In the process of cleaning out our room and deciding what to bring to Haiti, I came across this journal entry from October 25, 2011, the day I first moved to Haiti. It brought back a flood of memories, and of course a few tears. The one regret I have in life, though regret isn’t quite the right word, is that Wilson and Grandma Winnie never got to meet. Can you imagine those two together? Wilson reminded me that they will meet in Heaven one day and what a day of joy that will be!
My body is wracked with silent sobs. It takes more energy to hold them back, but social courtesy tells me that when I’m on an airplane I have to. I’m still sure going to Haiti was the right choice, but that doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to my family, to my grandma. Jesus once said, “anyone who loves their family more than me is not worthy of me” (I’m paraphrasing). Surely he could not have been referring to Grandma. My relationship with her is something so special, something I hold so dear and saying goodbye to her is like saying goodbye to part of myself.
He must not know my grandma, not know her heart, her generosity, her sense of humor. Not know the way she loves to hold your hand, sometimes so tight it hurts. Not know how her response to “How do you feel?” is invariably “with my fingers” and to “Hey!,” “straw is cheaper.” How she always wants to help and at 88 would rather do dishes and sweep the floor than relax in an easy chair. How she never picks favorites: not colors, not food, not grandchildren. How she thinks she ate one brownie, but if you add up all the “hoppies” she edged off, she really ate about six. How she pokes and pinches to show her affection for you. How she’s willing to try just about anything, including horseback riding last week. How she loves our sleepovers and always threatens to kick me out of bed during the night. How she starts the day as soon as her eyes open, making the bed and getting dressed when I’d much rather be sleeping. How we get the giggles and just can’t stop. How she enjoys practical jokes, especially short-sheeting my brother’s bed. How she gives love, hugs, and kisses freely. How she tried to tie me to the doorknob with my laptop power cord so I couldn’t move away.
Only a few months after this, my grandma passed away. Her life was one that touched countless others. I strive to be like her, to love God with unwavering devotion and to love others without reservation. Hers was the hardest goodbye, and though I still grieve, there is peace in knowing we will meet again. I love you, Grandma.