I recently had to say goodbye to someone very special to me. A woman who has influenced me and inspired me most of my life. She taught me what it truly means to be a light for Jesus. She lived her life in such a way that she honoured God in everything that she did and said. Pastor Pauley defined the grandparent and grandchild relationship perfectly. “I believe grandparents are to be honored as valued family members. I believe their wisdom in living should be sought and passed on to their children and their children’s children. I also believe that grandparents have the responsibility to teach and model to their grandchildren how to know Jesus Christ and grow in a relationship with Him, as well as to pass along biblical principles for godly living.” I feel so blessed to have had a grandmother who taught me these things.
My mom asked me if I wanted her to share anything at my gran’s celebration of life on my behalf. I was so grateful she asked because I wasn’t able to go to South Africa and be there in person. I asked my mom to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” To me, my gran was the epitome of love. I couldn’t think of a better way to express who she was than this verse.
My gran was the very essence of beauty. A woman of elegance and grace. What an incredible role model for a young girl to grow up with. Even more incredible is the amazing woman she raised, my mom. I have always wanted to be like my mom and my gran. Both in their individual qualities and the relationship they had with each other. I loved watching them interact with each other. There was so much love in their relationship; an unselfish love that they both shared with me. My mom honoured her parents so beautifully. I never got to witness it with my grandpa but I am so glad I did with my gran. Their relationship was so beautiful that all I ever wanted growing up was to have this with my mom and over time we have. We’ve grown so much closer over the years through everything we have been through. I won’t say that we don’t still have our moments, but I feel these “moments” continue to shape and grow our relationship. It is such a privilege to be friends with your parents. To be able to go to them with anything and always be supported and loved. I have experienced that more than ever this year.
Most people today have the great honour of having their grandparents living in close proximity to them. At most they are a few hours away and they get to spend a lot of time with them. I unfortunately have lived far away from my family for 21 years. God did bless us by having my gran fly out from South Africa on numerous occasions throughout the years and vice versa. The memories I have from these trips I will carry with me for the rest of my life. There was always so much laughter when we were together. My fondest memories were sitting on her patio and hearing stories about her life, my grandpa and how they first met. Their life together and stories of my mom as a child.
Sketching beside her, with a view of the Drakensberg mountains around us.
Riding in the back of a buckie in Underburg up a mountain for sundowners. Taking walks on the sand with her on my arm taking in the breathtaking views of Margate beach. Falling in the sand and laughing so hard we couldn’t stand up. Spending multiple weeks at the beach playing cards and spending time together.
The hardest part about saying goodbye to my gran was not that she would no longer be here, because I knew she would be going to heaven. The hardest part was knowing that the last time I saw her, hugged her or heard her laugh was four years ago. I was given an incredible gift when I was able to tell her I loved her over the phone and say goodbye a week before she passed. Although I couldn’t make out what she said through my tears, my mom told me she said, “Goodbye my darling, I love you.” I will cherish those words always.
I will miss my gran everyday but I so look forward to the day we will see each other again. I will hold onto every memory that we shared together and always look back fondly on the relationship we had. She brought our family together and I am so grateful that I had 25 years to know her and love her. I think I speak on behalf of my whole family when I say that she was an amazing wife, mother and grandmother.
If I am able to be half the woman she was, I will consider myself truly blessed.
Gran, thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for believing in me, when I didn’t even believe in myself. Thank you for giving me the most loving, thoughtful, generous, kind, wonderfully beautiful mother. I will love you forever and always.
“She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.” Proverbs 3:15-18