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!