It has now been one month since my grandma passed away. Even now, I still find it difficult to describe the loss of a loved one. I have not had much experience with death, at least not this close, so most of this is new to me. In many ways it still feels surreal. Her passing was not entirely unexpected, and yet it happened sooner than any of us had anticipated.
You see she had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks already and through various ups and down, we kept careful watch, patiently waiting for even the slightest indication of progress. We clung to these moments as beacons of hope and thought perhaps it was just a matter of time. Sure progress was slow, but I kept believing my grandma would get better. The possibility that she wouldn’t ever make it home had never even crossed my mind.
At the same time, her condition lacked any sense of stability or consistency and as the days went on, the fragments of hope seemed to become ever more elusive.
Just a few days before she passed, I went to visit her in the hospital and my parents updated me on conversations that were being had with the doctors. As it turns out, the doctors were running out of options and as my dad began to explain hospice to me, I began to realize how fragile a thing hope can be.
I can hardly imagine the tough conversations my mom and her siblings had to have that week. After weeks of trying to stay positive, it felt like they were suddenly being told it was time to give up. And as I begin to grasp the situation, I could feel my heart sink, unable to comprehend this sudden and crushing loss of hope.
I wonder if this loss of hope is just a taste of what the disciples felt after Jesus’ death. The one who was to be their savior, the conquering king who was supposed to lead them to victory instead surrendered himself to the enemy empire. How could Jesus do this to us? How could he just give up?
Moreover, I wonder how Jesus must have felt, fully human and fully divine: fighting against the human instinct to cling to on to his own life, all the while knowing that only through his own death and resurrection could he breathe new life into this fallen world ensnared by death.
I think every human instinct in our bodies tells us to fight for life. Whether its out of a desire to live or out of a fear of death, I think there is something within us that craves life.
And yet by giving up his own life, Jesus reveals that this is not the end. Through Jesus, there is now life after death.
My grandma passed away peacefully Wednesday morning, January 11. After all the talks about hospice my mom and her siblings were finally ready to bring her home. She was scheduled for transport at 11am, but I guess she and God had a different home in mind.
I think my grandma was ready to go home. For weeks her body fought to stay alive, but I think in the end, she was at peace, following the way of her Saviour, letting go of her life to enter into a new, abundant life.
Despite the loss of hope felt when initially faced with the reality that my grandma was dying, I believe that even in her passing, she taught us there is an even greater hope to hold onto still.
A hope of life after death. Hope that we will see each other again someday and not only will we be reunited, but we will also be able to communicate with each other. In all the time that I’ve know my grandma, we’ve never actually been able to have a full conversation. There was a language barrier between us. She only spoke Chinese. And I only spoke English. So even though I spent a lot of time at my grandma’s house growing up, conversations were limited at best.
And so, while my grandma’s presence is clearly missed, I find so much joy in the thought that someday I may sit with my grandma and have endless conversations, making up for lost time.
And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new…Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5