Last week was tough. For those that don't know, I lost both of my grandparents within 4 days of each other. As hard as this sounds, it was actually a really good thing...for them. I miss them so incredibly much, but I'm so, so happy for them. They get to hang out with Jesus with no more pain and suffering. Actually they both lived very long, relatively healthy lives with little suffering up until the last couple of years...which I'm so thankful for. My grandmother was 94 and my grandfather was 97. I know they were ready to go, and it really couldn't have happened in a better way. My grandmother went first, and it was after spending a few days with all 4 of her daughters...I definitely think having them there had something to do with her being "ready." She went very quickly and peacefully...such a blessing! My grandfather took a bad fall a few days before she died, and that was really hard on his body. So after my grandmother died, I think that was definitely his cue that it was okay for him to go too. He wasn't doing well and the hospice nurses said he only had a few days, so I decided to go say goodbye. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I'm thankful that I was able to do it, but man it was tough. Even knowing where he was going, and how much I knew he was ready to go...you just can't ever prepare or be ready for losing someone that you love. The hardest part is when I think about how we won't be going to visit them in Austin anymore, no more games of 42 (which my grandfather taught me and my brother when we were young), no more calendars to give as Christmas presents (it became a tradition for me to make a calendar of the grand kids/great-grand kids each year), and just knowing that they aren't there if I want to pick up the phone and talk to them. But, that is just me being selfish...wanting them here when they are in a better place. A place where I can't wait to get to, and I can't wait to see them there. I hope that I can do as good of a job following Christ here on Earth as they did. They were missionaries in Brazil, and their heart for mission work was played out in their lives for sure. I hope that I can continue that legacy, as we enter in the mission work of foster care. I wish they were here to see us do that, and help us along the way, and meet "our" kids, but I can't wait to talk about it with them some day. They also gave me a great example of how to be a teammate to my husband. They were married 71 years! I doubt that Dave and I will make it that long (that would mean that I would have to live to be 101 and Dave 107...I don't think either of us wish to live that long!!), but I know that we can be just as committed to our marriage as they were. I'm sure it was not always easy, but I could always see their love and commitment to being each other's helper and teammate...even up until their last months, and I'm sure days, before they died. I feel so blessed to have such a great example to follow. Thanks Vovo and Vava for living out your love of God and love for each other!
I know I will have many more "goodbyes" to say with foster care. I know it's going to be tough. The hard part with saying goodbye to the kids will be not knowing what exactly they are going home to and if their parents have really changed. It makes it so much easier to say goodbye when I know my grandparents are in Heaven, walking with Jesus. Giving kids back to their bio families may, or may not, be a better place for them...and most likely the latter will be true, unfortunately. But our hope is that God will have used us to plant a seed in them and that they will some day come to know Christ and hope for a time when we no longer have to deal with such a sinful, fallen place that can cause even our own parents to not love us enough to take care of us. My heart breaks for these kids and parents and I know there is no other reason that their situation is what it is other than this - we live in a fallen world. Although I miss my grandparents, I'm excited that they are no longer living in a place that is groaning for redemption.
On a brighter note, I also wrapped up my last week of my 1st year as a special education teacher on Friday! The last 2 weeks were rough, even just with school, but I'm happy to say that I made it through. It was definitely a year of learning for me, but I'm excited to do it all over again in the fall.
We ended the week yesterday by sorting shoes for our church's orphan care ministry = fun! And then headed over to our last training before we are finally licensed tomorrow at noon = awesome, but getting really nervous now!! :) I'll probably write a quick report on how that goes tomorrow and what exactly that means as far as when we could receive kiddos. So talk to you again soon!