The following is a short reflection I wrote recently on an extraordinary experience I became part of leading to a visit home for my grandmother’s funeral this month. In this holiday season, I am called to gratitude for the gifts of life, family, and community, more so on the aftermath of a story worth living for.
In Good Hands
A reflection on family and community
“As it is, there are many parts, but one body. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” – 1 Corinthians 12: 20, 26
“Hold your hands up high, if you will, for today we raise banners of victory in honor of a woman of God!”
The crowd felt warm around me, much like the breeze blowing all over under the morning sun. As soon as my father raised his right hand as if holding a flag, dozens of hands shot up to the blue skies and shouts of “¡Victoria!” defied the silence of the cemetery grounds. With his free hand he wiped off the tears pouring out of his eyes, as I felt my own raised hand shaking, my heart overcome with a powerful feeling of joy.
He stood there, in the center of the large crowd, flanked by his eight siblings. Only a few steps away stood his wife, my mother, engulfed as I was in a sea of emotion. As he lowered down his hand, it came to rest on the casket. Our eyes moved to that dark blue, wooden box, where the body of my grandmother waited to be lowered to its final resting place. After 93 years of trials and joys, ten children, and a score of grandsons and granddaughters, she had now moved on to the fullness of life. We all held each others’ hands as we prayed. On the quiet of my heart, I made a prayer of gratitude for her life, and for my father. And I said thanks for the gift of being here, now, by virtue of the goodness of the body of Christ.
Sympathies had been pouring in from many places, some actually quite unexpected. There had been so much to do at work all day that I had not had the time to really think through what was going on. My grandma had passed away, a year and a half since I had last seen her. I knew I was going to be there with my dad only through the phone line – like so many other times – for I really could not afford a ticket home. Everyone there had assured me that it was okay, that they understood… but looking deep into myself, I was not okay: I had feelings of homesickness speeding in and out of my mind faster than they had ever done in the last few months. In the end, though, I knew I was going to have to endure being away one last time. After all, like my parents said, I would be there for New Year’s. I needn’t worry. I had decided to call it an early night and go to bed when I got the call. Continue reading “In Good Hands”