With a dripping heart I grip the reality that Mammer, J.P.'s grandmother, passed away today. His mom called me early this morning to let me know she had been admitted to the hospital last night due to extreme pain. Then she told me that the doctor's were preparing them that it wouldn't be long. I heard the words but couldn't believe it. It has been about a year since she was first diagnosed with the fatal news of the brain tumor. But she has been through thick and thin, ups and downs, trials and victories with the cancer...which is why I didn't want to accept the words that I knew the family had been dreading all along, "any time now." J.P.'s main concern was getting to tell her he loved her one last time. Although she was basically unconcious his mom but the phone up to Mammer's ear and in a strong and sturdy voice he whispered, "I love you, and don't be afraid, Mammer." All I could imagine was Mammer, lying unconcious but still being able to think. Knowing her faith, I invisioned her saying to the Lord, "any time now...my pain will be over and I'll be home with you." Less than an hour later I got a call from his mom saying Mammer had passed. She asked me to go be with JP when she called to tell him. I hugged him as he answered the dreaded call and without hearing the words, he threw the phone to the ground and fell to his knees. It was so humbling to see him fall to his knees first. I know when I'm hurting, the first thing I want to do is cry just to cry. JP just kept weeping and saying, "Lord, please help me. I need you." Although it was hard to see, it was something I will learn from.
The whole idea of death hasn't been something that has hit close to home often, by God's grace. I forgot how it feels to try and comprehend that someone fails to exist on earth anymore. As I sat in my practicum this morning, Mammer was taking her last breaths. As I sat comforting JP later on, she was leaving this world. As I sit here typing, she no longer exists. Death, although a celebration and followed by such an extraordinary promise from God, is something we can never fathom nor understand. I know that it will be more to take in when we return home to her empty house and grieving family, however I will never forget what Mammer has done for me. She planted Christ in JP's heart. She was his spiritual mother and for that I am always grateful. She had a hand in weaving the love of Christ in my future husband. Her actions inspired much of who he is today. Watching her suffer through the past year, with such strength and passion and quoting, "I am pressed but not crushed," (2 Cor. 4:8) despite pain, has been an encouragement and balm to my soul. I will miss Mammer, but as cliche as it may sound, "she is gone but not forgotten." She planted Christ as the base for her entire family and although she is gone, she has set the path for JP and I to continue to be Christ to the family and to share the faith as we create a new generation. Most memorable, she got to see me try on my wedding dress, so although she won't be there, I will have the image of her reassuring and excited smile in my mind as I say, "I do."