Today was my Grandma's funeral. I type those words with disbelief in my heart. It seems like only yesteryear she was calling a tall, awkward girl with braces over to her house to share an ice cream cone. Or I was spending the night to play another hand of Pinochle. But no. Time marched on and that girl grew into a woman - still awkward. And Grandma, she remained the life of the party and the joker at every gathering, the one full of silly games and easily handing out hugs and "I love you's." She continued to be the one who gave thanks for all that she had, still was overjoyed when the little ones climbed up in her lap - the great grandchildren now. She carried on to love all in her life - but especially the children. She babysat my cousin's children well into her 80's....and they would tell you she was the best Great Grandma and babysitter EVER! Grandma never wore out...or at least she was never supposed to. But, at 94...well, her body finally did.
Lots of tears were shed as I looked upon her face, devoid of life, for the last time this side of heaven, remembering the life that she shared with all of us here. Never again will I hear her say, "Toot-a-loo" or "See ya' later alligator." She won't remind me as I leave, "Don't be a stranger." She will never take my little guy on a tractor ride - her John Deere sits quiet now. No more birthday cards with the not quite perfect smiley.
The preacher, he talked about heaven and Jesus...and that Grandma was walking the streets of gold. I know...I know where she is and I know that it was Jesus and her simple faith in Him that carried her there. He reminded us that she would not want to come back if she could and might even think we were all ridiculous in our mourning. And I agree..and so I wore red to her funeral. Not that muted, dark red. I wore Christmas red, bright and clear. I wore it because my Grandma had a favorite red sweater with faux jewels around the collar. She wore it every Christmas party...every joyous gathering. She would have worn it today, if she had a choice (but, oh she looked lovely in her bright blue). So to honor this incredible woman, I wore red.
I won't lie. It took this awkward, uncomfortable woman a little more than courage to wear that dress...and to hear a niece say, "You look very pretty in that red dress, but this is a funeral." Yes, all mourners were dressed in muted shades of gray and black...but me and one other I smiled at. I felt the need to explain myself more than once - and all 45 years of awkwardness were nothing compared to how awkward I felt in red today. But, somehow, I know that if Grandma were here, I would have been rewarded with her beautiful smile and twinkling eyes.
Grandma, walking streets of gold, she knows the red of the blood that was shed on Calvary. She knows the price that was paid to purchase her passage to Heaven. She sees the One who rose from the dead...she sees Him face to face and rejoices, praising our Savior that He rose from the dead, that death no longer has victory! And, for her I rejoice and so I wore red.
"For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'Oh death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." -I Corinthians 15:54-57 (emphasis mine)