The parting song of Edythe Calhoun

Brett’s grandmother passed away two weekends ago. When I tell people this, I try to quickly rush forward with the information that she was 103. I want people to know that we are celebrating her ( long!) life, and not mourning her passing. She is with Jesus and I know she is infinitely happier there with Him then being held captive by a body and mind that were past their time.

But as we remembered her this weekend at her memorial today and then as Brett prepares to travel to her funeral this week, I’ve been itching to get a few thoughts down on paper so I wouldn’t forget, that my children wouldn’t forget what a wonderful woman Edythe was for us.

The day before we left of her memorial Ransom had a piano lesson and on the way home he said he wanted to play a piece for Mimi. I was pretty distracted-we were hosting church that night, and I also needed to feed my kids and finish up packing, so I said something like, “That’s nice honey, she would love that.” And then I promptly forgot.
But the next day as we loaded up the car, I noticed Ransom’s piano bag sitting by the door. I began to chastise him about not putting his things away, when he interrupted to say that he just wanted to make sure it got packed. Even though I had forgotten, he hadn’t: he was very much ready to play a piece for Mimi. In fact, he play the very upbeat “Galloping Pony” at her memorial and it was probably my favorite part. My little son, sitting straight at the piano waiting for his queue and then playing with confidence his little piece…Edythe would have LOVED it, she had spent years teaching piano and playing herself. In fact, her piano is played almost daily at our house and I love that her music lives on in my kids and in our home.

I remember the first time I met her: The evening was already rife with nerves since I was attending a church fashion show ( right?) at the invite of my not-yet-boy-friend-but-definitely-special-friend’s mother. I was so anxious to make a good impression and my first conversations with his mother and aunt were already being overanalyzed in my head as the fashion show portion of the night began. I remembered little of the fashion or the models as I thought about whether or not I had talked too much ( a common problem) or maybe I had been to enthusiastic? Did I seem genuine enough?… however all my self-absorbed thoughts came to an abrupt halt as the finale of the show came through the doors… it was Brett’s little grandmother (a young 91 at the time) perched atop her walker as someone pushed her as though she were a princess on her sedan.  She was grinning from ear to ear and she positively glowed. I am not even kidding, light radiated from her. And as the years passed and I got to know her, I learned that the light was not her at all, it was most definitely Jesus.

Those first few years were a gift to me, she was still very healthy and mentally strong I got to sit and hear great stories from her childhood-I’ve always loved to hear stories from the past and she had some good ones!And I basked in her kind questions after my mother and my family. She would pray beautiful prayers and she would smile and smile and smile.

And as the years continued and dimentia set in, I was blessed by what was left of her. It was truly a testament of her heart that when her mind failed her,  that her Jesus didn’t. She was still as kind and gracious as ever, even when she was confused and even fearful. Even if she did not remember exactly who I was, she knew who Jesus was. When I think about it now, I am reminded of the verse, “Out of the heart the mouth speaks” and I see how true this really is.

If you’re lucky and you have parents who teach you “manners” than even when you’re nasty on the inside, you can at least pretend or keep that to yourself on the outside. However, when the mind goes, whether with age, or disease, or even because of something else ( too much to drink? a lot of laughing gas at the dentist?)…your heart begins to speak for you, and I shudder to think what my heart would say if it wasn’t for Jesus. It is at these times that it becomes too clear that we ALL have fallen short, no matter how good we try to be, how good we want to be, deep down we need help and Jesus was willing to be that Help for us.

Edythe was a beautiful testament to that, in her final days she was still exuding kindness to those around her. She was still exuding her Jesus who had died for her sins, who had risen from the dead so that she could have life. And now she lives with Him in heaven.

She truly lives!

As we said goodbye to her, I am challenged to give more of my heart to Jesus-there are always pieces to give-so that when all that is left of me is my heart, let it be Jesus. Thank you Mimi for reminding me of that this week. I look forward to seeing her again one day. I know she’s singing her heart out in the heavenly choir even now.

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