Keeping Memories

Keep God's word hidden in your heart. via @blestbutstrestI keep the memory of the last visit with my grandpa tucked deep in my heart. The day before I headed back to college for my junior year I tiptoed into the front bedroom where my parents had set up a hospital bed and hospice nurses had brought in the accouterments of life and sat in a chair next to his bed.

Cautiously, I reached out and took his once-strong hand in mine. I didn’t know what to do. He hadn’t really spoken for days, and everyone knew the end would come soon. The years of fighting mesothelioma had taken their toll on the man who used to put stars in the ceiling (that’s what I thought when I was little, because Grandpa plastered for a living, and his added sparkles to the ceiling plaster in the house they lived in when I was small).

I didn’t know what to say—it felt as if I’d already said everything but yet I’d said nothing. I knew Grandpa loved Jesus. I didn’t know how to comfort him or even if he knew that I was there. I did know that I felt woefully unprepared to face mortality.

Suddenly, Grandpa moved his head back and forth, words working their way to the surface. “I can still sing to Jesus,” he said.

Tears choked off my throat, so I settled for a gentle pat on his almost transparent hand. Those were the last words I ever heard him speak. He passed away shortly after I returned to college.

But I keep his words as a standard for how to live and how to die. I strive to live my life so that when my time comes, all that’s left are thoughts of Jesus, singing and glory. After all, those are the only memories that matter.

At the end of my life I want to be filled with thoughts of Jesus, singing and glory. Nothing else matters. Click To Tweet

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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