In Loving Memory of Grandma (Bernice) Olson
By Alan Conroy
I had a dream one night a few years ago. It was the most amazing dream I've ever had in my life. In fact, it was so vivid, so beyond any of the other countless dreams I've had, that I classify it as more of a vision than a dream. In my dream, I had died and it was the day of judgement before God Almighty. Those of us who had trusted Jesus were given white robes to wear while we stood in the outer courts of heaven. Soon we would gather together and march in procession into the inner court where we would finally see our Lord face to face. Words are inadequate to describe the incredible joy I experienced at that time. Not only was there the anticipation of entering the throne room of God, but a huge burden had been lifted from my heart as I realized, with much relief, that I was finally done with sin, disease, death and every other ill of fallen humanity.
That is what I imagine Grandma now experiences. And more. Mine was only a vision. Hers is the actual experience.
That is why I do not mourn her passing, at least for her. I do mourn it for myself. I realize that is selfish - I will miss her. And yet, I know that one day I will see her again. Probably even sooner than I realize. Itís not knowing how long that is most difficult. Grandma was a Godly woman who prayed for me for many years. Someone once said "when those little old ladies start praying - watch out; God listens to them". I believe it. I'm sure God's answers to her prayers are the single most important reason why I became a follower of Jesus. I also know that she prayed for me up to the end of her time on Earth. So I mourn the reduction in prayer "coverage" that I've enjoyed for so long. I also wish she had lived longer so that my children could have known this amazing woman. It is a loss to them of a magnitude that they will probably never comprehend. I never heard her complain, slander, or gossip. She was the most vice-less person I ever knew. Only twice in the 40 years I shared the Earth with her did I ever see her get upset. Both times were because of me (and I was in the wrong). No one is perfect, of course, but I can only hope that when I have walked with the Lord for as long as she did that I would be half as Christ-like.
I have many memories of Grandma. I remember green seedless grapes when we went to visit her house. I remember "Dream Bars" and Tomato Aspic at Christmas. I'll always remember her house in Portland, where she lived until a couple of years before she died. I remember the easy chairs, the couch, the wall clock, the painting. I remember all the things she did for me. She paid my way to summer Bible camp many years. She helped me financially when I was in college. When we moved into our new house, she sent us a house-warming gift check. That gift now resides in the form of apple trees in our yard. Every time I see them I am reminded of her. Each time we harvest fruit from them in the fall I remind my children that these trees were a gift from their great Grandma. God willing, I will do that every year my children live at home. And should God allow it, I'll do the same with my grandchildren. I also have other reminders of her - fine china, an old Christmas village, pictures, and cards. All of which I plan to pass on to my children some day so that they too can have constant reminders of their great Grandma.
So to Grandma I say "Thank you" and "I look forward to the next time we meet".