Yesterday I received a call from my sister. My grandmother had died.
We talked for a bit before she had to continue on with making phone calls. We hung up. I went back to work.
Monday kind of played out the way it always does.
When I told a couple of colleagues of mine the news and listened as they expressed their sorrow over it, I didn’t quite know how to respond.
This isn’t something new to me.
In the last year, both of my grandmothers have died. My maternal grandfather died around ten years ago (there was no memorial service). My paternal grandfather died about 14 years ago.
Every time my reaction has been pretty much… okay.
No tears, no five stages of grieving… just “okay.” And life continues to go on.
What’s been awkward for me has always been trying to navigate the (unintentional) external pressure that exists to feel bad whenever a family member dies. And it’s not that I don’t have feelings (my wife can attest to this), but I’ve never really felt like I’ve needed to do that when any grandparent has died.
It might be because we weren’t terribly close. The last time I saw my maternal grandmother was five years ago. The time before that was (I think) sometime when I was either in high school or just before I started college (so we’re talking 15 plus years).
It’s how my family always has been. I’m not saying it’s the best thing, just what is.
But here’s the thing I am grieved by—as far as I know, all of my grandparents have died apart from Christ. To the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge, there wasn’t a consistent Christian influence within their lives.
And I’m not too sure what to do with that.
Witnessing to my family isn’t easy—not just the ones I’ve not seen in over a decade, but the ones I actually do have relationship with.
My mother, father, sister and niece (not to mention my in-laws and sister-in-law).
But whenever there’s a death in the family, it makes it harder. Primarily in the sense that there’s just not a good time to bring up the conversation—”So grandma dying made me really start thinking about what going to happen when you die” isn’t likely to open doors to a healthy conversation, y’know?
But Scripture reminding us to mourn with those who mourn (Rom. 12:15 NIV); we can be with those who are grieving, we can grieve with them (whether or not that includes shedding a single tear)… we can be “there,” present and available.
And maybe that’s all I really need to worry about for the moment.