Reading my grandmother’s obituary just days after we had been assigned to write our own obituaries in Mary Vandel Young’s Spiritual Formation class was a bizarre experience. Here I am, asking myself a question that my grandmother can no longer ask—her impact has already been made on earth.
How do we desire to be remembered? How are we living right now to end up there?
Recognizing in myself the ways that I desire to be remembered once I leave this earth is a scary and vulnerable task. Even brainstorming for my own obituary left me nervous… How am I actually doing? If today were my last day, how would my obituary read then? In actuality, someone else will write it and recount for me... However, trying to write it now, on my own, causes me to more fully grasp that my actions matter in this moment. I am the only one who is living my life. What story have I helped write for myself up to this point?
My grandmother is remembered for many things, especially her faith. Her life was greatly shaped by experiences with the Lord, so much so that her testimony was used for the final chapter in a book titled, My Person Pentecost. She always enjoyed writing, specifically writing poetry. Although I read several beautiful things she had written during the moments around her funeral services, I think that I was the most moved by hearing from her long-time best friend who spoke at the funeral service. During the service, this gentle woman, a soul sister by the name of Matilda, made her way to the front. Matilda spent her time in front of the congregation smiling and saying, “I loved her.” Matilda radiated joy and sang love through her simple spoken words and mannerisms. Watching her allowed all of us into their friendship just enough to feel its weight and understand its impact on the both of them. I loved it so much, and although I had never met this woman prior to the funeral, tears flooded my eyes because of the way she spoke of my grandmother. They loved each other and they loved Jesus.
I can only pray to be remembered in that same love. I am so thankful for the dear women who have been put in my life, and I hope that I can start living out my obituary. I am now convinced there is no better place to start. Thank you, Grandma, for giving me the gift of a new beginning at your earthly end. Rest in peace, you are loved.