Because so many of us are like-minded, I am assuming you are also looking for hope in any place you can find it. So, I would like to share my Grandma’s story. The ending is kind of unbelievable for those of us that knew her, but goodness, does it give me hope.
My grandma was Mary Virginia Kelly. Grandma Mary (also known as Gr’Mommer, G-Mommer, or just G) married my grandpa, Frank Fiorini, and they had seven children together, all before the age of 30. She was a faithful and supportive wife and mother. When all the children were out of high school, Grandma divorced Poppy. Growing up, Grandma and Poppy got along just fine, but the way she loathed him was no secret. I won’t cite all of the reasons why, but I’ll just say- according to Grandma, Poppy was neither as faithful nor supportive as she was.
Poppy died in 2012, and he had Grandma as his beneficiary for most of his assets. She wasn’t so much grateful as…annoyed. She saw this inheritance as a burden, saying something like he’s cursing her even though he’s gone.
A couple of years later, Grandma’s kidneys started failing. She spent her last years going to dialysis three times a week. Several weeks into the Covid-19 Pandemic, Grandma made the difficult decision to end her dialysis. She had a port put in that was very succeptibale to infection. Grandma knew that, since hospitals were allowing no visitors, should she catch an infection, she would be hospitalized and die alone.
So, she took the reins and essentially planned for the end of her life. Hospice was scheduled to come in. Favorite meals and desserts were prepared, Last Rites were given, and we all got a chance to say our goodbyes. I will never forget the last FaceTime I had with Grandma.
As we ended, she said, “You know, your Grandpa is coming down with me.” My heart sank. I thought that she was still with us, cognitively. Who or what could she possibly be talking about?
“Your Poppy. Your dad brought me the ashes, and he’s going to be buried with me.”
I had no words. I just stared and tried to process.
“They’re going to change the tombstone, too, so his name will be with mine. …but I told them to put him by my feet, because if he messes around on me again, I’m kicking him out!” Okay, there she was! That’s the Grandma I knew and loved.
Grandma died peacefully on Mother’s Day, one week before her 86th birthday. I later found out that months ago, she was afraid to die. She told my uncle that as soon as she decided to have Poppy with her, she wasn’t afraid anymore.
This act of forgiveness and love is one that I never ever thought I would see in my life.
Grandma was able to choose the readings and songs for her funeral. This is part of one of them.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4: 31-32)
Loving Creator, thank you for your love and abundant forgiveness. We pray that those in positions of power can rid themselves of any bitterness and prejudices and begin to show kindness and compassion, just as you do. Help us continue to be peacemakers and justice seekers. Amen
Annette Bradbury joined Saint Andrew in 2010. She and her husband, Matt, have two sons, AJ (5) and Alex (2). Annette is a first grade teacher and currently serves on Leadership Circle as chair of Church Growth. AnnetteBradbury1020@gmail.com