Sharing a post I wrote a few years ago in honor of Mon Mon's April (the best month to be born) birthday today.
My grandmother, whom we all called Mon Mon, passed away a week ago. It still doesn’t feel real to me, even after the funeral and all the time we spent together as a family this week without her. She was 88 years old and had been married to my grandfather for 63 years on Saturday. She lived a long, full life, as they always say, but it didn’t feel long enough to me. No matter her age, I always felt as if she would be here forever. Even when I was away from her for long periods of time, her presence was still there, asking my mom how I was doing and jotting little notes about my upcoming plans in her detailed calendar.
Just a week before she died, my mom got off the phone with me after hearing about my new job and was going to share with my Mon Mon to cheer her up. After a painful fall, hip surgery, and a rough recovery, her spirits were low. I’m so thankful that she knew about my new job before she died. She even had the chance to come to College Station and get a small glimpse of my life here just last spring. And yet, I’m still sad that there are so many parts of my life that she will miss. I think one thing that I will miss the most is her letters. She was the most beautiful letter writer. I am thankful that I have a letter she wrote to me on December 11 to congratulate me on my upcoming graduation. Her letter, written in her old-fashioned cursive handwriting (which I have adopted), is such a treasure, and I want to share all of it with you in hopes that you can see what a special lady she was right up to the end of her life.
Mom and Dave are here and we’re enjoying a wonderful visit. We miss seeing all of you but are grateful for a catch up on your news and happenings, pictures, etc…
They went with Sue and Randy to see Grant at Appleby’s tonight.
Your graduation is just a week away. We’re excited for you and wish we could be there with the family.
We’re very proud of all you’ve done and are praying for God’s help with your future. Always be assured of His love for you and confident of His plan for your life. Your faith is a great blessing!
We love you dearly,
I am tearing up as a type this. That’s just one of many letters that she wrote, reminding me of her love and assuring me of God’s love. There are few women who are as precious as my Mon Mon. She bore all things. She was a picture of patience. In her eulogy, my Uncle Paul described how she always believed the best of everyone. And he clarified that he did not think that she thought this way out of naivety. I agree that she understood the true nature of the human heart, but she chose to love and cherish what she saw as God’s handiwork in people’s lives.
This past week, there are a few things I have wanted to do in order to remember my Mon Mon and the times I had with her. One is watch The Sound of Music. She loved music and was the one who introduced me to musicals and classical music. My cousin and I grew up as little girls watching The Sound of Music at her house. I also wanted to go to TCBY and order a waffle cone with white chocolate mousse yogurt. She would take me there all the time, having a sweet tooth herself and loving to give her grandchildren a little “treat” (one of her favorite words). I also just happened to be reading The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, one of her very favorite authors. Through reading his book and thinking back on the quiet, faithful life my Mon Mon lived, my desire the last few days has been to seek Jesus Christ all the more. My Mon Mon truly lived in light of eternity. I think she loved C.S. Lewis as I do because of how he was able to paint this picture of heaven that was truly irresistable. She lived much of her life in some amount pain, having lost her father at a young age and having numerous health problems in her old age, but she always had her eyes fixed on the peace and perfection of heaven. I know that she is happier than she ever was on earth up in heaven worshipping her Savior. The One whom she talked to every day in her special chair in her living room, she now stands before face to face.
C.S. Lewis writes an incredible chapter about heaven entitled “The Weight of Glory.” This is an excerpt:
“I can imagine someone saying that he dislikes my idea of heaven as a place where we are patted on the back. But proud misunderstanding is behind that dislike…I read in a periodical the other day that the fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God Himself, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except insofar as it is related to how He thinks of us. It is written that we shall ‘stand before’ Him, shall appear, shall be inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son – it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain…But we pine. The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. And surely, from this point of view, the promise of glory, in the sense described, becomes highly relevant to our deep desire. For glory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all of our lives will be open at last.”
That door has been opened at last for Mon Mon, and I can’t imagine how she feels as God welcomes her into the heart of things. She is complete at last, no longer pining away for the true reality that was alluded to in the things she loved like music, art, books, and traveling. C.S. Lewis writes, “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing…They are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard , news from a country we have never yet visited.”
If only you could know how much these quotes from Lewis remind me of my Mon Mon and the way she viewed God, the world, and heaven. I hope that these words comfort those who knew her well. As a kindred spirit of Mon Mon, with many of her same passions and personality traits, I find comfort in these words and the hope that I will one day experience the fullness of what I have been longing for my whole life.