We learn a lot through grief. We learn how to shine through the pain and tears for all of those who surround us. How to find comfort in the words of others and how to get through the days following.
My family recently lost my grandmother, Mary Francis Brinegar Tipton. It was so unexpected. In the past three years she had battled so much. The death of her husband for 53 years (James Rabbit Tipton). She fought her cancer and had been doing great.
She was an amazing woman. Full of tough love and spunk and she loved us all so much.
She was the type of person that if you asked her opinion, she’d hand it straight out; whether you wanted to hear that side of it or not. That was just how she was.
The Thursday before she died my mom came in from Michigan and spent the day with her. They had made plans for the weekend.
Granny was going to get her hair done at Judy’s (every Friday for as long as I can remember) and they were going to take her back to Red Lobster. She wouldn’t go that day because her hair needed to be fixed. That’s just how she was.
So they talked about the crabapple tree that stands in Granny’s front yard. About how beautiful it was. She asked mom to get some pictures of it.
She talked about how she’d never been to the zoo. Mom just happened to have her laptop with her from the times they’d went to the zoo with work. She got to visit the zoo if only through photographs.
I talked to her that Thursday and she fussed at me for not coming and getting a fridge. She let me know that it was her fridge and I could have it. I just couldn’t come up after dark and get it cause she went to bed.
Granny and I, we shared a like in purses. I’d go up to see her and say, “Oh, let me borrow that purse!” and of course she wouldn’t let me. Usually because they were Aunt Judy’s or Lana’s.
Mom brought her in a purse that Thursday and Granny told her she’d have to hurry up and put her stuff in it before I came up and got. She was so funny.
The day of her funeral was beautiful. Her service was held under the pink blossoms of the crabapple tree in her front yard with all of the family surrounding it.
Granny Mary had always said that she wanted me to sing at her funeral and I’d always told her sure. But, when it comes right down to it, that is one of the hardest things in the world to do.
So my mom stood by my side and she told me that now I had my chance to sing for Poppy to. As we started to sing I started to cry until a gentle wind came through blowing pink petals all around. I took a deep breath and finished with no more tears.
The grandsons carried her up to the grave yard to lay her to rest beside Poppy. And did the last thing they could for her. Little William asked if that was her new home and they told him no, to look up to Heaven and that was her new home.
He wants to know if he can call her on his mommy’s cell phone up in Heaven. Now you catch him talking to the sky, “Because she can hear you,” they told him.
It’s hard for adults to comprehend the loss of a loved one, let alone a three year old who thought the sun rose in his Nanny.
Talking to Granny is his way of getting through something he doesn’t understand yet. For me, it’s the memories.
Memories of yard sales, working in flower beds, Braves games, sitting on the front porch talking, or her getting out and playing baseball with all of her grandkids.
I caught myself calling her last Friday from work. Had most of the numbers dialed before I realized what I was doing.
But time, it heals all wounds. Memories keep those we have lost in our hearts and minds and love does the rest. But God, faith, and the power of prayer gives up hope and knowing that one day we will be with her again. In that land of endless days and forever blooming crabapple trees.