Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow...

It's been a hard couple of days. Yesterday morning, as I was rushing to get ready for church, my phone rang. It was my mom, and I almost didn't answer because I was in such a hurry. For some reason, though, I had a feeling I should pick it up. So I did. What I heard was such a devastating shock, I didn't know what to say or do. She told me that my grandmother had died in a house fire. She said that on Friday, she saw a story about a house fire on Deese Road that left a woman dead. She immediately called the Fire Department and expressed her concern that her children's grandmother lived on that street and wanted to be see if it was her. The dispatcher asked for my grandmother's address, my mom gave it to her, and the woman told her, "You're ok."

My mom was still concerned but felt some reassurance from the dispatcher. Then, she saw it in the paper on Sunday morning. It was then that she realized that it was indeed my grandmother. That's when she called me.
After I heard the news and got off the phone, I was in such shock. This couldn't be. She couldn't be gone, not in a house fire. I hadn't even gotten to see her since she'd come back; to introduce her to my husband, my kids. My sweet Grandma Jan. My Grandma Jan who had always fixed me raisin toast, who invented my favorite drink...the slurprise. My Grandma Jan who loved to sing, hum, and play the organ. My grandmother who loved to work in her yard and would always come pick up my brother and me and take us to do fun things. Grandma Jan who would pierce my ears over and over because she always thought that the holes had closed. My dear sweet Grandma Jan who strongly believed in natural health and LOVED Melaleuca...way back before anyone knew what that stuff was.

Although I haven't seen her in about 15 years, I can hear her voice as clearly as my own. It seems like I just saw her yesterday. I can hear her singing, I can see her crying because of the broken relationship between her son and his kids. I can hear her laugh. I can see her putting on her lipstick and pinning up her pretty blonde hair. I can hear the stories she used to tell of how poor her parents were and all the trials they went through as she was growing up. I can see her so clearly, I can hear her voice as if she were in the room.

Yet she's not. I'll never see her again, and that absolutely breaks my heart. I'm broken-hearted that I'll never be able to introduce Channing and my boys to the grandmother who meant so much to me as a child. She was the only contact I had with my birth father's side of the family. Despite the lack of relationship with him, my brother and I had a strong relationship with Grandma Jan. She loved us so much and made sure we knew it. She desperately wanted us to have a relationship with her son, but for many reasons, it wasn't something I was interested in.

And now that she's gone, I have no one on that side of my family. I can't even begin to explain how that feels. There's just such an emptiness and sadness. My heart aches. I am filled with guilt that I never went to see her once she came back from Nebraska. You see, she left our hometown for Nebraska when I was in school. Her parents (my great-grandparents) lived in Nebraska and were in very poor health. She moved up there to take care of them. She spent many years there. While there, she suffered a nervous breakdown and was never again the same. She moved back but wasn't in good health. She just never recovered from the breakdown she had.

The fire started in the kitchen. Although they are investigating, they think it was caused by lightning. It was an afternoon fire, and we're not sure why she was unable to get out, but we think she may have been trying to put the fire out.

My grandmother was beautiful. I often compared her to Zsa Zsa Gabore. She wasn't your typical grandma. She was eclectic and fun. She had such a beautiful voice and a loving heart. I will miss her so. I so wish my boys had been able to meet her. I will make sure to tell them all about her and how much she would have loved them.

If I have learned anything from this situation, it's this...

Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Just two days before this happened, I was thinking about Grandma Jan and how I was going to take the boys to her house the next time I was in Ozark. Now I know that I will never be given that chance. How I wish I had done it the last time I was there! What I wouldn't give to relive that weekend. From what I've heard from one of my uncles, it wouldn't have been good to visit. She was really doing bad. Still, I wish I had. Just to see her one last time...what I wouldn't give...

Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Make sure your family knows that you love them. You never know how much time you'll have them with you. Life is so short and can be lost in an instant.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenh
earted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain...Revelation 21:4

19 comments:

Ole Miss Mom said...

Annie, I'm so sorry for your loss. That must be so hard! You've definitely made me think about things!

April said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. I will keep you all in my prayers.

LeAnne said...

i'm so sorry for the loss, annie. this was a beautiful post...i'll take your words to heart. thanks for sharing this with us all...i'll be praying for you in this tough time.

The Hairston's said...

Annie, I am so so sorry to hear about your grandmother! I will be praying for you! Love you!

lynseleanne said...

Annie, I am sorry to hear about that. I will keep you in my prayers through this time.

Thanks for being vulnerable. I love it.

These Three Kings said...

oh..I am so sorry to hear this..praying for you all during this time..

Romans 5:3-5
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


PSALM 34
1 I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 2 My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

AngelGirl said...

annie, SOOO sorry to hear about your grandma. will be keeping you in my prayers. love you

Brandi said...

We are praying for you. Hang on to those happy memories!

nick, robyn and taylor said...

Oh Annie, I am so sorry to hear this. I will be praying that the Lord will bind Satan from you so that you cannot hear his lies. Praying that you would not feel guilty, but that you would trust in God's sovereignty and perfect plan even in the midst of heartache.

Hillary Dunham said...

I can't add much more to the wonderful encouragement every one else has said, but please know that I'll be praying for you all. And let me ditto Robyn's sentiments.
This was a wonderful tribute to her and your family. I know you'll be happy to show it to your boys one day.

Becky said...

I also want to let you know I'll keep you in my prayers! Even though I've lost a loved one suddenly, I still take for granted the time we have with loved ones. I can always use a reminder...I'm just sorry it had to be this way. I agree with everyone in holding onto those precious memories! I love you!

Sarah @ Fiddledeedee said...

Annie,
I am just so sorry. Thank you for reminding us to take the time to stop and enjoy what God has given to us. I'm praying for you, girl...

Donna said...

Annie I'm so sorry. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman- and how amazing that she made sure you knew you were loved by her in spite of the broken family. I will pray for you- thanks for this reminder for all of us to seize the day.

Grethel Van Epps said...

Annie,
I'm so sorry for your loss, you and your family will be in my thoughts.

MorningSong said...

I am so sorry to hear this Annie! What a shock! I had a slightly similar experience but found out my parents were both in an awful wreck and my mom was airlifted. This was Mon or Tues night - it is all blurry now! All I know is when I looked at the phone I wasn't going to answer but I did and even though they are both ok it does shake you up to think what if.

I hate that you didn't have that 'one more visit' but if you had seen her it would have left you with the memory of her in a less than state than you currently have. I know that is NOT comforting but you still remember the beauty of her and not the ailing her! That can be a blessing even though your heart will not be comforted by that thought!

Blessings and hugs my friend! My prayers are with you!

Emily said...

oh, annie. my heart breaks for you. i am so sorry to hear this news. you will be in our prayers!

Leslie said...

Hey Annie, I feel like such a ding dong having seen you 2x since you've posted this and never knew! I'd have hugged you or something. I know you are sad and sobered. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts. Love ya!

M.S. said...

Awww Annie! I had no idea. i am so sorry for you loss. I wish I would have checked your blog last week so I would have known. I will be praying for you during this time. See you soon!

Lindsey said...

Annie,
Even in your loss, you continue to provide encouragement and inspiration for others! You and your family will be in our prayers! I'm so sorry for your loss.