Grandma Sandy passed away shortly after noon today. We're sad, we miss her, but it is a relief that she didn't suffer and that it is now over. We're also glad that we got to see her and got to say our goodbyes.
"Memory Eternal" as we Orthodox say.
The following reading is from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. It's read during the Orthodox funeral service, and I had parts running through my head while we were at the hospital.
"Brethren, we would not have you ignorant concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
What was stuck in my head, over and over from Sunday morning on, was a paraphrase - "We do not weep as those who have no hope." I thought of it after Aunt Laura, having seen Grandma's chart, said that throughout it the doctors had written, "no hope". They meant "no hope of recovery" in this physical realm, but in fact, for us as Christians, there is never "no hope". There is always hope. The story of our lives may be unhappy and contain tragedies, but we know how the story ends, because Christ already wrote the ending when He rose from the grave. Death is not final, because He defeated it. We do not weep as those who have no hope.