Grit and Grace

August 2020. That was the month when I experienced significant loss. My grandmother passed away on the first of that month. She died of congestive heart failure. Watching her decline, holding her hand….it is a haunting memory that still brings tears to my eyes. The burial was held in Dexter, Missouri – where my grandfather and my uncle Lee Roy were laid to rest many years ago. Uncle Lee Roy died in the Vietnam War, and my grandpa, Glendle Stafford, died of natural causes when I was 12 years old.

At the time, it was determined that it was best for kids in the family to stay with relatives while the adults traveled to Grandpa’s final resting place. Now, as an adult, visiting their graves for the first time and coming to terms with the loss of my grandmother made me feel as though I had somehow not done enough. I equated their mortality with my inability to make everything okay. I am the diplomatic one in my family, a trait I largely see in my father. I have often been the one to settle disagreements, referee fights between my brother and sister, resolve issues, or be a listening ear. But, like my father, I internalize tragic events and at times have trouble making peace with them for what they are – a time to reflect and realize the power of purpose within the short years we are given on this Earth.

Toward the end of August 2020, I was informed that my position at work would soon be eliminated. At that time, my husband and I had a contract on our soon-to-be-built home. We were set to close in October 2020. It was stressful to decide if we were better off staying the course, or terminating the contract. After many conversations, we decided to stay the course, as we had already placed a deposit on the new home and would lose more than we would gain if we walked away. I recall praying for peace in my heart and strengthened faith during such a shaky time. It felt as if the metaphorical walls were caving in and resiliency felt impossible.

Thankfully, I got a new job shortly after we moved and our son’s school was only 5 miles from our new home. Also, there were sentimental pieces of my grandmother’s furniture that we ended up having room for in our house. Having part of her there is a nice reminder of sweet memories and family gatherings.

Looking back, I get a little emotional. God’s hand guided me when it felt like I was so lost. Best of all, we have a strong home together that’s so much more than drywall , paint, wood and nails. ❤️

October 2020: Family photo in front of our new home

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