This is the beginning of the school year.
Tomorrow is the Official 1st Day of 1st Grade for Doodle and he is exuberant and ready.
our week has been overshadowed by a sad reality and school and all that it brings has been simmering somewhere on a back burner since our beloved Nina passed away this last weekend, between Sunday night and Monday morning.
Nina is the grandmother of the Daddy here in our home - the first patient my physician husband ever cared for, having treated her leg which was burned during summer canning at age 6 in her kitchen.
Our Daddy and his two brothers were the apple of their Nina's eye,
known to be treated to as many home-cooked meals, backyard baseball games
and ghost stories their small bodies and imaginations could contain.
Nina warmed them with hand-quilted blankets, personal poetry, endless Southern cooking and a belief in the importance of family gatherings.
Having been the eldest of 10 children herself Nina was biologically biased and big on family.
Here was a woman who was born on a farm 15 minutes from where she died 90 years later but who lived a very large life.
Nina moved her young family with her husband from Tennessee to Arizona when her children were young - a woman who left all her siblings, all the Southern gentle hospitality she had always known, all the roads and buildings she'd ever seen to move out West and set out on her own with her children and her man.
Having moved 5 times already in our own life together, this Writer has such admiration for what that undertaking requires.
And here is a woman whose life can be counted in faithfulness to her chosen quests - marriage and children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, distant family branches that stretch as far as the eye can see, church and Sunday attendance, service and sacrifice based on conviction.
Our Nina was a monument to a life that finished well.
The Hub was with her when she passed, holding her hand. For that act there aren't words to express the pride this Writer knows.
Many trips have taken us to the little home of our Daddy's grandparents and for a long time this Writer wondered "was this the last time?" Finally, the last time has come.
Gratefully, my boys' grandfather captured a picture of them gathered forcibly onto Nina's hospital bed - some persuaded easily, others not so much.
(That's it above.)
"For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." - Phil 1:21 (NAS)
but my favorite...
"Christ means everything to me in this life, and when I die I'll have even more."
-Phil 1:21(God's Word Trans.)