Waking up in the middle of the night to four missed calls from your mom is never a good thing. My heart sank as I called back to have her confirm what I already knew; my great-grandmother had passed away. No matter how prepared you think you are for someone’s death, you can never be prepared enough. Even when you know it’s for the best and that they are no longer suffering, even when you know they are in a much better place worshiping Jesus, it’s still sad and you’ll still miss them.
My memories of my grandmother (“Mother”) are all happy ones. She was a tiny little woman, 5’4” at the tallest and weighed less than 100 pounds, and was the Godliest person I’ve ever known. She never smoke, never drank, never told a lie (probably not true, but I believe it). Her memory had started to go, but she never failed to remember some little story about when one of her five children or eighteen grandchildren was young. We had a family tradition of Sunday lunch at her house after church every week, where everyone would cook a dish and bring it over. I never thought about how precious those moments were because as a child all I cared about was hoping my uncles kept the prayer short and sweet and being the first in line to make sure I got some mac and cheese before it was gone.
This January she would have been 96 years old. At almost a century on this earth, it’s crazy to think about all that she had lived through. She was a child throughout the “Roaring 20s,” grew up during the Great Depression, lived through WWII, then the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the technology age, fifteen different presidents; so many historical moments and major wars. I only wish I would have asked more about her life. She was the only girl with five brothers, so she learned at an early age to cook and clean, and be a caretaker. She still had a clothesline in her back yard and that she used up until about six or seven years ago. As a child I thought it was hilarious to see undergarments hanging outside for everyone to see. “This is how you’d have to do before washers and dryers,” she would say. She was amazing, and she was the sweetest woman in the world, and she was my “Mother.”
I’m thankful to have known her, I’m thankful to have had a relationship with her, and I’m thankful to say goodbye to her. So today I’m sad, but more than that, I am happy. She is finally home, and I am filled with peace because I know exactly where she is. She has waited her whole life to be in the presence of her maker. “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
In loving memory of Winnie “Mother” Doyle
January 23, 1920 – October 24, 2015