Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Anna Mae

My grandma, Anna Mae Benzing, passed away this evening. I had been waiting several days to hear it was so, as she had been suffering from poor health for quite some time, and just recently she was worse. I know I am so blessed to live 29 1/2 years with all 4 grandparents still living in their own homes quite the same as they had all during my childhood.

Grandma is my dad's mom, and he is the middle of 9 children. The Benzing family is huge. All my aunts and uncles have children, and some of them quite a lot of children, some of which have children as well (understandably, there are several cousins named Anna, including my sister). The last time I saw
the majority of these family members was at my cousin Sarah's wedding in 2004 which coincided with my grandparent's 65th wedding anniversary. It was amazing to see all these people, some of whom I knew dearly while others were perfect strangers -- strangers that looked alike and amazingly had a great deal in common. This is my grandma's legacy. True, life was not easy for her and my grandfather with their 9 children, but the Biblical instruction that they invested in those children has multiplied a great deal more than 9-fold. The overwhelming majority of people in the extended Benzing family are believers. What a common bond! We share Christ! How blessed we are!

These past days I've been rather sad, thinking and remembering my grandma. I always remember how glamorous she was, usually decked out with sequins or sparkles when the family gathered for Christmas eve. She was such a fun and funny grandma, whose sense of humor could rival any gathered there (which is saying a great deal, if you've ever been in the presence of my dad/cousins/aunts and uncles). I remember talking to her as a young adult and her telling me how proud she was of me, and encouraging me to serve Christ.

My dad told me that she passed peacefully, like falling asleep and not waking up. That is a comforting thought, of course. But even more comforting is the thrill in my soul when I think of her as I Corinthians 13 tells us "face to face" . . . with Christ. There is hope in the gospel, my dear, big wild and crazy Benzing family! There is precious hope! The hope of someday and eternity, "being an ingredient in the Divine Happiness" and receiving the crushing "weight of glory" from Christ Himself!

18 comments:

MadMup said...

I am sorry for your loss, but rejoice with you in the hope we have in Christ!

Sara Mincy said...

I am sorry Gretchen! But I am happy when I hear that she is with God, right now as I type this!!!! :)

Annie said...

Amen! Come Lord Jesus Come! Your family has lost an amazing woman but she has gained Christ! Love you!

GloryandGrace said...

My eyes are moist as I've just read about your precious grandmother. It reminds me of when my own grandmother passed away, but hers was after several years of Alzheimer's. It was on the one hand heartbreaking to see her last few years spent that way, but on the other hand, we each held on to the hope and truth that she was not far from seeing her Savior face to face. I can't fully describe to others what it was like when she passed, attending her memorial service, reading a little snippet I had written in her honor, but I know that doesn't mean I am the only who has experienced such. She was our rock, the one I could always turn to as the woman who turned to Christ and gave thanks in ALL circumstances. I hope that I can look back on my life in the same ways we were able to reflect on hers in her final days.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Gretchen for writing such a wonderful post. I couldn't have put that into words like you did. After spending the day with her on Tuesday, and with most of the family I was so thankful for the life she lived, and the woman that she is. It was and experience spending a day in the hospice wing with 20 loud Benzings like Aunt Diane trying to tell Grandma about Uncle John being bad when he was little--"he wore short shorts mom.. .and THEN, he went to a MOVIE!" It was very funny and Grandma was so knowing everything we said. I was mostly thankful for her relationship with Jesus. And it was such a comfort knowing that the day we left and the words we said will not be our last to each other, we will see her again and she will not be sick.

Anna

Anonymous said...

I looked on your blog to check your grandmother's status. I spoke with your dear mother last night at Wed church and she told me Grandma Anna Mae was bad, that she could already be in heaven as we were talking. I don't know any of your family except the Bill Benzing part, and I love all of you. Please accept my prayers for peace and comfort. Fran Reese

jillybean said...

Beautiful words, Gretchen! Thinking of you all today and thankful that I know you.

Jillia

Sharon said...

I'm sorry to hear of your family's loss, Gretchen, but I know that your sorrow is made easier because of the hope we have in Christ. How wonderful to be able to celebrate the life of a woman who provided a godly example for each of her children and grandchildren to follow.
Sharon

Anonymous said...

Gretchen,
Heart felt condolensces to you and your family. I was heart sick for your dad last night. He seemed mostly normal, but still just mellow (which we KNOW isn't normal). I prayed for him last night and will do so for your family as I know many of you will travel and are grieving.

Love,
Brittany and family

P.S. Going to AG store on Sat. Lauren is telling us all the stuff to expect (like an expert, of course!). We're excited. I'm taking Brookelyn too. Yippee!

Elise Benzing said...

Gretchen, I was looking forward to reading what you had to say about our Grandmother going to be with the Lord. My dad told me the same thing as you - she took her last breath and then didn't breathe again, passing away in comfort. What thrilled me most though was how he told of all her kids around her singing praises and reading scriptures. I am always in awe to be part of this family. God is so merciful, so gracious, and has blessed so abundantly. ... it thrills me to sit and think of my Grandmother in Heaven, even as I cry and recognize how time has passed and everyone - my own parents, myself - has gotten older. But to think! Heaven! Gretchen, I'm so glad I can read your blog. I wish I was more connected to all my extended family out there in the world - but, even so... someday I'll probably be able to tell you in person how your blog has led me to other Christian blogs which have led me to amazing literature which have stirred and instructed and strengthened my walk with Christ. It may seem far fetched, but I yearn for Christian friends nad examples and this is what you have been! Have a good night!! - Sincerely, Elise

Rebecca said...

Gretchen,
Didn't know you had a blog until tonight. What a cool way to keep up with our very large, distant family! We are all happy/sad today. So happy for grandma yet sad for our loss. Praise God we all share that blessed hope..."to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
Your cousin (who thought you were the cutest toddler ever!!!!!)
Rebecca

Morning Rose said...

What a lovely tribute to your grandmother! I extend my sympathy to your family as you experience this loss and also rejoice that you will be reunited with her in Heaven. What a glorious hope we have as believers in Christ!

Emily said...

Gretchen, oh my gosh...I read this today during class...but I hurriedly dried my tears lest my teacher ask me why I was acting so idiotic. This is probably thebest post you've ever written. I couldn't say it like this.
I always sooo loved Grandma, I adored the way she still called dad "Billy" and how she always asked me about boyfriends when I was like nine.

This post is so great.

I love you and miss you,
emily

Rachel said...

Gretchen, I am sorry for your loss and yet, I am "thrilled" with you, as you said, at the hope that we all share in Christ. Death is not the end, but merely the beginning of life so wonderful that we cannot imagine it, even as Lewis concludes at the end of the Narnia series. "Further up and further in!" I will be in prayer for your family as you gather to celebrate your precious grandmother's life and our Savior's wonderful love.

Blessings to you,
Rachel

Beth said...

Gretchen,

I so appreciated the beautiful words about Grandma. She was a special lady and will be missed tremendously. What a legacy she, along with Grandpa, have left for us. The older I get, the more I realize how rare this kind of family is, and how privileged I am to be a part of it.

I must confess, I have been reading your blog for quite a while and have enjoyed getting to know you a little better. I enjoyed your post on homeschooling-what a validation. We are in our 11th year, and will graduate our oldest in the Spring.

Come visit me at my blog:
http://www.lifesjourneywith5.blogspot.com.

We will be at the funeral- hoping to see you there.

Elizabeth (Diane's daughter)

Anonymous said...

Gretchen,
I am so sorry for the loss in your family of your grandma. I know how precious she was to your family. You have been blessed with a godly heritage in your family...
I will pray for you and your family. Please send my love to your family!
Tina Murphy (Johnson)

Jana said...

I am very sorry to hear about your Grandma, Gretchen. What a joy to know she is in Heaven with her Savior! What an amazing thought!
Praying for you!!!

Anonymous said...

Gret I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandma. Isn't it so great to know that she is in heaven and that someday you'll meet again?!!! Praise God! We'll be praying for you and your family.
love,
Sis