck it up!”  I had to laugh a bit; so the MO for our family.

The beautiful thing was, my Oma kept talking about all those that she was going to meet once Jesus came to get her; my mom is in heaven waiting, my Opa, my uncle, my step-Grandfather, and so many more of the people she loved…as the tears rolled, I couldn’t help but smile at the homecoming she was looking forward to.  She saw my tears, and her eyes brimmed…though we both know this isn’t good-bye forever, this side of heaven it is still hard to say goodbye.

As I drove away from Uxbridge General and made my way down the back roads back to my dad’s house, I let the tears fall…but there is beauty in this breakdown.  My Oma knows Jesus, as do I, and I know that if I don’t see her in person again I will see her, and my mom and all my other family members who have gone before me, in heaven.

Today, Oma spoke of the day my mom died, and how my mom’s face had been wrought with pain in the weeks before her passing; but the minute she took her last breath…there was a small smile on her face.  As she recounted that moment, I remembered seeing that very smile; my mom had just been welcomed into her eternal home.

My Oma has asked all those who came to visit her one thing: Will I see you in heaven one day?  As I wiped the tears from my cheeks, though my heart ached, there was a sense of peace because for me, that answer is yes.  I pray yours is too…


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5 thoughts on “This side of Heaven…

  1. Had to wipe the tears off my cheeks too! Bless your Oma for heping you all to see her passing in another light. It makes my heart warm to see families so close. Be safe on your trip home!

    • Thank you…:) That was something the nurses said about Oma’s visitors: “your family is close, and loves you very much.” All I could think was, I hope when I’m old and about to meet my Maker, there are people to play and sing hymns to me 🙂

      I may not get to “see” her again, but I am going to call her every day until Jesus comes for her; and it was so precious to see her say that she would keep the phone next to her bedside for my call each day. That she would still anticipate hearing from me every day was precious…things I’ll never forget…

  2. I read this yesterday but had no words. I thought about it in bed and when I got up this morning. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing. I hope she goes peacefully. All the best to you and your family in the coming weeks/months.

  3. Renee–You are precious! Thank you for your post–for being real in such a touching and beautiful way. I am praying for you tonight!

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