Total Pageviews

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Betty and Elray LeBleu
 I read the following at my grandma's funeral.

Betty Jo LeBleu is a woman who loved life. She was one of those beautiful people that cherished moments. Her daughters tell me that when she was younger, she loved to dance.

Yesterday, we had a very special church service. We dedicated a large portion of the service remembering gran.

People took turns speaking about what they loved and remembered most about her. There were two things that shone above all else. Her hugs. Everyone remembered her hugs. They spoke of how love would radiate from one of Gran's hugs. She didn't hug like a weak woman. Her hugs were strong.
Like her faith in God.

They also spoke of her love and how she made people feel welcome. Gran opened to doors to people. She never met a stranger.

One thing I loved most about gran was her acceptance. It seemed that even when I was at my worst, Gran loved me with a great and unconditional love. She never scolded me during those years, but she would kindly remind me that she was praying for me to come back to Jesus.

Gran loved her family. So much her life centered around her family and her faith. She loved to cook. She is one of those rare cooks who could make anything taste good without a recipe. People would flock in and out of gran's house because she made them feel welcome.

Gran's kitchen was, in essence, a gathering place. She loved to travel. She went on several cruises to the Carribean. I talked to Poppy the other day and he told me that she was just as happy strolling through the local Sam's Club, as anything else.

About a month ago, the family was all at gran's and we all thought that she only had a few days left. She wasn't speaking to anyone. She was staring into space and her breathing was very labored. That night I was sleeping and Jesus woke up and asked me to pray for gran.

So I did. The next morning, gran was fine. My mom said she even danced that day. Someone told me that gran had been angry about something and could have possibly had a stroke...

When I look back, I can see why God woke me up and asked me to pray for gran. He didn't want to take her while she was angry. He wanted her to smile. The days leading up to grans death she smiled. Even through all of her pain and suffering, she still smiled and showed love to everyone around her.

The night before gran died I had a dream. She was sitting in her recliner and she said, "Rachelle, everything is going to be ok."  She was smiling.

Ever since gran died a few days ago, my mind has repeatedly went back to that dream. It has sustained me. Thank you Jesus for giving me that dream.

Throughout the entire time gran has been sick, I have seen love emplified by my family in great ways. Her daughters and her husband sacrifced so much to care for her. But the beauty of it is that they loved gran so much that, to them, it wasn't even a sacrifice. Love came as natural as breathing.

Could people only be so lucky to have someone in thier life like Poppy, "Elray.?" Gran cared for poppy for 56 years. She spoiled him. She brought him his dinner every night and just loved him. For the last two years of thier marriage, poppy took care of gran. He did things that he didn't think he was cabable of doing. He perfected his cooking, he took up cleaning, he did laundry. He did everything. He showed what it is to love. He exemplified a husband who honored his vows. Like Jesus, He never gave up.

Mother Teresa once said, Intense love does not measure, it just gives. And that is what he did. He gave. During the time of suffering, everyone gave...uncondionally and without complaint.

If there is anything that Gran would've wanted people to is this...that death is not the end of life. There is more.

I can say that I believe in Heaven. To me, Jesus is very real. I have seen and experienced things that leave no question in my mind that my God is real. The other day I was telling some people at work about a dream I had.

One night I had a very real dream that felt less like a dream and more like an experience. I dreamt that Jesus was standing next to this brilliant and beautiful light. It was like a fire. It was alive. It flickered and it lived and breathed. The light was small. The color of this light was white and gold. It was like a fire of complete purity. Even more than the appearance of the light, what I remember most was the feeling of being in it’s presence. There was more peace and more joy in the presence of that light than anything that I have ever known or felt. In my heart, I knew that that light was perfection. The substance of that light was  innocence. I could see how no sin, no darkness, and no fear could live in that light.
When I woke up, I asked Jesus what the dream meant. He reminded me that God is often referred to as a Light. His character is described as Light. He said that, as Christians, each of us has that light within us and it is OUR DUTY TO SHARE it with others….He then reminded me of the immense peace and joy that I felt in the presence of such of small light. He said to multiply that feelings times millions and that is the feeling of Heaven.
To many, my dream may sound strange. But it is just one of the many ways that God revealed himself to me. Through my dream and by following His divine will, I came to see that He is all that is pure, all that is good, and all that is right. He is perfection.
I feel as if I was allowed to have a taste of what gran is experiencing right now. She is in the body that Christ gave to her, she is dancing with the four children that died in her womb. She is there with some of our family who has passed. She is happy. She is with the One she loved and waiting for the rest of us to join her someday.
The night before Gran died we sang at her bedside. We sang one of her favorite songs, In the Garden. I'm grateful for that moment.
IN life we can choose to be angry at God and waste away our moments, or we can choose to be grateful.
Today, I am grateful for the wonderful time that I had with gran. I am grateful for the nights she spent on her knees praying for her family. I am grateful because she was a role model and an example. She was a fighter, a dancer, a lover and wife, and a friend. She was a mother and a grandmother. She was many things to many people. She is irreplaceable and there will always be a hole in our hearts where gran was.
But sometimes we have holes in our hearts so that the light can shine through. The pain that we share as part of the human experience unites us to others in ways that we can't even imagine. We can choose to use our pain for good, or to waste it.
Today, I choose to use my pain for good. To tell everyone here how much they are loved. To tell you that Jesus loves you no matter what you have done. To kindly remind you to get your life right so that you can see gran one day or someone else close that you may have lost.
A few hours before gran died I told her, "Gran, it's ok. You don't have to be afraid to die. Just promise me that when you get there you will tell Jesus that I love him. And tell HIm to set us aside a couple of scooters so that we can ride together up there."
I later found out that Poppy told her the thing a few minutes before she left this world. "IT's ok gran, You don't have to be afraid". And then she was gone.
IF we are to learn anything from gran's life...learn this....
Speak ill of no one. Dance. Laugh. Love your family. Embrace life. Make others feel welcome.
Show relentless kindness. Do the things you love. Do not be afraid of your faith in God. Relish it. Share it. Death is not the end.
We love you, gran!


the other day I found Gran's Bible. I couldn't help but cry. She had so many notes in the margins. She had the the date that I accepted Jesus in my life. She had the dates of our loved ones deaths written down. She had Andy's death written inside.
I was happy to see that Gran's Bible was used. It wasn't a Bible that collected dust. It had wear. It was the Bible of a beautiful woman and prayer warrior.
I asked my grandpa if I could have her Bible. He gave it to me. It was special to her and it is special to me. I miss you so much, gran! 

1 comment: