“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” – Anne Lamott
There is a song I like called “Seasons Change” by United Pursuit – the lyrics say “though the seasons change – your love remains.” Grief is a weird thing and after thousands of years on this planet we still haven’t figured it out.
My Pawpaw died on Saturday. It’s been 2 days (almost), and I still walk in the room and expect to hear him say, “Hey baby!” Processing what happened – the years of watching him in pain, the times he couldn’t talk, and inevitably when it got so bad he would no longer open his eyes – sometimes feels like too much to handle. There are moments when I feel like I was sucker punched in the gut, and there are moments when I am unbelievably grateful he is free. Grief is like that I guess.
About a month ago I came to see him, and he told me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me, and then all of a sudden he took a deep breath and said “It just goes so fast” – and right there the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks. It goes too fast.
I started thinking about all the times I get upset about stuff that doesn’t matter. I thought about the times I have a bad attitude because something didn’t go my way, or it was inconvenient and how in this moment it feels so stupid to worry about those things. I thought about the fact that I just want to live a life reflective of what is really important to me: Jesus, family, love, kindness, and hard fulfilling work.
Yesterday morning I woke up and read a story about a man named Jim who used to go to the church everyday at lunch and pray these words: “Jesus, here I am, it’s Jim” and then he would leave. When he got older and had to be put in the hospital, he was so happy all the time, and the priest asked him why he was so happy to be in the hospital. He replied with this, “I used to go visit Jesus everyday, and now Jesus comes to visit me.” The priest asked him what Jesus said when he came and it was this, “Jim, here I am, it’s Jesus.”
In the moments when I feel like I might throw up I hear these words, “Katie, here I am, it’s Jesus.”
That is enough.
Knowing Jesus is with me through every wave of grief. Knowing Jesus is with my Nanie through every phase of this transition, and will carry her for all her days. That truth makes this bearable.
My Pawpaw was one of the strongest people I know. He loved his family and his wife more than life itself. He was always happy to see you, loved to be outside, and sitting around a table with good food. I grew up with him in the garden, and I would like to think he has one in heaven that we can hang out in together one day. When I think of him, I picture him young and full of life.
He is with Jesus, and Jesus is with us. Though the seasons change – His love remains.
Pawpaw – I can’t wait to tell my children about you one day. I’ll tell them about all the times you rocked me as a baby, I’ll tell them about the bug song and how I got my nickname, I’ll tell them about the garden and the shack, and when they are older I’ll tell them stories about 3-toed Tom. I’ll tell them that you were one of the greats and I was so blessed to be your granddaughter. I’ll tell them about how much you love Nanie and how up to your last breath you were worried about her. I’ll tell them how devoted you were to all of your children, and how you taught us all how to be strong and love Jesus. I love you handsome.