I am so blessed to still have two living grandmothers. Eighty-nine and Ninety-one. You have met Mamaw Arden, my most valuable inheritance, but never before have you met Mildred, my dad’s mother.
She has always been small and feisty. A water aerobic goddess, a skilled gardener and devoted wife.
After my grandfather passed of Lou Gehrig’s disease in the eighties, she remarried.
A stud of a man. A former train engineer and southern gentleman. A ballroom dancing, chivalrous stud.
They were quite the couple.
But time catches up and eventually death makes its way it every front door.
Even at Christmastime.
Saturday, I sat next to Mamaw on her couch. Lately, I can see in her eyes she is inching away.
Holding her frail hand, we sat and listened to Everett’s daughter.
I heard the news with her. Both of us for the first time.
“They are moving Everett from the hospital to a new home, Mildred. It is a good place. A lady welcomes folks into her home to stay a while. She cooks for them and cares for them. There are nurses there. It is very warm and loving. It’s a good place. You can go and visit him anytime. I hear she is a good cook, too. Maybe you can go have a meal with him. Doesn’t that sound nice, Mildred?”
“Well. I guess.”
I chime in, “It sounds great. Can I book my stay for when I am ninety? What a great alternative to rehabilitation.” I turn and look at Mamaw, “Maybe he can stay there until he feels stronger. Then he can come home.”
Mamaw looked down, “He’ll never come home.”
“Its a hospice house, Becky.”
Hospice. A hopeless word.
The reality of the news started to sink deeply.
He’ll never come home.
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ear toward their cry.
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the broken hearted.
Psalm 34:15, 17-18
His eyes are upon my grandmother. He knows her frailties. He hears her cry.
Emmanuel has fresh meaning this year. God is with her.
Near to her broken heart.
He is the one who gives her peace and comforts.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are. Hebrews 4:15
He understands her grief. He came, specifically, to experience it.
This is a very difficult Christmas for many of you.
The joy of the holidays is painful in the midst of illness, loss, cancer, divorce, depression or death.
But know that he hears your cry.
His eyes are upon you.
He came to this world to deliver you.
He is near to the broken hearted.
Cry out to Him.
Emmanuel: God is with us.
God is with my grandmother.
God is with Everett.
Emmanuel: God is with you.