She hasn't been doing very well the past year. Her health had been declining and she had been in and out of a nursing home and the hospital. There were several things going on - liver failure and fluid on her lungs along with diabetes. A couple of weeks ago, we were called in to see her because she had been taken to the hospital with difficulty breathing. We all, including her, thought we would be saying goodbye that day, but she improved and seemed to be doing very well. Then, this past Sunday/Monday she started going down very quickly - disoriented, blood pressure and heart rate lowered. Yesterday, we were called in because it looked like her time with us was drawing to an end. We had been at the beach and were on the way home when we got the call, so we just kept driving to get to her and love on her all we could. I'm so, so glad we were able to be there. She wasn't able to talk much and was having a hard time breathing, but she looked me in my eyes and recognized me. She squeezed my hand and reached for me; she knew I was there. I knew the look in her eyes...that "I love you" look. I knew I was seeing my grandmother (I call her "MaMa") in her last moments, and my heart was heavy, but I couldn't help but breathe sighs of relief for her....and feel a twinge of jealousy that she was going home. She would soon be in the presence of the Lord and once again be with so many who have gone before her. 2 weeks ago in the hospital, she named every single person she could think of that she was looking forward to seeing! She was ready, and her tired body is no longer tired. She is dwelling in glory, and although I will miss her terribly, I rejoice for her and the reunion she is experiencing right now!
For 30 years, she was one of my very best friends. She and I have always shared a close connection. And she has always had me wrapped around her little finger. She taught me to value family and always put your family first. She also believed in Christ and had a strong faith. I loved to listen to her pray...so quiet and meek but strong and true. She and my grandpa had such a loving and funny relationship. They leaned on each other and depended on each other. She had the best laugh....gosh I will miss that. MaMa kept kids for many, many years....up until she was 76 years old. She played large part in raising me and I credit her with a lot of the traits that make me who I am today. I am very much like her....stubborness is probably the #1 trait I get from her! haha I used to love to sit with her and just listen to her tell stories. She could tell a story and fill it with such detail....you felt like you actually lived that experience. We would talk on the phone often....usually just to say I love you and "I just wanted to hear your voice." I called her recently for potty training advice....figured if anyone would know it would be her! I could go on and on.... I'm so thankful she was able to know all of my children. She always told me that Ayden was the most beautiful baby she had ever seen. She was enamored by Collen and Charlotte, and I'm thankful that we visited her often and they knew her well. She taught Collen one of his favorite little sayings. We say it every night at bed time - "A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck." Then Collen will say, "Great MaMa says that." He loved her so very much - the feeling was definitely mutual on her end as well.
I realize with each loss that the rest of my life will be filled with losing those around me. That is a very somber and sad realization, but it is the nature of the world in which we live. If I didn't have hope and the assurance of eternity in Heaven...the knowledge of seeing my loved ones again....the world and the loss I have experienced in 30 short years would have crushed me by now. Please keep our family in your prayers as we come together to remember my grandmother - Barbara Tyson - and honor her memory. Here are some pictures of MaMa - one of the sweetest ladies I will ever know. <3 p="">
I have always, always thought my grandma was the most beautiful woman I've ever seen! I love this photo of her - this is actually her wedding dress. :)
Love birds then....
...and 50 years later.
MaMa with Ayden (above and below)
MaMa and Collen
My dad, MaMa, me and Collen
MaMa and Charlotte - PURE JOY in this photo! The last girl in the family had been my sister...27 years prior to this moment!
Me, MaMa, my sister, Megan, during a visit in the nursing home
Her 80th birthday this past April
One heart beat - that's how it felt sometimes when I was with her. She will always be a part of me.
I was able to spend some time alone with MaMa last night. I was there with my Great Aunt (her sister) until after visiting hours. Leaving her was so difficult because I hated to leave her by herself. I stayed a little longer after my aunt left....just me and MaMa. I held her hand, stroked her hair, put some chapstick on her lips and told her I loved her...that everything was going to be okay. My voice was the last one she heard. Last night, I didn't know that would be the case and I certainly didn't think it would happen that way because I very rarely got to be alone with her. But I am so very, very grateful that I got that time with her...just me and her. As I sat with her, I read the verse below to her. It has brought me a lot of hope and encouragement lately. I repeated the end to her... "you will restore my life again." She is restored. She is rejoicing. She is fulfilled.
New International Version (NIV)
As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.16
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.17
Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.18
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?20
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.21
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more.