Sunday, February 10, 2013

What a Blessing

We said goodbye to my mother-in-law on Friday. And even as our tears fell, we were filled with the assurance that she had joyfully arrived in her heavenly home. What a blessing it has been to be part of her family.  A family that extends not only to those joined by blood or marriage, but to friends and loved ones near and far who have had the opportunity to share life with Alberta Stewart.  A family that includes the whole wide family of God that Alberta joyously embraced and loved deeply.

She was a city girl who fell in love with a farm boy at Purdue. They settled on his family’s Indiana farm, where they raised five children in the home where we now live. What a blessing it has been for us to raise our five children in the same home. Her presence is with us in this house. I feel it when I stand at the sink in the back room where we both did our laundry, look up at the molding on the living room ceiling, sit at my computer in the room where she kept the books for the farm for so many years, or look out my kitchen window to the barn and fields beyond.

She and John were married for 70 years. They taught by example what a marriage should be. For John, that included being the very best caregiver ever over the last several years. For Alberta, that meant, as she lovingly joked, listening to the same joke over and over and over. In the hospital, Alberta told one of the nurses how long they had been married, and said, "we are joined at the hip." What a blessing to be witness to that kind of love.

She was a wife, a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, mentor, and friend. What a blessing it is to have sweet, sweet memories of times shared. Most recently, several of the grandchildren have enjoyed games of Words With Friends she played with them on her iPad. I can only hope that I will be using my iPad (or whatever the current newfangled device is) when I’m 92.

Facing surgery for a broken hip on Friday morning, she assured us that it was a win-win situation for her. She would either wake up to spend some more time here with us, or she would be in heaven. I can only imagine what that first glimpse of Jesus was like, and the gathering of saints there to welcome her home. What a blessing to picture that celebration (with a new hip to boot!).

She taught us all the importance of faith and forgiveness.
Of giving thanks in all circumstances.
To love God and love each other.
And to trust in the promise of eternal life.
What a blessing.

No comments: