Sunday, February 12, 2012

He called her Home...

 Grandma Naomi was no ordinary woman.  She was the most generous woman I have ever met.  She put everyone before herself, she made all the best comfort foods, and oh did she love the babies!

The first time I met her, she learned I was already married to her grandson, and expecting the first grandbaby.  Instead of shaking her head at me, she took me on a shopping spree to welcome me to the family.

The first holiday I spent with her was Thanksgiving.  Since I was the newest family member, she insisted I make the dumplings (a tradition I am still somewhat baffled by, but it was a memorable event nonetheless).

When I was living selfishly and treating her grandson terribly, she never judged me.  She was always willing to welcome me home.

When Mark was deployed, I went to Ohio to stay for awhile with Jacob a toddler, and Baylie a little baby.  I'm not sure I held Baylie while I was there.  Grandma Naomi rocked that baby girl until she had rubbed a bald spot on the side of her head.  That rocking chair must have a million miles on it.

She never forgot a special day. Birthday, anniversary, promotion... she let you know she remembered and she was thinking of you.

She never got worked up. If the doctor said she couldn't drive, she just said "well we won't tell." If a grandkid dumped juice on her couch, she just offered them another one. When the doctors said it might be cancer, she just said, "well that doesn't mean anything you know."

She read about 2500 thousand books, just since 1997.  And she signed her name and the date in the cover of each one.

She kept an impeccable photo record of her life... and of the lives of all the people closest to her.  A gift that will be shared for generations to come.

She forwarded every cute or funny e-mail forward that came her way.  My inbox is really gonna miss those.

When our daughter died, she didn't try to say the right words.  She just told us how much she loved us.

She had an amazing green thumb.  In my kitchen window is a small plant; a cluster of blooms that cousin Kurt trimmed from her garden... one that has been passed along through generations now.  A reminder of her strong spirit.

I felt sad that Grandma Naomi didn't get to meet Ellianna during her short life here.  I hope there's a rocking chair in Heaven, because she is never going to put that baby down!

I am honored that my children got to share life with her... that they ran barefoot through her grass, listened to books on her couch, and shared special sleepovers filled with way too many desserts.  They got to see the huge part she had in raising their daddy to be an honest and committed father and husband.  They got to see that even when you have a little, you can always give a lot.  And they got to know that Grandma Naomi loved them with all her heart.

Our hearts are heavy as we've had to say goodbye for now.  We anxiously await the day we are reunited again.

Naomi Ruth Williams
February 23, 1924 - February 12, 2012

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let me up; I've had enough.

Months now spent trying to claw my way to the top of the pit of grief that would love nothing less than to swallow me whole.  Ups and downs, but onward nonetheless.

Screeching Halt.  U-Turn.

This past Friday, our dear Grandma Naomi got very sick.  She was admitted to the hospital with an infection.  Monday, the doctors discovered she is more than just sick.  She was found to have pancreatic cancer that has already spread to multiple organs.  If she were younger and stronger, the course would be radical surgery and chemotherapy.  But she isn't.  It is a terminal diagnosis. 

My mind can't wrap around it.  Mark's mind can't wrap around it.  We can't come up with anything useful to think about it, or any plans that might help.  I guess you would call it a state of shock.  For me, a state of fear.  Fear because I don't know how to deal with another loss right now.  Fear because I want to be a source of strength and encouragement to Mark and the rest of the family through this, and I just can't find it yet.  Fear because we had to tell the kids, and I'm afraid when the day comes that she is taken from us, they will withdraw completely from the pain of a wound we have been trying so carefully to heal. 

My soul is disturbed within me, my spirit unsettled.  I know I need a strength greater than myself if I am to bring any comfort to those around me.

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in times of trouble."
Psalm 46:1

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Photo from

How Long?

I feel like I should have something more uplifting to say.  I want to have days when I don't feel like crying, and where I don't hide in my house for fear of being a "downer" to everyone I'm around.  I just can't seem to get on top right now.

Yesterday was the anniversary of a miscarriage we endured with our second child.  A little baby boy we never got to meet.  Somehow it felt different this year. A heavier reminder of how much we are longing for Heaven.

Today started off pretty upbeat.  I finally had the motivation to tackle some projects around the house, enjoyed watching Bella prancing around in dress ups, and even took a few time-outs to dance with her when a good song would come on.  Mark had to work late, so I was on my own to wrangle our group of AWANA Sparks at church tonight.  The game and story portion of the night are held in the gym which doubles as the sanctuary for our church services on Sundays.  Suddenly, in the middle of a game of Sharks and Minnows, I realized I was standing in the same place my little girl's casket had been.  It all came rushing back... the soft purple lights, the larger than life picture of her on the screen up above, the overwhelming pain of looking at her tiny body for the last time.  It was all I could do to get through the rest of the evening.  To paste on a smile, give a few high-fives, and pretend I wasn't dying inside. 

"Joy is coming in the morning."  I keep asking how long.  How long till every joyful moment in my day isn't coupled by a moment of feeling something missing. 

I feel so inadequate at processing my grief.  Like instead of moving forward, I'm churning the same spot over and over.  Some days feel like we have made it so far, and some days feel like we are right back at the beginning.  Some days I don't even want to feel.

I have this verse stuck in my head-- one that I wrote out and taped at the head of Ellianna's bed in the NICU.  "I know what I'm doing.  I have it all planned out..."   I would like to be let in on what it is He is doing...  right now I feel like I'm missing the point.

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