Here’s something you should know about Gram. She had a way of making every single grandkid of hers (and she had a lot) believe they were her favorite. I listened to my aunts and uncles and cousins tell stories as we remembered her this weekend, and they said it over and over again. Each believed they were the favorite. Gram was my great-grandmother, and she died this week at 102. Her funeral was Saturday.
The past few weeks have been packed with travel and busyness and utter lack of routine. When Gram passed, I wasn’t sure I could get to Kentucky for her funeral, and I’m thankful it worked out. I flew out with Meghan on Friday, and we hung out with family, eating and visiting, telling stories, laughing and crying. Everyone loved Gram. Everyone loved Gram because she loved everyone. When Gram’s health started to deteriorate after the holidays this year, my aunt Amy took over her primary care, and other aunts and uncles and cousins stepped in to help out on weekends, with a team of caregivers looking after her at night.
At the funeral, the mix of joy and sorrow overwhelmed the room. When someone dies at 102, it is not shocking. What is surprising to me, though, is the depth of loss my family feels. We knew Gram was going to die. We’ve experienced death in various capacities throughout or lives. But all of us have known Gram our whole lives. All of us. She sang songs with us. She watched our games. She rocked us as babies. She wanted us. She believed the best for and about us. She prayed for us. She loved.
Gram may have been old, and her death may have come at a point when we can only be grateful we had her for so long (and healthy!), but the loss is profound and reminds us we are broken. People were made for life, not death. And the great hope that is the resurrected Jesus may remove the sting of death.
But death hurts. It won’t be the same to go to a Bunning gathering without Gram. I cannot believe she is gone. The hurt-without-the-sting of death we are feeling both gapes and heals when I think about this beautiful woman’s legacy that utterly transformed and transforms my family: she lived a life of love by seeing and choosing the other. That’s how every one of us was her favorite.