Saturday, June 2, 2012
Today, June 2nd, is my grandmother's birthday. When we said goodbye to her in the hospital 7 years ago, it was such a hard, surreal, and uncharted experience. It came so unnexpectedly as she had not been sick for a long time; yet, we were together as a family, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters. I remember the hardest part was when I had to call work to let them know that I would not be coming in. Something about actually saying the words that she had passed away unlocked the emotions like a flood.
The next week was painful as again and again the realization of what I had lost came like a wave; but it was also a beautiful time. Family coming together, going through boxes of pictures and putting together a slideshow of her life. The memorial service was so special and such a time of honoring her life--her love, how she brought together family, the legacy that she left behind.
Looking back at her life, there were so many beautiful and joyful times to celebrate, but also some really difficult and painful seasons that she had to walk through. But this is where the comfort came the greatest, the knowledge that now all of her tears were being wiped away. All of the pain and dissappointments were swallowed up in joy. She is in the very presence of her Creator. Can you imagine?! I think almost everyone has experienced rejection in his or her life and knows that pain. Now think about being introduced to someone who not only chose to love you, but the very one who purposed you into being. The one who decided that the world was not quite complete without you. The one that does not just accept you the way you are but made you the way you are! It is such an incredible thought, and it's not just an idea but the truth.
When I remember my grandma now, that pain and empty feeling has been healed. I think back and smile and my heart grows warm. I remember her smile and her voice. I remember her snack drawer and legos. I remember riding in the car with her to pick up my cousin Lacy from school. I remember how much she loved to be surrounded by her family on holidays. I remember her generosity with all that she crochetted for people. I remember her committment to the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. She was so cute on Sundays sitting in her comfy pink chair with a large afghan on her lap that she was crochetting and her notebook near by to keep stats of the game.
And then my thoughts always move to her in Heaven and I can only get joyful. I have lost something so special; but when I think about what she has gained, I can't help but rejoice. She loved to listen to old hymns and gospel music. My mom's favorite hymn "In the Garden" has this chorus: "And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known." That is the joy that my precious grandma now fully knows.
I want to share the memory of my favorite season with my grandma. In 11th grade my family moved from Grand Prairie to Roanoke. My sisters and I wanted to go ahead and start school in our new school distract at the beginning of the year even though our house was not yet ready to be moved into. So, the first six weeks of the school year we lived with my grandma in Justin so we would be closer to our schools. Every morning, I would wake up and get ready first. Then my sisters would wake up and get ready and I would sit on the front porch with my grandma and we would drink our morning coffee together. She lived in a small mobile home at the bottom of a hill on my aunt and uncle's ranch. I love the country and it was so beautiful. I remember one particular morning that was just breathtaking and so perfect it was funny. There we were, my grandma and I, sitting and chatting with our hot coffee. The sun was rising over the hill and suddenly the horses began to frolick about and were literally playing with each other. It seemed like a movie. We just sat there in awe enjoying it together. It was lovely. Wherever she lived, I remember my grandma always having hummingbird feeders out. I also loved to watch the hummingbirds with her.
My other favorite memory related to my grandmother happened when she was not even with me. I was in Missouri and was visiting my aunts church. This old man came up to me smiling and said in his shaky but sweet voice, "you look just like this girl I went to school with--Zelna Ola." "That's my grandma," I replied and we both smiled really big. Here I was a stranger, and I look so much like my grandma that this man recognized her face in mine after probably over 60 years. That is still one of my proudest moments in life. I love my grandma and am proud to look like her. I am so thankful that she was such a good mom and gave me my mom. I am so grateful that she was such a caring and loving grandmother. Most of all, I am so thankful that she loved Jesus and that she chose to make Him Lord of her life. Beyond the legacy of facial features, of family, of love; the greatest legacy of her life is her faith.
Zelna Welker can now boast 5 children, 17 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and counting. I love you Grandma. Thank you for being such a special grandmother and giving me so much love. Enjoy the Father's love and all the wonders He shows you, and when I see a hummingbird I will think of you and how you are more free and joyful now than even the hummingbird.