Back in California

I just got back from the midwest last night. The visitation was on Sunday and the funeral was on Monday. When we got to the church on Sunday, there were monarch butterflies everywhere. Grandma Neva loved butterflies.

I made a slideshow of pictures of grandma Neva, one section just from the G. Neva Convention to Blessed Assurance, and then it went to a video my dad took when we were there in July where he asked what she would like to tell her grandchildren, then it went to another section of slideshow of just various pictures of her, older than from this summer, and set it to This is Our Father’s World. Everyone really liked it, and I’m glad I was able to do something to honor her memory.

The message that the pastor gave was beautiful, and I spent some time talking to him while we were at the dinner they had afterwards. He was a great guy and he loved Grandma Neva.

One of the men in the church, the technical sort of guy offered to make copies of the slideshow for the people in the town who wanted one so I gave him my first copy, since I still had the files saved on my laptop so I could just make other copies.

We had to clean out her apartment, and we found all kinds of really cool treasures like her High School graduation picture(1929!) among other very old pictures and notebooks with her jottings and clip-outs. I’ve taken those things home and I plan to archive them digitally. The neighbor, whose name is also Neva, oddly enough, and whose husband is the man who is making DVD copies offered to ship the rest of the photo albums for us, and also the rocking chair which belonged to Grandma Neva’s grandmother. My mom actually had a dream about that rocking chair.

She had beautiful handwriting and we couldn’t bear to throw out anything she had written on. And she wrote on everything. There would be an old envelope with an envelope and a bit of scripture on it.

When we went through her jewelry, I found that there was a locket with a picture of me as a baby in it. I thought that was special, because I didn’t see any lockets with anyone else’s pictures in them.


The Best Place

We have a certain responsibility, I think, as Christians not to just say vaguely “She’s in a better place.” I don’t think that is enough anymore. Even the unbelievers say the same without really believing it. What do they really think their loved one has gone?

We know differently. We know that She has not just gone to “a better place”, but to the best place. That we were designed in God’s image, destined for eternity. Death is sad, not for the dying, but for the living. I think we all know that much.


As we, who are in the Shadowlands say…

“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but
the things that began to happen after that were so great and
beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the
end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they
all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the
beginning of the real story. All their life in this world
and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover
and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter
One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which
goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the
one before.

This afternoon, my great grandmother, known to us as Grandma Neva passed away. She was 93 years old. This morning we learned that she had had a heart attack and was in the hospital. She lives in Iowa so that’s pretty far from us. My great uncle went to her, as he lives in Minnesota. I recieved no news all day, and assumed no news was good news, which turned out to be accurate. A couple of hours ago, around 6:00 maybe, my grandmother told me that Neva had passed. I hugged her and went back into my room where I cried and pulled books from my shelf. My Bible first, then a slight panic attack when I couldn’t find my copy of The Last Battle, then the pulling of my Daily C.S. Lewis book.


Back in the Real World

After over a week in the Midwest visiting relatives, I’m back home in California. The G. Neva Convention was very successful, and we had 25 meeting in the tiny town of Ledyard, Iowa where my great grandmother, Neva, lives. We were able to enjoy each other’s company after not having met some for years, had lunch together, and spoke about what Grandma Neva meant to us. We also took a big selection of group photos, everyone in their matching shirts.

After the Convention, we spent the night at a hotel in Blue Earth, Minnesota, home of the Jolly Green Giant, and the next morning I set out with my aunt Tana to Wisconsin where I would spend that week visiting with her family. It was a fun week, but I’m glad to be home! 🙂