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When we moved to Orlando years ago, the size of our family overwhelmed a lot of people.

Six children were a handful. Folks were a little intimidated to invite us over for a meal.

Betty and Herb never hesitated.

Grandparents weren’t close. The kids hadn’t grown up with the influence of an older generation who had character, integrity and wisdom–and a sense of humor.

They quickly became Grandma Betty and Grandpa Herb. They celebrated us and our kids, and we became family.15645648_10209677878161530_1347879246_n

A big deal when you move into a new area.

Grandpa Herb went home to be with the Lord years ago.

This past week, it was her turn. At 95, she’d longed for heaven. She went peacefully, her daughter, Lynne, singing over her as she left this world.

I’d gotten a call from Lynne late Tuesday to let me know they’d put Grandma Betty on hospice.

I’ve not been faithful to spend time with this dear friend, my “other” mother, lately. I went Wednesday morning, feeling guilty for not having made it sooner. Recognizing my loss because I’d not made the time.

She was lying quietly, her breathing labored. Lynne’s been taking care of her for years, and she walked in ahead of me to tell Grandma Betty I was there.

And gave me time to be alone with her.

The tears came as I stood over her, holding her hand. I kissed her cheek and told her how much I loved her. Appreciated how she’d always been there for me.

Words seemed so insignificant. With tears, I kept telling her I loved her. Nothing else came.

At one point, she mumbled, “I love you.” I hold it in my heart as her gift to me.

People were wearing her out because of her frailty. I felt blessed to have had time with this woman who’s been a hero of faith for me. A prayer warrior. A woman who stood by those she loved, no matter what the cost.

At this time of year, many take a bit of time to focus on the birth of Jesus. Maybe just giving it a passing nod. Many feel overcome by thoughts of political correctness and needing to say, “Merry Everything.”

Too often, it’s a passing acknowledgement. No real time given to what Christmas is really about.

Too much like my final times with Grandma Betty.

Here’s a woman who loved me well. Who made us her family when we weren’t. Who stood in the gap for us when we went through some really ugly times. A faithful woman, full of faith.

As much as she loved me, Jesus loves me more. He’s stood in the gap for me, loving me well, leaving comfort and glory for a stable and a cross.

How often do I give Him just a passing nod? An acknowledgement that He’s there?

But no real time.

Grandma Betty has taught me how choosing to spend time with those who are significant is essential. I’ve lost the chance this side of heaven to do that with her.

Because Jesus has made relationships matter, I have an eternity with her.

And Him.

He doesn’t hold my busyness against me. He welcomes me every time I’m with Him.

Grandma Betty did, too.

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One response »

  1. I’m sorry, Dayle. My heart aches for you in this loss! What a beautiful connection you had with Grandma Betty. And what a sweet gift to have those last moments and words to hold in your heart.

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