Sunday, June 15, 2008

"A Celebration of Life"

My  loving grandmother, who passed away on Thursday, kept a file folder of ideas that were to be used at her funeral. For example, hymns she wanted sung, the fact she wanted only a "12 minute sermon" at her graveside service, and how she wanted flowers from her yard placed on her casket by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
And how she wanted it to be referred to as "A Celebration of Life".
I loved that.
And the sermon (they ended up giving her 13 minutes) lived up every word of that. It was indeed a celebration.
The pastor said the word that summed her up was "Others". And it was so very true.  Even on her last days in the nursing home, while being fed by others, she would always ask anxiously, "Well, darlin', have you had your lunch yet? You need to go eat."
I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the incredible legacy my grandmother left. She was and is an inspiration and challenge definitely to me, but to many others in her small community. (Blogged here. Part of this was read at the service.)

(A half-bushel of peaches given to us in condolences from the local peach farmer down the road)
We sat outside "Gaga's" property and ate peaches after the service. I know she would have loved to see that.

The most precious thing I received was "Gaga's" bible. To hold in my hands the very Bible that inspired this amazing woman was and is a gift and a treasure. I love reading over her "clippings" pasted in her see what grabbed her attention and inspired her:

What was especially touching was her extensive handwritten notes in the margins...these particular scribblings are in the margin of the 23rd Psalm, read at her "Celebration":

And my favorite, "Helen's prayer", as she highlighted this verse:

"Tell me clearly what to do, which way to turn." ~Psalm 5:8

She must have prayed this prayer many times to call it her own. It showed in her life, actions, and words. She wanted to do what Jesus wanted her to do, and it showed.
Thank you for the legacy, Gaga.

"For the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."~Mark 10:45


laurel said...

Wow, Andrea, she sounds like an amazing, Godly woman. How wonderful that it truly could be a celebration, knowing so resolutely that she was now with her maker. And what a gift to have been given her bible. I am sure you will treasure it.

Kim said...

Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman. What a tremendous legacy she has left for your family - a true blessing.

Janel said...

Amazing. Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman.

Losing an incredible Christian example like that is so bittersweet. I'll be praying for your family.


Anonymous said...

Andrea, I will pray about your loss. thank you for sharing your loving tribute. It reminds me of my late Grandmother. Praise God for the intergenerational faithfulness in your family. I am blessed by learning Psalm 5:8. I need this every day (always have, but I guess I just now realize it).

Very lovely writing about your Grandmother and I LOVE the peaches. My Grandmother was a "South Carolinian". Mary Brooke in Atlanta

tonia said...

what a treasure, andrea. you have received a rare gift, both physically and spiritually. the heritage of faith is so priceless.

praying for you this morning.

Susan L said...

This is a beautiful tribute, Andrea! How wonderful that you have your grandmother's Bible and also that her example and legacy, and your memories, remain with you!


Elise said...

Such a legacy indeed- I see her fingerprints in you, my friend! I am sorry for your loss, but thankful for the beauty that was *Gaga*. Love you...

Beck said...

Oh, Andrea! Your grandmother sounds like she was wonderful.

Sheri said...

This post made me think of what my legacy would be. Am I living for Christ and serving those around me? Good post. Very thought provoking.

Andrea said...

Yes! She is an inspiration and challenge to me! made me I living for others...? A wonderful legacy to live up to.

Thank you all for the sweet words!!

Carrie at dumptrucksandteacups said...

Thank you for sharing this with us... what an inspiration and challenge!

Love to you,

L.L. Barkat said...

Sorry to hear of her passing (I should have mentioned that last week). I love that her life was summed up in the word "Others." That IS a true legacy. And the bible is beautiful, a precious thing to hold.

Andrea said...

L.L.--I know, I loved that when he said it. I nodded my head fiercely when he said it, for it was so true, not merely words.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

My sympathies for your loss (but not hers--it sounds as if she lived out Paul's cry "to live is Christ to die is gain").

Sounds like a lovely ceremony.

I keep telling everyone who will listen about what I want sung at my funeral. There's a 6th verse of All Creatures of Our God and King that isn't in most of the hymnals. I love it:

And thou most kind and gentle death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him, Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod;
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

karijo said...

i know i'm crying.
godly heritage is
a precious gift.
with love,
kari jo

Terry said...

Sorry to hear of your grandmother's passing and praying that the God of all comfort will comfort your family during this time.

She sounds like an amazing and awe-inspiring woman. Would that we all can leave behind the kind of legacy you describe as you write about her.

God bless you, Andrea.

Stacy said...


Her Bible?! What a gift to cherish!
I am sorry to hear of your loss but rejoicing with you that she is home.


Monica said...

What a beautiful tribute. It is never easy to say goodbye. What a priceless treasure it is to have her Bible and her prayers written by her own hand. Precious.

:..Rebekah..: said...

Thank you for sharing this. How wonderful to have such a heritage in your grandmother. She sounds like such a beautiful woman. I'm so glad that you have so much to celebrate in her memory!