Tuesday, November 24, 2009


An old grandpa friend from my childhood has passed away. And it's a wintry, cold morning. And I have to bring pie and homemade cream to my daughter's classroom. And it's Thanksgiving week. And I have pillows to sew, eyebrows to wax, hair to highlight and divinity to make...as well as a bed willing to enfold my still weary body for another couple of hours. And yet, I'm getting into a gray tweed dress with celadon jacket, crystals at the neck and ears and black high heels~(his wife loves pretty things)~and heading out, into the frosty November air.

Growing up, I couldn't quite understand why Mom and Dad would put on their Sunday attire and walk out our door just to walk past a coffin holding the empty body of someone who had so obviously moved on to things of an eternal nature. Plus, they were old. Old people are grandmas and grandpas and they're supposed to die..and their kids won't be sad, cuz they're old, too. They should be expecting the death, and therefore, not even be sad or cry. And then my mom and dad could stay home with me, where they belonged, while we watched, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Because that's where moms and dads should be...with their children.

And then my husband's mother died, followed by his father ten short weeks later. And guess what? I was right~that is where moms and dads belong~with their children. Who knew? Those dear folks braving the cold wintry air and missing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, that's who.

Suddenly~it mattered that my husband's boyhood primary teacher stood in line for over an hour, just to give him a hug and pat his sad, whiskery face.

It mattered that a loved neighbor left a pan of homemade rolls in his parents' kitchen~though it was a little bit hard to chew and swallow past the lump in our throats.

It mattered that our brand new neighbors, who barely even knew our names, would travel the distance and take a day off work, if only to clasp us in their arms and tell us they felt our grief and shared it with us.

And we wept.
And we embraced.
And we were thankful.

It seems our Heavenly Father invites us to be His hands on this earth~even missing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the process~as He understands that we may only become as magnificent as He wants us to be, if we serve in His name.

And that means we don our pretty dresses, make that batch of bread and stand in line for an hour...to comfort those who stand in need of comfort...to bear one another's burdens...to be His hands...

...and to hold theirs.


kara elmore said...

I love you for so many reasons. But I love you mostly for what you teach me daily.

One of my dearest friends, who started out a client, and quickly became one of my favorite people, lost her mother in a tragic accident Friday night. Just last year she lost her father. Today is her funeral as well. And as I am far away, I am praying for her. Wishing I, too, could don my dress, heels and bun at the nape of my neck ... because she would do it for me. Because that is what we do when we love others.

.E. said...

What a great post.. a man I used to work with years ago.. his wife died this week after a 2 year battle with Brain Cancer.. she is leaving behind a husband who adored her and two young boys who will now grow up without the mother who adored them.. I feel so sad for them.. so heartbroken.. and wish that I didn't live so far away so I could stand in line with others to let them know that I share in their grief even though I had never met her.. only spoken with her on the phone a few times. I knew she was special then.

Jen in AZ said...

So true. I think I never really understood this before Grandma's viewing, and Grandpa's. Suddenly it mattered very much. You're so right.

Ster said...

I just read this again.... and wept.