Note: This post was composed the night my dear Abuelita died.
For months rare has been the night that I haven’t tucked my grandma in bed, kissed her soft cheek, and told her I loved her before I closed the drapes and turned out the light. For months I’ve walked out of her bedroom to the soft murmur of Mama praying in Spanish, while Abuelita’s little eyes slowly closed. And now Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs plays, and her bedroom is empty...
My mind brings up memories, relives them. One in particular stands out above the rest.
About 5 years ago, my older cousin whom we rarely get the blessed opportunity to see, came to visit. Between the transformation years had wrought on him and the toll of her dementia, Abuelita could not remember him. The first evening Mama and my uncle were trying to help her place him. “He is your first grandchild”... *blank look*. “He grew up in Chicago, spent time with you every weekend”... *confusion*. Finally Mama said, “Don’t you remember him? You took him to church. You taught him to love Jesus.”
Instant recognition. Those words made the connection.
Tears of joy welled up in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks. My cousin, that tall, handsome man who as a little boy had learned at her knee of the Almighty, crossed the living room, took her in his arms and kissed her cheeks. Her joy was complete. The smile on her face was radiant the rest of the evening, while my cousin held her little arthritic hand in his strong ones. That was the last time she was under one roof with all her children, grandchildren, and one great grand child at the same time.
If I were to recount all the precious memories of my grandma, I should have to write a book. But that one memory frames best the 89 years of her life. Her devotion to God was the backdrop against which love for God took deep root in the lives of her progeny.
Now she sleeps, and I remember, and He bears my grief. I can only hope and pray that when I come to die, such a thing can be said of me -
“Don’t you remember? You taught them to love Jesus.”