Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday and saying goodbye

This Good Friday is going to stay in my memory for a long time to come.  My grandma is dying in a hospital thousands of miles away.  She is 91 and has been on a decline for a long time.  For the past several years every phone call, every visit, every trip has ended with the intuitive knowledge that "this could be the last time I see her."  So because of this I've literally said goodbye to her hundreds of times.

Today it doesn't seem to be enough.  Because I think I will always want to say goodbye one more time.  When I started this year of mission, I knew that the likelihood of her still being there when I returned was small.  But I hoped.

Death always makes life seem trivial.  Not because it is, but because for the moment that we are truly focused on death: we realize that not one of us is going to live on this earth forever.  Thankfully for most of us it isn't an every day occurrence that we are faced with dying: either our own or the death of a loved one.  Somehow it is different when we hear of the death of a friend's loved one, people on television or even the friend of a friend and the reality of it doesn't overwhelm us.

I'm working my 24 hour shift in a quiet and almost empty clinic (Semana Santa being a holiday) for which I am extremely grateful.  I have so many memories swarming through my mind...everything from being a little girl going to feed the ducks in the river in Naperville to reading books while sitting on grandma's lap to running to hug her in the airport when she came for her two week annual visit (my mom is from the west coast and we never lived closer than Chicago).

Fast forward to my teens and grandma is the one who gave me a place to live when I turned into a rebellious teenager for a year.  I'll never forget the evening she came to me while I was loading the dishwasher in her kitchen, listening to music on the stereos she had built herself.  She gave me a huge hug, telling me how glad she was to have me come live with her.  I remember being shocked, because in my stupid teenage brain I felt completely unloveable and her going out of her way to say she wanted me...well I will never forget it.  We spent so much time together that year and I always say that year was the year I grew up.

In her latter years, my grandma moved out to live with my parents and I was able to see her much more often.  I want to write a tribute...and say more!  But that will have to wait...because she hasn't died...she is just walking near that line!

I guess Good Friday is a great day to face death.  Don't we all want to be the good thief anyway?  What an honor to die with our Lord! "Jesus, remember me when you enter into your Kingdom."  Easter is just around the corner.  Praying that everyone reading this is that much closer to the Resurrection in their lives.  Love to all!


  1. Elizabeth, this is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing. You are a very gifted writer. Happy Easter!

  2. I cried as I read this Elizabeth as I know how much you love your Grandmother and how very difficult it must be for you to be away from her. I know she would not want you to be any where else then where you are, doing the most amazing work, she is I am sure so proud! She is with you in life and death. Prayers for peace and strength to you my dear friend!! xoxo

    PS-A rebellious teenager?? I find that hard to believe!!

  3. Such a beautiful tribute! Praying for your peace. Good Friday was also a good day to be born! Adeline Celeste (Ethan's 5th child) arrived safe and sound in New Mexico that day!

    1. Thank you Chris!! What a great day to be born!! Hope all is well!!