Friday, August 8, 2008

A Tribute

Allow me the indulgence of a personal tribute today to someone who has marked my life with her love. In recent days I have spent time with my grandmother, Carrie Clutter, at the nursing home. This is not unusual because I would often "pop" in for a few moments to say hello and check on her, but now each word she spoke was a treasure. We were told by her doctor that her days on earth were coming to a close. At 97 years old, this was not really a surprise to us, yet it was so surreal.

Monday evening, the family gathered with her and shared stories that only we would know about one another. We laughed and shed a few tears and even sang "Happy Birthday" to my now 15 year old daughter. As the evening went on and we saw that Grandma was getting tired, we said our goodbyes. As we kissed her and said we would see her soon, she spoke to each one, "I love you." How I have come to treasure those words, as they were the last words any of us would hear her speak.

Tuesday, when I went to see her she was barely aware of my presence. Then Wednesday morning I received a call from my dad that it would not be long. As I drove through the early morning fog, a flood of childhood memories washed over me. I have no regrets in my relationship with Grandma. I will always treasure our conversations.

When I arrived at her room she looked so tiny and frail. It seems we leave this earth much like we enter it. She was not conscious and I could hear the sound of looming death as she took each breath. My Dad and I talked with her and told her it was alright to go home. She was such a fighter and it seemed she was still clinging to life. I sang to her and prayed for her as we listened for each breath. The nurses at Goodwill took their turns in coming in to say their goodbyes. Each one spoke of her with a smile.

As I sat by her bedside I was comforted in knowing her commitment to Jesus Christ. She was raised in the church and often played the piano for the services. She told me the story of a summer revival meeting when she was a teenager and she and her friend had decided that they would "go forward" together to receive Christ the next day. However, she was so convicted in the meeting that night that she accepted Jesus herself without the accompaniment of her friend. In our recent conversations she would also relate her relationship with her Lord.

As she breathed her last, I imagined her escorted by the angels into the arms of her Saviour. My friend, I pose a question to you today. When your loved ones are at your bedside awaiting your last breath, will they have the assurance of knowing where you will spend eternity? None of us are promised even one more day and our decision about our eternal home is made by no one but us. The Bible tells us that "today is the day of salvation." Heaven is a real place and I hope to meet you there one day. When I see you I'll introduce you to my grandma.

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