Tuesday, October 24, 2006


My grandmother, Alice Lee Kane, died this past Friday morning. She had been sick and in pain for some time, and was at peace with leaving this earth and her family behind to go and be with her Savior.

Death is such an intangible event that causes thoughts and emotions to come and go. I rejoice that her death was not a tragedy; she was not taken from us, she left to go home. I weep for the future ahead without her; we will miss her Christmas morning. Her leaving brings change.

I sat awake at my parent's house early Saturday morning; my mind was full of thoughts and emotions similar to those above. Putting them on paper helped my heart to be at ease. These are the thoughts I wrote down and want to share.

"When you lose someone you love and treasure so much, you'd expect your world to come to an end. Your brain to stop processing. Your mind to go numb. But it's just the opposite. Since Mimi passed on Friday, and even since I heard of her failing condition the night before, my mind and heart have been flooded with memories, thoughts and emotions.

As I spent time at school on Friday preparing for a sub in the possible future, I could only think of Mimi and her love for her students. I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else that day but doing a job that she loved, surrounded by students who I love, and who I knew she would have loved as well. Surely, she loved hearing my stories of school and students, and she always encouraged me to persevere.

When I received a call during sixth period to call Mom, I knew that Mimi was gone. My students presented their memorized dialogues in Spanish, and then we played a game. I decided to have them go in order by birthdays, and I started with January. One boy shot up his hand, "My birthday's January 1st," he said. "So is my grandmother's," I said, and there was a simple joy and peace about saying it.

The drive to Knoxville took much longer than it ever has. As we listened to Christian music, songs filled with words like grace, love and mercy, I could only think of heaven and the beauty that is hidden in death. What can describe it? I couldn't think of words, but I knew that Mimi was able to. I knew that she was there. Home.

Choonghwan was so good to drive me to be with my family. We didn't talk too much, but the words he did share with me said it all, "I really lost a friend," he said about Mimi. Simple words, but true. He enjoyed her so much, probably because he knew she enjoyed him. When he was hugging me before we left, I just wept and said, "She loved you so much." He knew. That's why people loved Mimi so; she always showed her sincere love and enjoyment for people of all kinds.

Coming home to a house full of family and friends was another miracle of the day. The hugs felt better, sweeter than they ever have. We talked and laughed and told stories of our lives and childhoods. These were lives that Mimi, by God's grace and provision, had given to us. She loved us all so truly.

As I am flooded by thoughts in the early morning hours, I can't sleep. I am thinking of family coming together. I feel almost ashamed for being so excited to see everyone again for such a sad occasion, but as my thoughts keep coming, I realize that we are coming together to celebrate Mimi's life and encourage and love each other at the time of her death.

In the last four years, there has been a wedding to bring us all together, and Mimi made it to each one, always looking stunningly beautiful. I thought, at first, how we were gathering now without her. No. We are gathering now because of her. And we will celebrate, and we will cry as we remember her. And we will laugh outloud because we are a family who knows how to enjoy each other. That's who Mimi so graciously taught us to be.

And that's the kind of family we'll continue to be, because Mimi knew joy in the Lord as she loved Him, served Him and walked with Him in life and in death. And she walks with Him now, and for that my heart rejoices!"

As I wrote those last thoughts about Mimi's presence in heaven, a light on the other side of the room came on. It startled me, then gave me a reassuring peace. I closed my eyes and prayed thanking the Lord for his gift of salvation. As I opened my eyes from praying, the light turned off. Surely God is with us and the power of his love is real.


jana said...

Eliz, Thank you for sharing these thoughts. As I read them tears came to my eyes---because I knew this wonderful lady you talk about...and like, Choonghwan I know she loved me too. I count it such a blessing to have known her and to have shared in some of the memories you bring.

It was so good to see you all and everyone else this past weekend. Love ya, Jana

Lorie said...

Elizabeth, what a wonderful tribute to your Mimi. I am glad I got to know her. She was a very special lady! She would be so proud of what you wrote in her memory. I cried most of the way through it. Beautiful! Love, Lorie (Jana's Mom)