February 16th, I received a phone call from my brother informing me that my grandmother had passed away. Although she was 94, it did not make it any easier to deal with.
She was the greatest grandmother ever! Although I grew up in the Philippines and only saw my grandparents once or twice every few years, I cherished every moment I had with them. One of the many things I loved about Grammy was that she did not want to know anything negative about any of her family. She made me feel loved, accepted, and special.
The following day, I was looking for all the pictures I had of me and my Grammy. I looked through all my albums and noticed that I had quite a few. I then started counting all the times I had been to visit my grandparents since 1997.
It was the summer of 1997, when my brother and sister decided to take a bus trip to New York to see our very loved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
My next visit was the summer of 1999 when I stayed with my grandparents and also Uncle Bill and Aunt Peggy the entire summer. Then there was the visit in 2003 after Andy and I were married. I flew out there in 2007 by myself. Andy and I drove to New York February of 2010 so they could meet our first child.
My cousin Heather was married in 2011 so I went out there with my daughter who was one month away from turning two. In 2012, we had our second child and then our third was born in 2014. Due to difficult pregnancies followed by postpartum depression, I was not able to travel to New York during that difficult time.
I received the call that my grandfather had passed away in March of 2016. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be there for the funeral. I took my oldest and my youngest with me and we stayed in New York for a few days and mourned the loss of Grampy, but also enjoyed the fellowship of family to comfort each other.
After looking through all the pictures, reminiscing all the wonderful memories I had with my grandmother, considering all the times I wrote her letters and called her on the telephone, I was at peace. I knew that I had shown her as much love as I was able and visited her as often as possible, and I look forward to the day that I meet her again in heaven. I pictured my Grammy and Grampy strolling the golden streets of heaven together.
I then looked for all the things, that had previously belonged to Grammy, that she had sent me. The cat coffee mugs, the cat books, the cat figurines, the dishes, and the recipes. I am constantly reminded of my grandmother every time I look at these things that were hers.
As much as I wanted to, I was not able to go to NY for the funeral. I had back surgery 2 months ago, and I still have too much back pain. I would have had to sit in the car for 2 hours to get to the airport, then 2 hours on the airplane, then another hour to get to my Aunt Christina’s. All that sitting would have caused extreme pain and I would have been miserable.
Why do I love being with my family in NY? Let me count the ways: I am completely loved and accepted by my family in New York. We all love being together. There is no time to watch TV when we are together because there is so much to talk about. You can’t leave a get-together without getting hugged by every single person at least twice.
Don’t even think about going to bed before 10 pm because you have to stay up late talking. You can also be completely confident that there is nothing negative said about you when you are absent from a get-together. You don’t need to give extravagant gifts to each other to show your love. All you need is to spend time with each other.
So, is it easy living so far from my loved-ones? No, it’s not! I often wonder why God has placed me so far from my loved-ones. As I contemplate this, I am brought back to the fact that I would not have depended on God as much if I lived in New York.
Many times, I have been lonely and have felt like an outcast here in Wisconsin. Because of that, I have cried out to God for help. My faith in Christ has grown. God placed me here for my spiritual growth. To prove that all that I really need is God.
Have you lost a loved-one recently? Do you live far from your loved-ones?