Monday, August 8, 2011

My Flesh and Heart May Fail....


This past Sunday morning I held my Grandmother's hands in mine and sat quietly by her bedside as she fitfully slept the hours away.  Her body is beginning to gradually shut down as she approaches her 97th birthday.  Her heart continues to beat a steady rhythm as she breathes softly in and out.  She slowly inhales, eyes partially closed,  and I can hear her struggle to take in the air that sustains her.  The lines on her face are relaxed, her white hair is a stark contrast to the beige pillow on which she cradles her head.

For a moment she awakens, opens her eyes and looks straight up to heaven "Is it time yet?  Should I go towards the light?" she asks quietly in perfect english, heavily laced in a thick dutch accent.

"No Oma" I reply.  "It's Sunday morning.  Church services will be over soon and everyone will stop by to visit you for coffee.  Would you like me to get you a cup of coffee?".

"No thank you" she states firmly.  "I will wait for Dicky to bring me my coffee.  She knows exactly how I like it.  Some people make it too HOT!" and she slowly drifts off to sleep again.

My mind starts to wander over the last 25 years to when I first met her.  She was always so spunky and full of life.  Never one to leave a story untold or waste a good moment for conversation by keeping silent, she loved to chat about what life was like when she was young.  Immigrating to Canada after the loss of her first husband, bringing all of her 5 children along with her was the most courageous thing I could ever imagine a widow to do in the 1950's.  She was a special lady, that's for sure!

I feel her hands move underneath mine as she tries to settle in a more comfortable position.  She opens her eyes and says "I'm going to heaven soon to be with my Father, you know" with all the conviction of a beloved daughter.  "But it's not because I was so good in my life time.  No, it is only because my Saviour Jesus Christ died for my sins.  You know that, right?!  I taught you all about how He died for our sins, didn't I?!" and she lays back down into her pillow in a slightly less peaceful slumber.

My eyes well up with tears.  I start to pray quietly to myself.  "Dear Lord, please grant me the peaceful knowledge that I too, in all my weakness and despite all my faults, may live in the conviction that I am saved by Thy grace alone."  I am in awe at the incredible faith she has as she stands on the threshold between this life and the next.

I sit quietly for a few more minutes, my back growing weary of leaning over to hold her hand.  She stirs. Her eyes flutter open and she looks me directly in the eyes.  "It's taking a long time.  How long have I been waiting?"

I smile and tell her that soon people are going to stop in to see her.  She just squeezes my hand and says "You have been so good to me."  I am ashamed of myself when I hear her speak so generously.  Why didn't I visit her more often?  Why was I always so busy?  I should have stopped in to chat and drink a little tea now and then but something always got in the way.  Now it's too late.

But I know that she is very happy right now.  She is so happy that soon she will be with her Heavenly Father, waiting for all of her own dear children to join her at the table our Saviour has set for us all.  Her journey is nearly over.  Ours is only half way done.  What a blessing we have in our Oma and all that she has taught us to believe in.

Thank you Oma


Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.


11 Comments »

11 Responses to “My Flesh and Heart May Fail....”

Derrick & Jeanette deBoer said...

Beautiful Blog Tamara, As I (we) sit here reading it the first thing that comes to mind is Oma's favourite hymn. Hymn 11...."Comfort comfort ye my people, Speak ye peace, thus saith our God; Comfort those who sit in darkness, Mourning 'neath their sorrow's load. Speak ye to Jerusalem. Of the peace that waits for them; Tell her that her sins are cover, And her warfare now is over.

Derrick & Jeanette and family

momofcrt said...

beautiful post indeed. I sat with Henry's Oma when she was dying and she looked at me and in very clear English (when she only otherwise spoke Dutch) said "I see Jesus"
What a comfort to me, what a witness to me. Nobody can tell me there is no such thing as heaven. Even though I know it from the Bible, having Oma say that to me made it all that much more of a sure thing. Not sure if that makes sense ?

Deb said...

a very sweet post...my little britches calls me Oma....

Donna said...

What a touching, touching tribute to a wonderful grandmother! I loved mine almost as much as my own mother and was devastated when she died. I know that feeling.
I think we can't regret the times not there though, only cherish the special moments that make it all worth while, Tamara.
I hope that this is a gentle few days for you...your grandmother is of tremendous character to remind you, her legacy, of the Lord...passing on her wisdom and knowledge. Blessings for your heart as you go through this.

Becky K. said...

So beautiful. My Grandmother insisted that everyone within range be invited to be with her in Heaven...and that was on the day she peacefully reached her new home.

Watching a saint prepare to leave is a strangely beautiful thing. A faith builder, for sure. You shared it so well.

Praying for all of you.

Sheila said...

What a sweet, wonderful post. Your Grandmother's testimony is to be treasured. I was there when both of my parents passed from this world into the arms of their Precious Saviour. Heaven is getting sweeter every day! Treasure your memories of Oma!

Marina said...

Black and white of life are so close...
Laugh and tears are so close...
May she finds what she hopes in heaven, happiness and peace!

all that i am said...

oh Tamara
what a beautiful reflection...
97 years
what a beautiful life...
and to know 'home' is not far away, what a beautiful peace

Rosa Veldkamp said...

This is a beautiful post Tam!

Nancy-Mom said...

Yes, a beautiful post. It seems like just a little while ago that they came to Canada,to New Westminster. So many years have gone by and she is/was always ready for a chat with a smile. Altough she had trouble focusing on who you were, all you needed to do was speak a few words and she knew. Yes, lots of memories.When oma and opa VDM were still alive she would visit and talk about shared acquaintances in Holland.

T.O. Geezer said...

A good Christian legacy is a wonderful thing to leave behind. You and your family are truly blessed.

~Ron