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Heaven is Keem Bay

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Matthew 25:21

My grandmother passed away, unexpectedly, a few days before my wedding. My mom texted me to say that she and my dad were taking her to the hospital. A few hours later, my dad called to tell me that she probably wouldn't live through the night. I hung up the phone and called my fiance. I told him the news through tears. I hung up again and sat on my bed and poured my soul out into a box of tissues before pulling myself together and heading up to put my children in bed.

"Boys, I have something I need to tell you. It's very hard to say. Mommy is very sad."

I explained, as best I could, that Grandma was going to Heaven very soon. My oldest looked up at me and said, "I don't like that. I don't want her to go."

I left my job just a week and a half before that to embrace my last year with my littlest before he starts school, and to tie up all the last minute wedding-planning ends. But that night, both my former coworker and boss came to my house and sat on my porch. They stayed way too late, so I wouldn't be alone. After they left, I got the text that my grandmother had left this earth.

Later, I heard that her priest had wondered if she'd gone on vacation, because she missed a day at church. She woke up every morning before the sun and prayed. She didn't shy away from hard work. She lived simply and was generous with everything that she had. Her approach to love seemed very much to be choosing to overlook the bad in others and to see only what God created. She was a single mother, raising five children alone. If she was bitter, she didn't show it. I always loved her, but it was when I became a single mother, myself, that I realized how much I respected her.

In her last few years, my grandmother's memory started to blur. As if by grace, for all her years of faithfulness in the face of hardship, she began to forget painful memories, and seemed to mostly just remember the good. She was a truly beautiful person.

Last week, I turned thirty. The thing I missed the most was her voice on the phone, singing 'Happy Birthday' in that familiar Irish lilt that I loved so much. She would have loved this view from Keem Bay.

I had a dream, last night. She was lost. She was a little confused, but not frightened, and there was a heavy fog, like this one. She couldn't see where she was going. She wandered through the thick white clouds in her linen jacket, with her comfortable slacks and her walking shoes. Cool mist touched her cheek and although she didn't know the way back, she was mostly just marveling. Then she came through the fog. She looked up at the glowing gates and the angels smiled at her. She wasn't afraid. They told her she was home.

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