Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Grandma Joins Jesus

Early this morning, Grandma passed away. My father-in-law was by her side.  As he quoted Psalm 23, her anxious breathing quieted, and she relaxed and entrusted herself to God in her final moments, as she has every other moment of her life since she believed.

This is the last photo we have of her before she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. It was the day before, and she wasn't well, but she was fully trusting. She pulled me aside, and said in a confidential, energetic stage whisper, "You know, this is all part of God's plan. Nothing's going to happen to me that He hasn't allowed. I am absolutely confident!" She reassured all of us, separately and as a group, with similar words.

Blondechick took this photo of a page in an album of family photos--Grandma as a young woman in New York City, newly married and auditioning for jobs on Broadway. She landed one, in Camelot, with Julie Andrews and Richart Burton, and also other roles off-Broadway and at the Shakespeare Festival. She danced with Bob Hope in a television special.  She appeared in print advertisements, wearing false eyelashes and holding a cigarette! She gave it all up after her second child was born and never looked back, but something was lacking in her life. When her boys were 7 and 5, some hippie Christians knocked on her door, offering to pick up her boys in their church bus and take them every Sunday. "Only if I come with them," the New York City-savvy mom insisted, and at that church, she met her Lord. Her sons and husband did too...and a whole lineage is forever grateful to those hippies and their church bus!

Today was the day we had once planned to move her out of the care center and in with us. Papa Rooster was supposed to start a new job today; his new employer was understanding and so gracious. Today I left my parents' home in Ohio and a family reunion of 49 relatives on my mom's side, all gathering to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary. This weekend, there will be another family reunion--different side of the family, different kind of celebration.

Today is also my brother-in-law's birthday.  In a way, it's now Mom's birthday too--the first day of her new life with Jesus. Her sons and husband all have August birthdays, and it's been our tradition to always celebrate them at once. Now, every year, we'll celebrate their birthdays--and hers.


Smith said...

Thank God for those hippies and their church bus! It's amazing in retrospect that their choices for service and evangelism changed the course of so many lives and now leave such a legacy. That alone is an inspiration to give and serve, regardless of whether we see results. Also, Benita herself was an inspiration! Thanks for sharing these stories and pictures - what a woman! So sad today but heartened every time I imagine her singing and dancing while John Fawcett plays the piano and harmonizes :)

Anonymous said...

What a testimony! I never knew her story of coming to the Lord. I am so sad for your loss but so happy that she is laughing with Jesus in Heaven right now, worshiping and dancing by the throne.
Blessings, friends.

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

How can I say how happy and sad I am for you all? Leaving this world to be with Jesus can only be considered a great joy. Yet, for everyone who is still here, missing this incredible woman who touched so many lives, this passage is tinged with great sadness as well.

Many blessings on your family as you come together to grieve and share and celebrate her life.

Crystal said...

Sending you prayers as you celebrate an amazing woman who's gone home :)