So, here's to my Mimi.
Thankful this Thursday for my Mimi - for all the love, hugs, dilly dally's, advice, encouragement, nights of being my babysitter, sweet postcards and letters, raising 3 amazing kids, boxes of chocolate, watercolors hanging on my wall, and teaching me how to love a husband.
We sang my Mimi home - all of us, her husband, her children, her grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. We sang her favorite hymns from her Baptist upbringing. We sang her favorite Presbyterian hymns. We sang songs we knew would bring her comfort and peace. We were there, surrounding her, touching some part of her (a hand, a leg, a shoulder) when she met Jesus face to face. The intense sadness could only be survived by the astounding beauty and peacefulness of the moment.
I will remember many things about that day - driving the 2 hours to be there in the nursing home after I got the call; the friends and church members who came to love us; the incredible nurses who kept her comfortable and the quiet voices they used to soothe us; her family telling her how much we loved her, but that is was okay to leave us.
Most poignantly, I will remember the words my Dandy, her husband of 62 years, spoke to her in his last moment of clarity:
"Betty, I am not far behind you. Then we can spend time together just like we wanted."
Then he kissed her cheek and, I truly believe, this was the moment he also left us. His body remained, but they were together already.
(My undergraduate graduation)
If you have never been with a dying person, you can't imagine the sorrow or the beauty of the moment. It is indescribable. While it is the greatest pain I have ever experienced, it changed me. It changed my view of everyday life, of priorities, of knowing what I could let go and what I should keep, how important family is at the end of the day, and who true friends are. Even in her last act as the matriarch of our family, my Mimi taught me a lesson I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
So I am thankful for my Mimi's life, ministry, family, quirks, courage, and legacy this Thursday.
Mimi, you are missed just as much as the moment we held your hand and sang you home.