The road to Grandma’s house is paved with hugs and cookies.
We went to the states in 1999 and brought Granny back a cushion with the above written on it. I can think of no better way to describe my grandmother, who passed away in the early hours yesterday morning.
I will have fond memories of her, and it would be remiss of me not to share them with you, because she was brilliant and I wish you’d known her. One or two things come to mind.
Once every couple of months, my brothers, and occasionally my male cousins, and I would go and stay over in their house in Comber or Bangor for a Friday night. On the Friday night, she’d make us an amazing tea with chips, fish fingers, beans and all the bread we could eat. We’d all somehow sleep (or not sleep) in the same small room, listening to a story like The Magic Pancake . In the morning she’d make us cereal and toast dripping with butter and honey. In the Bangor years, they’d somehow take the six of us in their yellow mini (Granda drove, for Granny never learned to drive) to see the ducks and play on the slides in Ward Park. The dogs might come with us too, Pepe 1 (who got very annoyed when we woke her up when we went to the toilet at night time), Pepe 2, and Jan (who now lives with my uncle). Not Judy though, because she was loud and she scared me.
In the house in Comber, there was a picture of her near the door from when she was younger. I can recall the picture in my mind, and if it’s accurate, then she was very beautiful. Granda had done well for himself, especially since she liked somebody else when he first attempted to court her.
Occasionally, we’d stay until the Sunday when we’d go to Second Comber Presbyterian Church. She was very definitely a Christian, and I still wonder what befell all her Ian Paisley sermon LPs. She cared deeply for her whole family, especially my great uncle Bobby. In later years, she’d come to blows with my mum as, in typical Irish grandmother fashion, she’d try and give us money she could ill afford every time we visited. In her later years, particularly after Granda died in 2010, she seemed to lose her mental faculties, but not her spirit, teasing us about our clothes and telling us to go away, even until we last saw her at Christmas time. She passed away after a short illness aged 84.
In John 11, Jesus is plainly upset by Lazarus’s death. He cries on seeing his tomb, and its apparent from the greek that he’s deeply troubled by it. He knew that this was not meant to be the way things were and that death was not supposed to be. But Jesus was able to resurrect Lazarus, and later on, himself, showing that we need no longer fear death as long as we trust in him. And this is why I can be joyful as well as sad, for I know that I’ll see her again on the last day.
Rest in peace, Granny.