Thank you for the honor you guys give by allowing me to share my story with you, especially todays'. It is a difficult and emotional one, but very close to my heart. Forgive the roughness of my writing today. I promise to edit tomorrow, but felt it was too important to wait to publish.
Heaven. It is something I have been thinking about a lot about this past week. Thursday, my husband's grandmother, who we loving call Granny, was taken home. Some, looking at her life, one of a warrior in my opinion, could say she is going to Valhalla, a place that vikings thought warriors who died in battle went, an obvious goal for a viking. We on the other hand call it heaven. In life we all have our battles and wars to fight in. Jackie Lidelle, or Granny's battle was with Polio. She contracted it when she was only about 16 years old, but it never stopped her. She is the only person I have ever heard or met that has had it. Back then Jackie had a beautiful hairdo, one I have always had a nostalgic longing for, from the fifties, like Jackie O. In her kitchen she also got to wear those fancy fifties aprons that I have also always drooled over. Oh to live in a time when Marilyn Monroe and Jackie O were the fashion examples? When life was more simple. Oh a girl can dream. She almost got to live in a Victorian time. When the neighborhood kids would thrown you a bridal shower and make you a fancy umbrella. Not the boring kind to keep the rain out, but the pretty kind you see Sherlock Holmes' girlfriend carrying, all ruffles and cloth. Sigh.
She grew up in our small town, got married to Opa, a sailor, who became a pilot, and raised a wonderful family. My two boys are two of six great grandchildren who love her deeply. We actually are blessed to live in her house. Looking around, most of our furniture in our kitchen and living room is hers. All reminders. The living room I am in right now is actually the first place she and I met. This was about thirteen years ago, when my hubby and I were just becoming friends. At the time, ironically I was dating his best friend. We three hung out that whole summer, and long story short, my husband being his old hero self, even then, saved me and swept me away. Ah love... Anyway, back to that living room, glowing with those orange eighties curtains and these pine walls that surround me now. Because she was in an Amigo, a motorized wheel chair, he would go over to help dust and vacuum. She was so funny. We were only allowed to clean certain parts or things. They were only the items she couldn't reach or fit her Amigo in. Even though I am deathly allergic to dust and cat hair, I'd follow Micah around or chat with Granny while he finished down the hall. Usually the TV was on with any hockey game she could find. Man she loved the Wings! GO Wings!! I wonder if she has any now... Being the kind attentive person he is she'd turn off the TV and smiling say,"How are you dear?" I loved that she always called me that. Granny always had away of really hearing us, even when we were teenagers. It was like she knew what was going to happen. Even with me and Micah. When we met, I remember that smile she had on her face when he introduced me to his Granny. She would sort of tilt her head and grin like she was a cat who'd just ate a bird. Me, not knowing what to do or say would just smile back, then giggle. She would ask about my other boyfriend, who wasn't there, how we were. Then follow up with something casual about school. Her face would light up and I just had a feeling like I was supposed to be with Micah and she knew it. Before I even did. This other guy, he was the one, and Micah was just our bestie. Deep down in my heart I think she did know. That she could see her grandson with me. Granny was really the one who made me feel welcome right away in his family. As if she could see we would be and not where we were at.
That is an amazing gift to give anyone, but especially to someone who is a teenager and struggling with their family, as all teenagers do. Trying to figure out who you are, to sort through the truths you have been fed your whole life, intentional or not, and to come out winning, is such a huge thing we all have to overcome. It's like, your teachers, parents, and society didn't mean to lie to you. They were just misinformed and believed it. Maybe you can't relate to this. Maybe you had a perfect relationship with your parents, never rebelled and tried something fun, or got labeled at school. Who knows. All I know is that Granny didn't care. She didn't care that you were rebelling or being dumb. What she did care about was you. She was what I like to call a Silver Boxer. Someone who gives words and belief as gifts, so precious that they are wrapped in silver boxes. Someone who is always encouraging instead of talking down. There is no better way to describe it than what note my poetic hubby slipped into her casket, "Granny, thank you for always looked to us and seeing who we could become and not where we were."
Polio didn't stop Granny, nor should our battle stop us. Life filled her where ever she went, despite the fact that she couldn't walk. She used braces for along time. Even at one of her kids' dances, someone came up to her son and said, Your Mom dances really well for a cripple. My father in law, said "What?" Never even thinking of her in that way. For that is the exact opposite of what she exuded. You could always talk to her about the toughest things in life, religion, dreams, unafraid of her response or judgement. What a gift!!!
At the funeral, I was honored to be able to say something about her. It had been on my mind since the night we saw her pass. Also I had the honor, with my sister in law, to make the picture boards. The one's where you see a person grown from a baby, super adorable, into a hot steamy lady, then into the person you know her as today, Granny. One of her sons' and her husband both passed before her. When I think of her reunited with them this is what I picture. Jackie, young with dark hair, even more beautiful then she ever was hear, but still her, laughing. Looking down at her legs, spinning and popping up her feet like someone was kissing her. With tears in her eyes and her hands cupping her face, covering what has to be the biggest smile ever, there is her husband she hasn't seen in thirteen years, Opa. All young and hot with himself, standing with her son the way she has remembered him. Running to each other ,then not wanting to let go, embracing for two days! In an awesome book I read, it talks about heaven. In it it says that anyone who has Jesus in his heart, anyone who loves God's son, will not be turned away at heaven's gate. That there isn't anything you could do that he won't forgive and already has. That the God who created you misses, loves and longs to be with you. He promise to make to make you new after you pass and come with Him in to heaven. All I can think about is how Jackie must be enjoying that now. How her death was so fast and out of no where. On fact she was telling us to make sure they saved her room at the home about thirty minutes before she was gone. She went out with fight in her and she is probably some type of warrior up there right now.
I can see no better lesson for life than in Jackie's. She suffered much but conquered more. The Legacy you left with us Granny will live on forever and ever. It has changed how I treat my friends', my future teenagers, and anyone that needs a Silver Box. To put in their pocket to reopen whenever they need an rock to stand on. The love you shared with me all those years ago with continue to uplift and grow others' search for themselves, at all ages. The most beautiful thing I can think of, is you dancing. Twirling and joyfully dancing... Even today you are teaching me Granny. How to suffer in silence. To endure humbly, never even thinking of yourself as suffering at all. Only focusing on the blessings God has given us. To go fishing while you can. To drive the boat while others skied behind it. Just like you, to ccarrying others, helping them get the most out of life, no matter what situation you are in. That people will look at you, they may even stare, but who cares? AS long as you know the ending of your story, of you life's book, what does it matter? If you know where you are going, I think the lesson here is to love yourself, so you can love others, help them love them selves, and share the secret of why you are the way you are. So I am going to share the secret, of why I am the way I am, and the secret to the way Granny was who she was. The end of the story. Do you know the end of yours? Right now I am going to give you a chance, if you never have before, to accept this gift. The gift of Jesus Christ, God's only son. The reason I know, deeper and more sure than anything else in this little small womanly brain of mine, is that she is there. That there is a God and we were made perfect and purposely by him. It is all there. Go look it up in the Bible. It doesn't matter which one, read them all, they all say the same thing here! Plus for all you fact people,did you know that there is more physical evidence that Jesus actually lived than Caesar? Scientific fact, look it up. That he did in fact get crucified in way no one else had been, so that his blood would be shed for us. you see his blood is the key. This way, there would be a way for us to get into heaven and back to our Father. The only thing it takes is faith to go to Heaven, a simple child like act of faith. We put our faith in so much these days, schools, government, doctors, TV shows, doctors on TV shows..., yet when it comes to the important things like our souls and where we would spend eternity, we rarely share our secrets. Because it is weird? Awkward? Looked down upon? Old fashioned? Unimportant? I think not. I will be soooo so sad, if when I die, no one is with me and it is my fault because I didn't share. A small child like act, like believing in fairies, but more real, and a whole lot more helpful, let me tell you. (Darn fairies, always messing up the house when I am asleep) In promising to love and believe in Jesus'. After all, if I had to put my one and only son through what he went through, I would want you to recognizee it too. There is nothing that qualifies me to share this with you. I am not a pastor or even a Bible expert. What I am is a faith filled life changed for the better person, ever since I prayed a small prayer about eight years ago. If you would like to accept this special gift now, I will share with you something similar that you can pray, right now at your computer or later in bed. It doesn't have to be perfect or awe inspiring or even a certain prayer out of the Bible. All you have to do is believe and understand why you can go to Heaven. You are forgiven of your sins because Jesus washed us clean with His blood. My favorite way I have heard this is actually out of Jesus' own mouth. Quoted from a little boy who visited Heaven, and got to sit and talk to Jesus himself! The little boy asked why he had to die. Jesus told him it was so that everyone could come meet his Dad. The little boy also said that Jesus loves the children. I wonder why. Is it their child faith that he loves so much. Their faith and belief? Take a look at a child and ask him what he thinks about God... If you are so moved, I am so so excited for you! Let's pray; Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the sacrifice you and your Son have made for me. For everyone. Please come into my life. Forgive my sins and help me turn away from them. Today I am turning over my life to you Lord, to believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, who was tortured, bled, and slain for me. I know I am not worthy, nor ever could be, but deserve it because I am yours. That is why I am so thankful I get to join you in Heaven. Help me through this life until then. Please give me the courage to share with others my secret. I think you for all of this in Jesus Christ awesome name, Amen
YAY!! For any of you who did just accept this gift, I am proud of you. It isn't easy, but nothing great anything ever is. I encourage you to start reading the Bible. Start with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They really tell Jesus' story. Next realize what promise are in the Bible, healing, love, miracles, success in life liked your marriage, relationships restored, and Heaven for eternity! In my next blog I will work on some beginning verses and books that helped me learn how to be a Christian, not attached to any religion. Also I highly encourage you to search for a Bible teaching church. Not neccessarely a certain domination. As always, if anyone has any questions, help, or even a prayer, please contact me. You can email me privately through face book or leave a comment with an email address and we can chat that way too.
I know this is an unusually long entry for me. Also I am going to publish this now, before I edit it, giving anyone a chance to pray that prayer, who may need to tonight. If this has touched you in anyway please share this post on your face book or twitter. As always, thank you for listening and sharing. It means the world to me to hear from you. To Granny, I can't wait to dance with you. To talk to you again. It is going to be magical. Love Lyn