Posted by: Karen | April 1, 2005

An Emotional Week

This week much of my energy has been focused on my grandma’s funeral, in which I had been asked to “say a few words” and sing. I don’t get up in public on a regular basis, so I was nervous, distracted, and didn’t sleep well either. I still went to work, still ran with the group on Tuesday night, but much of my soul was focusing on Thursday’s funeral.

The funeral was in Camrose, a few hours from here, so we drove up right after work on Wednesday night and stayed over. After the viewing my cousins and a sister in-law practiced a hymn we were to sing at the end of Thursday’s service. It was good bonding time and I was glad for the help with the alto line – I don’t often sing alto.

I had some time for a run Thursday morning, and took the words to the hymn with me, in an attempt to memorize them. Hopefully if I wasn’t worrying about the words, I could concentrate more on the notes.

I ran out past Grandma’s house, about a km from our motel. She and Grandpa had retired to it in the 70’s, when Grandpa’s weak heart made it too difficult to farm anymore. Now there was a new fence around the back yard, and a hockey net and wagon in the front.

God be with you til we meet again
By His counsels guide, uphold you
With His sheep securely fold you
God be with you til we meet again

The hymn was comfortingly repetitive, with only the middles of the stanzas changing every verse. While I couldn’t sing and run at the same time, I did repeat the words silently in my head to a cadence, and they inspired me.

Neath His wings securely hide you
Daily manna still provide you

I didn’t have to learn the second verse, as my cousin was to play it as a flute solo, but it was still comforting. I jogged east, towards the senior’s apartment my grandma had moved into a few years back, when the house was just too much to keep up. Puddles on the sidewalks were frozen hard, so I stuck mostly to the gravelly sides of streets.

When life’s perils thick confound you
Put His arms unfailing round you

I took a fair amount of walk breaks. My legs were heavy and it was hard to find a rhythm that made my breath comfortable. I didn’t push it or worry about pace. I wasn’t out there running for the run, I was out there and the run was there for me.

Keep love’s banner floating o’er you
Smite death’s threat’ning wave before you

I carried on past the senior’s apartment building, past the cemetery where she’d be laid to rest later that day, the hospital, and the house where I think she was born, just down the street. I looked across the pond in the middle of town, to a nursing home where she had stayed briefly, and took a path back west along the shore towards the motel. I was mostly walking now, and smiled when I saw suet-laden pinecones and popcorn strings with cranberries hung up in bushes for the birds.

Til we meet, til we meet
Til we meet at Jesus feet
Til we meet, til we meet
God be with you til we meet again.

It was good to be with my extended family, share hugs, catch up on news, see how much the other great-grandkids have grown, meet the newest babe-in-arms. It was important to me that I participate in Grandma’s remembrance, that I express my love for her in a way that others could understand and share in, so I did my best, and I’m glad I did.

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Responses

  1. That’s beautiful, Karen. Thank you for sharing the memories of your grandmother and how you’ve coped during this this emotional week – you are an inspiration. Big hugs!

  2. Memories are great when you can remember someone like your grandma. All the best in the next while to you and you family.

  3. I am really sorry that you had a hard week and very sad for your loss. this entry was so beautifully written that I couldn’t but feel emotional. I love my grandmother and as she lives in another state I often feel sad that I don’t get to share my life with her as much as I used to.

  4. What a moving tribute! Her blood flows in your veins. šŸ™‚

  5. That’s a moving entry. I grew up with that song. My dad is a Protestant minister; those types of hymns are familiar to me.

    sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers, Kirsten

  6. I’m very sorry for your loss. It sounds like you paid a fitting tribute to her. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. So sorry for your loss, Karen. Sounds like you’ve found some peace in there. I hope the rest of your week is restful.

  8. That was a beautiful journey. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    I sang at my Mom’s memorial service. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”. It’s what she wanted, and so, as difficult as I feared it might be, I did it. I hope I sang well. I know I sang from the deepest part of myself that day. I’m sure you did as well, for your Gran.

  9. Sorry for your loss Karen, putting your thoughts to words and sharing them with us is a great tribute and a beautiful memory.
    Heather

  10. Karen, I just read this post and had to say how moving it was. Your run itself was a wonderful journey into your grandmother’s life. Beautiful tribute … simply beautiful.


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