Last week my grandmother passed away at the age of 96. As an adult I have watched 3 of my 4 grandparents leave this world, (my paternal grandmother passed away when I was only 3,) and I have had the distinct honor to speak at their funerals. The following are the brief words that I spoke last Thursday as we laid my beautiful grandmother Juanita to rest next to my grandfather.
Growing up I always thought Grandma was a woman of few words. Since those young years I have learned this is not true, but back then I blamed it on the fact that I didn’t speak Spanish. Don’t worry, my mom has received a lot of guff from my sister and I for not teaching us.
In grade school I remember listening to my mom talk to Grandma on the phone and as the conversation would come to a close my mom would repeatedly say bueno. “Bueno…bueno…bueno…bye!” It wasn’t until middle school that I learned “bueno” wasn’t another way to say goodbye in Spanish.
Although we didn’t have many long, in depth conversations there was never any doubt in how much Grandma loved me or the rest of her family.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
This is the epitome of my grandma. Her love was constantly displayed in the things she did for us and others.
You couldn’t walk within three feet of her kitchen without hearing her ask if you were hunger, or she would just tell you to sit down and eat regardless of when you ate last. No one will ever come close to her tamales or empanadas.. don’t even try. 🙂
Her love was felt on shopping trips to Ropers in Idaho by my sister Nicole, and on the mornings when she would get up extra early to make my brother Kelly breakfast before he went to work.
But her love was never more evident than when we watched her take care of Grandpa.
Her love for us was only surpassed by her love of God.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-29
It is this promise of God’s love for us that makes today truly a celebration of Grandma’s life.
It is a day to rejoice because Grandma is now with our Heavenly Father and I know that Grandpa was there to take her hand and lead her into eternal life.
Today my tears will not fall out of sadness; today they will fall with praise to God and the knowledge that Grandma will be at the gates of Heaven to welcome me when my Father calls me home.
I just hope she has some empanadas waiting too.