7 years ago, in the month of November, my 93-year-old Grandmother passed away. My Grandmother’s life is fascinating to me. Her mother was Irish and sought a new life in the new world by traveling on a ship when she was 18. She must have been very brave to make the journey by herself, but I believe she was looking for a better life for herself and her future family. My Grandmother was eight years old when her mother died, and she was sent to live with a foster family. I am so grateful to this family for opening up their doors to foster children, and so grateful to foster families and families that adopt. What a gift they are giving so many caught in tragic situations!!
My Grandmother married young and she and my Grandfather had 4 children, survived the depression and WWII, and they saw their only son fight in the Vietnam War. They had 17 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren and so far– 26 great-great- grandchildren.
After 60 years of marriage my grandfather died, and my grandmother lived for another 15 years as a widow before she too died.
Not long before she died, I visited her, and we had a remarkable conversation. We talked about a book I had read, called, “Heaven is for Real.” I had seen the father and son interviewed by Katie Couric, and my Grandmother and I talked about this book and about Heaven. My Grandmother said that God was telling her not to be afraid, that He would be with her helping her step from one life to the next.
I think that my Grandmother showed great bravery, just as her mother did when she left her home and crossed an ocean looking for a better life.
Sometimes, the ones who go before us show us what faith looks like, so that when we need to step out in faith, we know how to do so. If my great-grandmother had not stepped out in faith, and left Ireland, the rest of her family would not be experiencing the great blessings of living in the New World.
My Grandmother did not know what awaited her on the other side of this life, but she believed that she would see Jesus, that she would be in His presence, and she was clinging onto this belief and sharing this faith with me.
My Grandmother was a woman of strong opinions and a strong will. However, she trusted in Jesus to save her and to forgive her. Jesus isn’t expecting us to be perfect before He accepts us, loves us and forgives us. Jesus accepts us, just as we are. That’s what my Grandmother has shown me. So, I celebrate her life—I’m thankful for her life.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!
** Photo Courtesy of David Pizzoferrato