A Tribute to the Lady in Red

1521709_10202132834856169_741257200_nIt’s been one week.  A week of hear-wrenching grief and the kind of mindless rage that leaves my fingernails cutting gouges in my palms in a desperate attempt to not punch the first person I see just because none of them seem to be as miserable as I feel inside.  A week of feeling hollow, spent, and lost…so very, very lost.

Seven days

You know, it sounds much more ominous as the time since my beloved grandma passed away than it  ever could in any cheesy Hollywood horror movie.  And it is ominous too–the world will be a much darker place without her light to guide us all along the way.  I find myself feeling her absence in anything and everything that reminds me of her–the laughter of children, the smell of roses, and the warmth of the sun.  I’ve noticed it all week, but Thursday is when I fully realized it.  I was sitting at work and waiting for our weekly team member meeting to start.  Our HR manager was walking around the cafeteria asking people what they were thankful for.  All I could think was that I hoped she didn’t ask me because I didn’t think I could come up with a single happy thing t say.  Then I found myself laughing sardonically under my breath because she didn’t ask me–and for that, I was genuinely thankful.  But then she stopped asking people and went on to ask people to sing–it’s like a thing at work.  She’s always asking people to sing.  It usually amuses me, but that day it left me scowling before she had even goaded someone into doing it.  She picked this guy who works in the foam department.  He always sings gospel songs and he has a pretty decent voice so I’ve never minded it before.  On Thursday, he sang Amazing Grace.  It’s one of my favorites–it was also one of my grandma’s favorites.  I totally started crying and didn’t even care who might have noticed.

It happened again today.  I had just gotten off the phone with one of my dearest friends who is having a hard time right now too.  I turned on a Christy Lane CD because it has always made me feel better before–closer to God or something.  I temporarily forgot that I only know her music because my mom loves her…and my mom loves her because her mom loved her.  I made it through a good handful of songs before Amazing Grace started.  Next I knew, I had collapsed into a heap on the floor.  I spent the next five minutes sobbing on the floor and praying prayers without words–prayers comprised entirely of emotions.  That song has apparently become sort of trigger for me or something.  That kind of sucks since I love it so much and since there are so many amazing versions of it.

I’ve been trying to look at those reminders as good things–I’m just not doing a very good job of it…yet anyway.  But I think I owe it to her memory to at least try.  So, at the request of one of my uncles, here are some of the ways she shaped my life…

She taught me that the world is full of simple pleasures, and that those simple pleasures are what makes life so beautiful.  The delicate fluttering of a butterfly’s wings, the whisper-soft silk of rose petals brushing across skin, the catharsis that can only be found in the song that is sung when two people laugh together.  Simple things.  Beautiful things.  Things that are proof of God’s amazing grace…

She taught me that red is the color of life.  For me, she always be the lady in red.  She never looked right to me when she wore any other color.  She WAS red and all that it embodies.  She was the blood flowing through the heart of our family.  She was the red of Christmas–that special shade of red that means peace, joy, generosity, and a thousand different other wonderful things.  She was love incarnate.  No one could read one of her letters and not feel cherished.  No one could be enfolded into her arms without feeling the complete acceptance that comes with being at home.  No one could ever hear her say I love you and ever for even a second think that it wasn’t true.  She made love real for everyone who ever knew her, and taught us all to want to do the same…

Finally, she extended that lesson to teach us that God’s love is equally eternal.  I have never met another person who believed in God and loved Him as much as my grandma did.  Her relationship with the Lord was a shining example for the rest of us.  I have never once doubted His existence because to see her acceptance of Him IS to believe.  It’s unavoidable really.  It has always been a given that when she left this world, it would only be to go straight back to Heaven from where she came–to go home where all angels belong.  I still have my Bible that she gave to me on my ninth birthday.  Of course, it was one of the ones with the words of Christ in red.  She had circled John 3:16.  For her, it was the most important truth of all.  And since it was true for her, it has always been true for me too.  It won’t ever leave me because she said it was true with the matter-of-factness that someone would say that the sky is blue or that water is wet.  It just is…always has been…and always will be.  For that, I am forever grateful to her.  I know that she will be waiting for each and every one of us when our time comes, with smiling eyes, open arms, and the words “I love you” leaving her lips in that very same matter-of-fact way…

It’s enough to make me smile.  It’s not enough to make it stop hurting.  I don’t think it works like that==and maybe it shouldn’t.  If it didn’t hurt to lose someone, would that not mean that their value was only as fleeting and transient as their time spent on Earth?  No, the pain is definitely a good thing.  It is as raw and beautiful as everything else about her was.  A simple thing…and a thing worth living for…

I love you grandma, my very favorite lady in red, and I’ll always miss you.  See you on the other side…


This entry was posted in Day to Day Circumstances, Faith, The Complexities of Man and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Tribute to the Lady in Red

  1. FatnForty says:

    My grandma dies a little over a week ago. She was 103 and yet it still felt too soon.

    • I’m sorry :(. That’s so sad. I don’t think it matters how old someone is. No matter how much time we get with our loved ones, it is never enough. 103 though! That’s amazing. She must have had incredible stories 🙂

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