A Holy Week reflection follows, in 8 parts…
It was dark.
That is what I remember most about that night.
The darkness swallowed everything.
I noticed it when I went to bed, but then when the telephone rang at three-thirty that Palm Sunday morning, I couldn’t find it in the dark. I dropped the phone in fact, and heard my sister’s voice, “Ron, Ron!” as I groped around on the floor trying to find it.
I finally retrieved the phone from the darkness. My sister told me that my grandmother had died.
What I remember is the darkness.
We always called her “Grandmother.” That’s who she was. Our friends called their grandmothers Meemaw or Nanna or Grandma, but my mother’s mother was always Grandmother to us. It became a name of great affection.
She was my favorite.
Her pantry was always stocked with vanilla wafers and marshmallows and candy orange slices and peppermint sticks. Her ready smile, hearty laugh, silly sayings and unique outlook on the world made life’s problems seem distant.
Her death was not a surprise. She had a series of heart attacks the week before. In the midst of a busy Lent I had traveled from Rochester, New York to the small hospital in Boone, North Carolina to sit with her. I knew it would be the last time. Now I faced another trip during an all-too-busy Holy Week. Late Palm Sunday afternoon a much too small airplane took me back to the North Carolina mountains.
When I arrived it was dark.