The Bible tells us that there is a time to be born, and a time to die. A year ago this very day, our family felt the ecstacy and grief of both.
As Mama’s youngest great-grandson was struggling to come into this world, Mama was struggling to leave it. I remember praying for my great-nephew’s birth, even as I sat vigil over Mama, holding her hand and agonizing over her labored breathing.
I told Mama the news when her great-grandson was born. She didn’t respond. I don’t think she could have. But I was relieved when she was still breathing after midnight. I didn’t want them to share the same day. I didn’t want the joy of birth shadowed by death. Somehow a few hours difference and separate numbers on the calendar made me feel better.
Mama lingered with us until seven the next morning. And then she left us quietly, with an incredibly peaceful look on her face and even a hint of a smile.
It’s strange to think it’s been a whole year since that evening of life and death. Mama’s great-grandson is toddling around on sturdy legs these days, charming everyone around him. Mama is even getting three more great-grandchildren this coming year, as her legacy grows.
And Mama’s youngest grandchild was born to my baby brother in July. James brings her to see Dad every week.
Dad can’t see little Emma’s face because of his blindness, but she holds onto his finger snuggly while he sings “Edelweiss” over and over to her. And he marvels over her soft little hand. He says it reminds him of Mama’s hands. Because they were so soft.
We all think about Mama and how much she adored babies. We wish she was here with us sharing these joys. But I don’t doubt that there are some babies in heaven who are getting some exceptional grandma loving.
And there is a peace, through the pain of all the grief, in knowing that Mama is in paradise with Jesus.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die… A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2,4. (NKJV)
It’s surprising how these times can intertwine. The tears and heaviness of missing and mourning mama mingle and mix with the warmth and joy of grandchildren and holidays and family.
His grace covers us. He knows we may weep, but He is with us. He holds us close in His love and reminds us of eternity with Him for all who believe in Jesus. He whispers tenderly and reassures me of His presence.
And I realize more clearly than before, that there are times when you weep and laugh in the same hour. In the same moment even. There are hours when you mourn as you dance.
This is the season we are in. And I know He will give grace.