The Faithful Scribbler

A Catholic Mother In A Secular World

Death and Family

on August 1, 2010

My grandmother is dying– she is in renal failure and has probably a few weeks to a few months left on this earth.  I’m flying up to Albany this Saturday to see her, and then at the end of the month Little Scribbler and I will be making another trek via car.

I feel many things about her, and my family, and death and faith and salvation that are difficult to articulate.  Obviously I feel very different about Salvation than does most of my family.  I do not believe we have a free- pass simply because we know and believe in Jesus, and I do sincerely worry for the souls of those who reject the Truth.  I am a little worried for her soul, but mostly confident in God’s mercy, and trying to remember that all of our prayers are heard and that prayers for the dying and deceased are not said in vain.

She lived in my home, with my immediate family, most of my childhood.  I have warm, happy memories of these times, as well as a handful of ugly, unpleasant ones.  Grandma Scribbler has been the kind of constant, unchanging presence in the family that you tend to take for granted.  She’s outlived her husband, one of her children, her brother and sister and nearly all of her extended family.  She’s had several bad health problems and come through them all– so frequently in fact that I never really considered the possibility that one of them would be fatal.  Her own father lived until age 95 and it seemed quite certain she would follow suit.  This most current health crisis has taken me completely by surprise.

I am sad to lose someone who has loved me so much in my lifetime.  Someone who so adores my child!  She will not see the birth of my brothers’ children (should they ever hurry up and have any!).  She wont see marriages or birthdays.  How will I explain to three year old Little Scribbler that Grandma wont be there at Christmas this year?  That although Grandma loves her, they wont be seeing each other anymore?  Do children really understand death?  Is it best to not say anything at all for the time being?

I cried today and it really upset Little Scribbler to see me cry.  For this reason among many, I am leaving her home with the Auditor on Saturday when I fly up to Albany.  How can I face this visit, knowing it will likely be the last, and chase around Little Scribbler at the same time?  How can I take her to a funeral in the coming weeks when it aggravates her so to see us cry?  And yet, how can I leave her out?!

Please, if you have a moment, stop and say a prayer for Grandma Scribbler, who is ill both physically and mentally.  Pray for spiritual health and for God’s infinite love and mercy.

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