Sunday, March 2, 2014

For My Grandmother

Grandma in the middle, with my mom and uncle by her side
When my grandmother died, its almost as if the world came to a complete stop. Life was still whirring past me but my life suddenly didn't include someone who was important to me anymore. I didn't even realize how important her presence was until she wasn't here anymore. I have lived with my grandmother since I was 12.When I first came to live with her to go to school in Kingston I was not happy-she was delighted. My family lives in St Elizabeth ad I had never been away from them for extended periods of time before, so I missed them dearly, especially my mother. Over the years I grew to love Kingston, but my relationship with my grandmother when I was a teen was horrible. She didn't understand me and I didn't understand her, I didn't try to get to know her as much as I should have.She got married to my grandfather who was a solider in the British army, while he was in Africa. She  is an African and he is a Jamaican, and the two cultures in some respects are very different which is what contributed to many of our misunderstandings.On top of that I was a rather feisty teen-I had an answer for everything. So instead of trying to see from her perspective  I was angry at her for circumstances and situations which neither of us could control. Her Husband, my grandfather is not a member of the church and often times there would be loud arguments which added to my frustration. (She joined the church when she came to Jamaica ,after my mother got baptized when she was 16) As I grew older I learned to forgive and let go, and to love her regardless of what was happening around us instead of shutting her out as I previously done. The relationship improved, we would spend long hours on Sunday evenings chatting about almost anything-though are some topics I never learned how to talk to grandma about, like marriage and dating. Then as usually comes with age came illness, and that is when I realized just how much I loved my grandmother.I took her to several doctors to find out what was wrong, and when she cried at nights because she was in pain I would have given anything to take the pain away. When she was hospitalized  I visited her every single day, even when I was tired because I knew she expected to see me. As I watched her get worse, I knew she was going to die, yet still on December 29, 2013 at church after sacrament meeting when I heard she passed away that morning the pain ripped through me like a knife.It still does sometimes on days like today when I am lonely, and I miss her and wish she was here. But out of her passing away I learned to rely on the Saviour. My favourite hymn became Be sill my soul because it gave me great comfort. I have felt and continue to feel the comfort of the spirit as I continue going to school and trying to do my best with out her. Yesterday would have been two months since she left this world, and I know I have not allowed myself to mourn for her because I am busy with school and my callings at church and trying to find a job all at the same time. I suppose this is a way of mourning, by writing how I feel. I have also realized that what really matters in this life is my family, spending time with them and letting them know how much I love them. I didn't let grandma know how much I loved her- I do not plan to have that regret again. I have also learned to focus on the Saviour and this beautiful gospel, especially the Atonement of Jesus Christ which not only gives me the assurance that I will see her again but give me the peace, faith and hope I need to press on. I still live here in her house, ad it feels weird to be here without her, But I know that Father knows best. When He took her home he ended her suffering and I know she is in the Sprint world with her parents and brothers and sisters who went before her, sharing the gospel with them. I am grateful for her life and ll that I learned from her, and I hope one day to be like her. 

For  My Grandmother
Strong black woman
From the soil of Africa
Brought to Jamaica
By the love of a Solider
Beautiful African Princess
Gave birth to her children
Doing her best
To love and mother them
Kind Caring Lady
Quick temper, quicker smile
Willing to go the extra mile
In her adopted home isle
God-fearing praying warrior
Always singing hymns of praise
Praying daily her voice was raised
To God in gratitude even on bad days
Strong black woman
Beautiful African Princess
Kind Caring Lady
God-fearing prayer warrior
May I one day  grow to be like you

Joyce Graham
Sunrise July 23,1940
Sunset: December 29, 2013

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