It was a call I was expecting and not expecting all at the same time. As I listened to my dad’s voice tell me my grandmother had passed away, I was immediately struck with sorrow. My eyes filled with tears and my voice tightened up. I had nothing to say. The world had lost a beautiful soul.

Grandma lived 90 wonderful years. Sure, she struggled with various ailments for the better part of a decade, but her mind was sharp and her love was strong. A little over a month ago, my kids and I were able to visit her and introduce her to my fiancé, Julie, and her two boys. It was great trip. It also made it really hard to tell the kids later that evening because their memories of her were fresh.I texted my brothers to check on them and my oldest brother, Jim, responded with something which really caught my attention. “We are grieving well.” He proceeded to tell me how they were remember Grandma and recalling stories of their time with her. It made me smile in the midst of my sorrow.

What does it mean to grieve well exactly? Losing a loved one is hard, no matter how expected or unexpected it might be. As I watched different people endure the loss of family members over recent years, I’ve learned a lot about grieving well. A big part of it is found in celebrating who the person was. Remembering the good times with them, their strong character traits, and the love they gave. And, as followers of Christ, it’s also found in understanding where they are now and what condition they’re in.

Once of my fondest memories of Grandma is playing shuffle board with her. It was my favorite thing to do whenever we made the journey to Tampa from wherever we lived at the time. She always beat me, but I didn’t care. I also think of the trip the kids and I made to visit her a few years ago. We piled up in her mobile home and enjoyed playing games and exploring Busch Gardens with her. She absolutely loved her family and was proud to show us off to all of her friends.

As I mentioned, Grandma struggled with various ailments. But now, she’s whole in every sense of the word. She’s free from this world and all of the hardships it has. And I know I’ll get to see her again one day. To me, that’s what grieving well is.

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