There are so many types of love in this world. There is the middle-school girl type of love, where pink glitter is the best thing since sliced bread. Then there is the high-school girl type of love, where the quarter-back on the football team is your soulmate. Then there is the college girl type of love, where coffee is your true love and sleeping is better than chocolate. But then, somewhere down the line, hopefully there is the type forever of love where you meet and marry a person who will be your best friend for life, and will stand by you no matter what.
Alongside the types of love that play a role in your life, there are some moments in life that change you forever. A few months ago, I experienced one of those moments. It was the moment I stood at the back of the funeral home and watched as my Grandma laid her hand on the coffin, looked into my Grandpa’s face one last time, and then slowly turned and walked away.
It was a heartbreaking moment. But it would have been even more painful if we hadn’t known that Grandpa was with Jesus right then. And it would have been even more difficult if we wouldn’t have had all the amazing memories from Grandpa’s time on this earth.
The love between my grandparents was a thing of beauty. I really don’t know how else to describe it. They fit each other perfectly. They cried together and laughed together, and supported each other throughout everything. Their marriage was a living example of “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness in health, to love, honor, and cherish, until death us do part.”
It was only three days after celebrating their 58th wedding anniversary that Grandpa went home to be with the Lord. The path leading to that day was long and painful for all of us, but especially for Grandma. The furthest away I have ever lived from my grandparents is two miles. But for the last 8 years, I have lived about 50 yards from their house. Living that close, I have been able to witness first hand the way Grandma cared for and loved Grandpa through the broken hip, the bouts with pneumonia, the terrifyingly low sodium levels, and the moments when he didn’t remember who we were.
This spring, on the way home from the ER after one of the really hard days, Grandma said something that I will never forget. She was telling me about how, when she was a little girl and her family moved out from Ohio, they didn’t plan to stay in this area but ended up visiting some people and then just never left. I told her that I was glad they had decided to settle here. She replied, “Me too. Otherwise I never would have met Grandpa.”
The kind of love my grandparents shared is the real deal. It’s not the type of love that gets a college girl out of bed simply because she wants coffee. It’s the forever type of love where, even on the very worst of days, you don’t turn your back on the person you’ve pledged your life to. Watching this love play out in my grandparents lives has been an amazing example to me, but so has watching the affect my Grandpa’s death has had on my Grandma. The burden of missing him is made light by the knowledge that she will see him again in heaven someday soon, because Jesus came and died on a cross in a moment that changed us all, forever. And that right there, is the best type of love.