From Tracie: As The End Nears, This Is Peace

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

As The End Nears, This Is Peace

Do not let your hearts be troubled John 14:27

My grandma, Shirley Judge, was moved to a hospice facility last night. As she was being transported in the ambulance, she told my cousin Rachel, "I want to go to heaven as fast as I can." This is no surprise, as heaven, eternal life with Jesus, has long been the desire of her heart.

Grandma and Rachel in the ambulance
Grandma and Rachel

She is ready to go to her real home.
Ready to see Jesus, and all the loved ones who are there waiting.

My mom and grandma
My mom and Grandma

As the family gathered around her last night, pictures started to fill facebook. I was drawn again and again to Grandma's beautiful smile, and to the peace and hope I saw reflected there.

My cousin Lauren
Grandma and Lauren
My cousin Hanna
Grandma and Hanna

There are no perfect poses; this isn't the kind of photographic moment that is planned for ahead of time. But there is love to be captured. So much love.

Grandma's Daughters
Grandma's Daughters: Maureen, Sharon, and Dianne

Love visible in hands quietly held.
Sisters sitting together.
Multiple generations sharing strength.

Four Generations
Four Generations: Lori, Dianne, Danielle, and Grandma
My Cousin Janelle and her family
Tyler, Janelle, Eli, Jaylin, and Grandma

My mom called me last night from Grandma's room. The family was singing together, as they did in April when my beloved Uncle Bill went home to heaven. My Aunt Sharon referred to it as "singing her into the gates." I loved that.

My Aunt Sharon
Sharon and Grandma

At one point they asked if I had a song, and I offered up How Great Thou Art. It is a song Grandma and I had sung together and discussed many times, as it is a favorite for both of us. As I heard the voices rising out of the speaker on my phone, Thomas and I joined in the singing, and I felt peace pour over me again. And for just a few seconds, everyone got quiet, and I could hear Grandma's sweet voice singing.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

In that moment, my heart filled with joy.

Grandma singing with me on the phone
This is Grandma singing. My mom is holding the hymnal and pink phone.
I'm on the other end of that phone.

There were more songs. Songs of faith. And hope. And joy. Thomas leaned over to me and whispered, "I wish my dad could hear this." I knew exactly what he meant. I wish I could have invited everyone I know into that sacred place last night to hear our voices raised together in praise. It is something I will hold in my heart forever. The only way I can describe it is, it was a beautiful choir of love, and I am so thankful to have been a part of it.

Even as we know it will not be long before we say our final good-byes to a woman who has given us so much, we have peace that could only come from God. Peace that she will be in heaven eternally, without pain or sorrow, and peace that one day we will join her there, because of the sacrifice of Jesus and the forgiveness of a loving God.

A picture for Great-Grandma

This family is her legacy. Begun many years ago with my grandpa in Canada, it has moved and grown and changed; we've had many additions, and we have lost some people far too soon. But still our family stands strong.

Each of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren know and love the Lord. She has prayed for, taught, advised, loved, planned for, and given of herself to each one of us. And more than that, she has shown us exactly how to live this life by her example. We would not be the people we are today without her influence. She has allowed God to use each day of her life as a blessing.

my cousin Rachel
Grandma and Rachel
My Uncle David
Grandma and her son, David

More family is coming in to spend time with her today. I'm sure there will be more singing and telling of stories. More laughter and more tears. I don't know that any of us get to pick how we leave this world, but I know if I had a choice, this is exactly the way I would like to go - surrounded by family, love, and the praises of God. It is a beautiful fulfillment of a life lived for God.

Four Generations
Four Generations: Maureen, Katarina, Grandma, and Tracie (our last day in AZ)

Grandma really has lived her life well, all 90 years of it. She is ready to move into the next chapter of life. Her body is tired, but her spirit is strong. She is looking forward to heaven, and excited to see Jesus.

There is no fear and no regrets. Only hope and the expectation for amazing things to come. And peace. So much peace.

I love you, Grandma. I have been so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for being exactly who you are, and for all the love you have given me.

Shirley Judge left this life to go to her true home in Heaven on the morning of September 9, 2014. She passed quickly and quietly into the arms of Jesus. Her eternal life is just beginning, and I know it is going to be amazing.

For more of my grandma's story, you can see the words I wrote on her 88th birthday, and the last words we shared with each other.


  1. I LOVE this Tracie! What beautiful words. How you have summed up life...and your grandma's smile. Priceless.

  2. Aww, Tracie absolutely beautiful and written right from the heart. Praying your grandmother finds peace and returns home to God very soon now. Hugs once again tonight.

  3. my goodness, look at her sweet smile. Looks like a woman excited on where she's going.
    prayers for an easy journey to be with her heavenly father,

  4. Stunning. The words and the photos and her face. It looks like someone.. on their way on a journey. It does not look like a dying face. Not even remotely.

  5. Oh Tracy! How lucky she is to have had such a rich and full life. How lucky she is to be surrounded by so many people who love her so. How lucky she is to have you. To have you to recognize her for all that she has been to so many and for all the lives she has impacted. I can't think of many of us who wouldn't want to feel the same way as we left this earth. What a beautiful reminder of her life and her deep meaning to you! XOXXOXO

  6. Such beauty in this post! I'm so glad you were able to go and visit her. I'm so happy she has such a loving family, and that she is getting to spend these days in peace and surrounded by love. Keeping you and her in my thoughts and prayers <3

  7. A big warm hug for you, Tracie!! I can well understand all the emotions coursing through you. My own grandmom is also slowly failing; it's a matter of time; and I am in an emotional rollercoaster often thinking about it!

  8. Absolutely beautiful! WOW. I could feel the love in those photos and your words. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. What an incredible story of love and family and loss. Thinking of you as you prepare for this final goodbye. Hugs.-The Dose Girls

  10. Such a beautifully written post, it make me think of my own nanna who I love and who one day I will not have in my life.

  11. Beautiful, Tracie - what a wonderful ending, really - with HUGE smiles, and her family around her, and love which is tangible even in pictures. Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing it, even though it must be so difficult to do.

  12. Darn it, Blogger, you eat my comments too much.

    Maybe it is just as well. I... wish my experience had been more like yours. My paternal grandmother loves Cimmorene, my dear wife, unconditionally. She died before my eldest daughter (she is 12) was born. Cimmy helped my father and I see out her last mortal days. No one else would.

  13. A joyous celebration of your Grandma's life. The smiles are amazing. Your faith overrides your sadness. I'm so happy for you.

  14. How touching and beautiful! If only others who are dying could spend their last days surrounded by so much love. I'm moved.

  15. So beautiful. What a gift to have peace in the end like this.

  16. First, I have to say that your family is filed with generation after generation of beautiful women. And-wow-I have known people who were at peace with the end being near, but what comfort it must bring to see your grandmother so at peace, so happy. She clearly has lived a life without regret. The thought of How Great Thou Art filling that room and coming to you across the phone leaves me covered in goosebumps. Thank you for sharing this. ~May

  17. Tracie, I see nothing but peace and love in your grandmother's smile. In every one of these pictures. Most people fear dying but she has a look in her eye like she knows....she knows something is going to happen and there is no fear. Your family is so blessed to have had these moments. You have me in tears here...what a glorious tribute to this amazing lady's life.

  18. this couldnt have been easy to write but it seems you needed to write it and it was really beautifully done...

  19. I am glad that your entire family gets to accompany your grandma in these last days. My grandpa is in a similar situation right now, and our entire family is doing their best to go see him as often as they can. I am so thankful that he got to meet his youngest great-grandson.

  20. So very real and dear. I was at the bedside of my father in the hospital room. it's always very, very hard. But how wonderful your grandmother so loves the Lord and is surrounded by such love. Extraordinary.

  21. What a beautiful, sacred time, and what a legacy. Your grandmother's smile is lovely and strong. May all of you continue to feel peace and love.

  22. You brought tears to my eyes as I read this. I am so happy your grandmother can't wait to get to heaven. What a testimony. I hear that song in my heart now. Thanks. When we all see Jesus we will shout and sing the victory!

    Mary-andering Creatively

  23. Your Grandma has such a beautiful smile! How lucky for her she can be surrounded by those who love her, and how wonderful that she is ready to go home and see Jesus. Prayers for all of you.

  24. Your family is so blessed. Your grandma has a lovely face and smile, and a beautiful heart and soul.

  25. I could absolutely feel the love reading this. What a beautiful family!

  26. Tracy, I am so sorry for your loss. The love you have for each other, incredible. May she rest in peace.