She kneeled by the bed, stroking her hair while quietly singing “Jesus Loves Me” into her ear. I had seen her do it many times before. She had rocked my three babies to sleep in a similar manner; in fact, she had calmed me to peaceful rest in the same way as a child.
This time was different. I sat in the uncomfortable chair by the door and watched my mother battle tears as we sang through several more hymns. Granny finally fell asleep and we snuck out on tiptoes, you know, the “baby finally fell asleep in his crib” walk.
My Granny, Mom’s mom, is ninety-two years old and in the throes of dementia. It seems like it hit her almost overnight, and suddenly the semi-energetic, with-it, smiling woman turned into an easily-agitated, worrisome, sleepy, wheelchair bound, frail person we hardly recognize.
I’ve seen Mom nurture in countless ways, far too many to mention here. Yet, it was watching my own aging mom tend to the earthly anxieties of my feeble grandmother that will forever be burned in my memory.
As we prayed aloud the Lord’s Prayer, tears welled behind my closed lids. I was struck by the legacy of faith in that one solitary action. Granny had trained her children in the way of the Lord so that they in turn would raise her grandchildren to know their Savior too. I’m certain the thirty-six-year-old version of Granny would have been thrilled to know what was taking place in her room that night.
I noticed the portrait of Granny with her five sisters hanging on the wall, a snapshot of youth from the 1940s. I’ve seen that picture a million times, but this night I glanced at it and then at my gray-haired Granny lying in her bed. Mom had turned on soft music that recites Scripture. Psalm 139:13–14 was spoken, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (NIV). My heart skipped a beat as I heard those words and thought how Granny’s life had run its course, this side of heaven.
He knit her together in her mother’s womb ninety-three years ago, 1923, when our world looked markedly different. She spent her childhood working the Texas farm and attending a one-room schoolhouse. She lived through the Great Depression. She met Grandpa and loved him through World War II. She successfully raised two daughters and hugely impacted the lives of five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She did all of this while trusting her Lord Jesus in joy and pain, giving thanks in all circumstances, and sharing His love and forgiveness within her circle of influence. She made a mean cinnamon roll too.
It’s in the shadow of her impending transition to heaven that I am more in wonder of the legacy she leaves behind. Ninety-three years seems like a long time, and in the framework of the average human life expectancy, I suppose it is. However, ninety-three years on earth is but a blip on the eternal life time continuum. Once she meets her Savior face-to-face, those years won’t hold an ounce of importance for her. She will be dancing on the streets of gold, celebrating with the saints of heaven, and reunited with my grandfather, whom she lost twenty-nine years ago.
It will be her living legacy that will remain. Those of us she leaves behind still have time on this earth to share the Gospel, spread truth and forgiveness, and teach our children to believe Scripture and apply it to their lives. Assuredly, I knew this was ultimately my purpose, but I see my responsibility more clearly now.
Ninety-three years passed before my eyes that night in a dark room. Granny’s still teaching a few more lessons before she parts, and maybe that’s why the Lord lets her linger. Job well done, good and faithful servant.
Jessica Brashear lives in Seward, Nebraska and is a wife and mother of three. She enjoys entertaining, building relationships with Concordia Nebraska students and finding ways to encourage others. As primarily a stay-at-home mom, she loves a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) and a good laugh with a friend. Although her days are mostly filled with PB&J, spilled milk, and breaking up sibling spats, she couldn’t imagine a more precious life. She hopes her readers relate to her real life, tell-it-like-it-is transparency and authenticity.