As they rolled her out from therapy where we were sitting in the waiting area, tears welled up in my eyes. My daughter started a light quiet sob and I could read the sadness on my son’s face. Our beloved Mamaw gazed off into the distance as if she wasn’t there in her mind; so unlike the vibrant, smiling grandmother who usually greeted our visits.

I held them back — those tears that were trying to fight through. I would not allow any measure of sadness to be shone because I was going to bring her back to us. And so, I gained the strength to speak calmly and clearly as if nothing was wrong. The more I talked the more I saw the light come back. She had such a love for her grandchildren. In hearing about our recent trip and the kids’ newest adventures she started to reveal a slight glow. Her words and laughter were faint, but she was there enjoying, responding, and understanding everything we were saying. How precious and comforting to know she was there. The sharpness of her mind was something I admired at her age. Being in her 80’s, I was impressed at the clarity of stories, people, and events she could remember especially after having a stroke years ago. This was her. Thank you, Lord, she was still there.

As our stories came to an end, we did the next thing I knew would comfort her. We sang. Right there in the open; right there where everyone could hear us. I was even a little conscientious about it, but as the words to “Amazing Grace” flowed through my lips, I knew this was the most precious moment I would ever share with the Mamaw who had lovingly adopted me so many years ago when I married her grandson and the beauty of this moment caused all awkwardness to fade. I was here for this. To comfort her. To bring her joy. To give her peace in the best way God provided. It was not an easy feat as the tears started to well up again, but by the grace of God I was able to stay composed and focus on being what she needed right then. We sang many songs that day as she peacefully listened, but my most memorable was “In Christ Alone.” This song I will always cherish in remembrance of this treasured hour.

It was time. Time to leave. Time to say goodbye. So we prayed as we had so many times at the end of our visits. This woman was the one who had pushed me to become vunerable in praying with others because she desired the communion of prayer so much. What a blessing to hold her hand and be vunerable once again before the Father who is the source of peace, comfort, and joy. With a prayer and a hug, this was our way to depart. What a beautiful goodbye!

I saw Mamaw one more time since that day when I went with my husband on his last visit and I got to see that vibrant, smiling grandmother this time. God had truly been gracious in giving her and Luke this moment as her keen mind was able to recall stories from the past. We both left there hopeful, but also admitting the reality that this may be the last time we saw her physically alive. And it was.

There will be no more visits to the nursing home, no more prayers holding her hand, no more hugs, no more stories to tell her or hear, no more songs, and no more vibrant smiles with her while here on this earth, but I will always be able to cherish all her love with every visit, prayer, hug, story, song, and smile we had. As I grieve her loss I will commemorate her life and our beautiful goodbye in hopes of seeing her again while I sing continually in my heart…..

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the pow’r of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

[Songwriters: Andrew Shawn Craig / Donald A. Koch
In Christ Alone lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group]

Truth in love,
Heather

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