Last week we thanked God for the birth of a new grandchild, a beautiful, precious, tiny, bundle of life. Her birth brought joy, uncontrolled smiles and hope for all that she is and shall grow to be. We look forward to the day when we will be able to hold her and not just gaze at her from a safe distance.
This week we mourn the loss of a friend, and Job’s wise words resonate in our hearts, ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’
Edith was in her 70’s when we first met her about 15 years ago. She was recently widowed and had returned to live in the village outside Northallerton where she had grown up, before the war, a farmer’s daughter. She always had a twinkle in her eye, a sense of mischief, mixed with a strong sense that things should be done ‘right’.
She’d spent her working years as a nurse and midwife in the Lake District fells, no doubt loving and serving those in her care in the same way as she continued to care for the people around her. She was always doing little things for people, remembering important events in others’ lives, phoning or sending notes and cards to let you know she was thinking of you, that she cared and that she was praying for you.
She carried an inner sadness for her two adult sons who she had had to bury far too young. She was passionate for her eldest’s artwork and had even taken a course at the university her younger son had planned to attend so that in her grief she might be near him. When we knew her, she lived in constant pain from a spinal condition, but you wouldn’t know unless she had to sit down, or sometimes when her thoughts came out a little sharp.
As our family walked the path of adoption, our children adopted Edith and she became Granny Edith, who loved to see, and hear of, and speak with them. Bags of crisps and special drinks when we visited and Summer gifts of money to buy treats on holiday. They loved her and we knew she loved them.
If you wanted to see Edith’s face light up, then you spoke to her about her Saviour. He was the one who brought her greatest joy. For her, prayer was a privilege and to meet someone and to share with them her love for Jesus was a delight. What grieved her most was when his precious name was used to curse and not to bless. That could not be right!
Edith wanted to love and serve others, she wanted things to be done ‘right’ as she had been taught as a young nurse, and so as her sight failed her and a stroke confined her to her bed she struggled. We were encouraged when we heard that she had moved into a nursing home only a few streets from where we live in Bedale, but the Covid restrictions and her infirmity meant we never got to see her. When I phoned her every week, promising, hoping for future days when we might be able to meet, she made me feel like I had done the kindest thing in calling, and yet I knew I had done very little.
Her delight in those last weeks was to pray, for that was all she could do. She hoped for healing and relief from her discomfort but longed for the time when she would meet her Saviour, and that time came in the early hours, on Wednesday.
She wants no funeral, no mourners at the crematorium. Perhaps she does not want to be a trouble to anyone, perhaps she knows that now, she is with the one who loved her enough to die for her. The one who knows her voice well, because they were always chatting, and nothing else really matters. She is at rest, with Jesus, waiting for her new body, for the day of resurrection, when every knee shall bow and every tongue will cry out his name, in worship, and she will be glad because that is how it should be!
And where does that leave us? Sad for a lost friend, struggling because we could not say goodbye, rejoicing for a faithful life lived well, encouraged again that God hears our prayers and always acts out his love for us and thankful that ‘the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’ Amen!
Our children wanted to remember their Granny Edith with a song. Maybe not Edith’s musical choice but we thought very appropriate. Please watch, listen, enjoy and join in the, ‘Amen!’
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