It’s been a tough week for the Hendon family. My father-in-law’s mother, known to all her grandchildren as Mamaw, passed away Tuesday night. I only got to meet her once, about 18 months ago, but even then, Trey says, she was just a shadow of the amazing woman that she once was. Nursing homes and strokes always change people. I think he feels guilty about it, but I know Trey doesn’t want to remember her in that nursing home bed, he wants to remember her at home, where she loved her family and could tell them so.
Last night, as we were lying in bed, thinking about Mamaw and the funeral ahead, I couldn’t help but remember Grandma Harmon. I remember she used to bake cakes. I remember the blue house she lived in when she married Mr. Bill. I remember her big blue eyes and her smile. I remember her hands. And her voice. I can see her walking from room to room. But now, 12 years after she passed, I can’t think of one specific memory of her, and it makes me sad.
I absolutely know how Trey feels, because when I try to remember Grandma Harmon, I don’t want to remember her in that nursing home, not remembering who I was or even knowing what year it was. I want to remember her young. I want to remember her smile, not the confused, worried look of a woman losing her mind to alzheimer’s. Death is sad. And scary. But with every end, there is a new beginning. Death exists so that God can bring new life.
When the wind blows, the world turns, the seasons all pass till beginnings are no more than ends.
For death comes from life but then life springs from death. See how each on the other depends?
We are the leaves and the limbs, and we are the trees in God’s wind.
~Paul W. Harmon