I made the funeral early this morning, and though it wasn’t easy to attend, I’m glad I made the drive. For those of you who hadn’t heard, my ex-wife informed me that her grandmother passed away during heart surgery Friday evening. She was 70 years old.
Brenda – Nanny to her grandchildren and just about everyone else – was a source of comfort to me during some hard times. Nanny, along with her husband Bob “Papaw”, accepted me for a person, even if as a Catholic Mexican I was different from their White Protestant heritage. That didn’t matter. I was family, and that was good enough.
They were a Christian couple in a very un-Christian world. Though far from perfect, they lived their lives trying to live up to that ideal. They accepted many, helped those in need, and tried to be an example of what living with Christ meant. They were selfless in a world that seems to reward selfishness. They gave of themselves and blessed everyone around them with the blessings they received. I’m proud and honored to have called them family.
Papaw died about three years ago due to his struggle with ALS, and Nanny died last Friday after suffering a heart attack. It’s hard to imagine that they are both gone, that I’ll never hear them laugh or be able to sit and have a conversation with them. I’ll never again have Papaw try to teach me how to play golf. I’ll never feel Nanny’s maternal embrace when I feel as though I can’t survive.
Even after me and their granddaughter divorced, they never stopped loving me, and I never stopped loving them. Though it’s been years since I took the opportunity to visit with her, I’ve never forgotten their generosity. I now bitterly regret not taking the time to talk with Nanny one last time, to thank her for giving me love and support, for laughing and crying with me, for being an example of a good Christian woman.
Some of the family was touched that I took the time to pay my final respects to the matriarch of the family. I hope it was some small comfort that I held her is such high esteem. Some would not have taken that time to make that drive. I knew I had no choice, my conscience wouldn’t have allowed me to miss.
Tomorrow I’ll head home, knowing that her remains have been consigned to the Earth. As a Christian, I have the hope that I may see her again someday, though I hope that day will be long delayed. It’s a comfort for me to know that her suffering is over, and that she’s been reunited with her beloved husband. For me, however, I’ll admit that I’m selfish and I wish she was still here, but isn’t that true for all those we have loved and lost?