Life is sometimes hard. Really hard! Encouraging way to start a blog, right? Well, it's true. This crazy ride we call life is messy, and wonderful, and sometimes it even seems unfair and then other times you experience unspeakable joy. In February of 2015 when my grandmother (MawMaw Jackie) was diagnosed with cancer it was one of those low moments. We had only been back in Florida for 8 months when she received this diagnosis. Could this really be happening?
My emotions were all over the place. Disbelief, sadness, anger, hopefulness seemed to grip me. My MawMaw was one of the people I couldn't wait to spend more time with once we moved back to Florida. I couldn't wait for my daughters to have the opportunity to grow up around this amazing woman. This sweet lady is part of so many of my childhood memories. Goodness, she's a part of most of my memories period. Growing up I spent so many weekends and countless days over spring and summer breaks at her house. Often times I would ride the school bus she drove home with her after school on Friday and wouldn't go home until Sunday afternoon. She was incredibly fun to be around. We would take rides through the woods looking at deer and other animals. Other times we would buy some worms, take our cane poles and go fishing. She could play a mean game of Yahtzee, loved to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and was the greatest backscratcher ever! MawMaw made the best oatmeal for breakfast, her homemade biscuits were perfection and she is single handedly responsible for my love of pecan and coconut cream pies. She loved to tell or hear a good joke and she had a great laugh.
Her interest in my life didn't go away as I got older. She made our wedding cake when Shae and I got married. She was at the hospital when 2 of my daughters, Madison and Savanna, were born. She travelled to every state we ever lived in to visit. She was constant! Her love was unwavering. And she had cancer!! I sat in disbelief in the hospital room when the news was delivered. How was our family going to make it without this lady around? How was I going to explain this to my kids?
The days and months ahead were full of ups and downs. Her treatments were incredibly difficult on her but she never complained. We tried to take advantage of every opportunity to spend time with her. She baked with my girls, sat on the floor in the living room and let them put rollers in her hair and did her very best to never let them see her hurting. Just 7 months after her diagnosis, on September 20, 2015, she lost her battle with cancer. She loved Jesus and I have no doubt that the moment she breathed her last breath here she was in the presence of God. But it hurts. A lot. It still gets me.
Grief doesn't operate on a time table. It isn't a prescription that lasts for 7 days and is over. It comes and goes and hits you unexpectedly. A couple of weeks ago we were cooking dinner and decided to make cream corn that MawMaw had put up and given to us. Years ago, during one of our trips to Florida she had made fresh cream corn and Savanna ate 3 helpings. This made MawMaw so happy that she started putting it up and giving it to us when she saw us or when she could get it delivered to us when someone was coming for a visit. While cooking dinner that night I lifted the lid on the pot of cream corn and the smell took me back to her house. I could have closed my eyes and you could have convinced me I was in her house. I stood in my kitchen and cried just thinking of her. I desperately wish I could pick up my phone and call her or get in my car and go visit her just one more time. My guess is there will be more of those moments. I'm grateful for her life, blessed to have experienced her love and thankful God chose her to be my MawMaw.
Each of us will experience loss. Eventually someone you love will pass away. When you face these moments give yourself permission to grieve. Give yourself permission to not be okay. Allow yourself to cry while you stir the cream corn or laugh when you hear or tell a story or joke they told. During MawMaw's final days someone said to me, "Danny this isn't something you are going to get over, it's something you are going to get through." I'm grateful for those words and I understand them so much better today than I did in that moment.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.