They’re Here!

I was blessed to have more than 20 years with my Mama’s parents. Grandmama and Granddaddy made life pretty special. Granddaddy told the best stories, gave us lots of laughter, and instilled in us deep courtesy for others and strong work ethic. Grandmama nurtured us, cooked with us, rocked us, taught us how to be excited for holidays, and taught us how to appreciate each other. And really, that’s only a little of what they gave us.

Grandmama loved it when the whole family came home for a holiday. She would clean the house (which was always clean anyway) and stock the pantry with all of our favorites. She would cook up a storm, decorate, and make all kinds of preparations that made us all feel loved, welcome, and home. And when the preparations were done, we would sit in the living room and watch to see the family arrive. And as soon as one of us would see a familiar car coming through the winding, tree-lined driveway, voices would ring out from all over the house, “They’re here!” Shoes and sweaters would be slipped on, and whoever was waiting at the house would pour out into the yard to greet and hug and help carry in suitcases.

I don’t like thinking about death. And so I have rarely let myself think much about it. Other than believing that I’m going to be with God when I die, I don’t dwell on it. I’ve heard sermons. I’ve read what the Bible has to say about it. But to think about it just hasn’t seemed necessary – or particularly pleasant. And so as with all unpleasant and unnecessary things, I’ve put thoughts of heaven away as one of those things that I’ll just trust God for, because that’s certainly easier than thinking about it. Imagine my surprise when, this summer, after my five-day vigil at Rick’s bed in hospice, after he had exhaled his last breath of life and left us, I found thoughts of heaven to be a comfort. Suddenly, I’m comforted by the thought that this person who shared life with me, who spent time with me, talked to me, listened to me, and knew me better than anyone, is going to be there to meet me when I arrive…

Tonight I got another one of those calls that, as an adult, becomes an uncomfortable and all-too-often reality. Another person, whom I can’t remember life without, who taught me about life and laughter and love and cooking and yes, fishing, is close to leaving for heaven. I’m 3000 miles from her, in a place where I can’t hold her hand, hug her good-bye, or be with her. And as a do-er and a nurturer, I find that so difficult and painful. But as I stood in the shower tonight, praying for her – and for her husband, kids, and grandkids, I was taken back to those days, sitting in my grandparents’ living room, watching the driveway.

I kind of think that must be a bit of what heaven’s like… All of those who have gone before us have eagerly made preparations. And the time will come when they see each of us come down the driveway and into the yard. And they’ll holler, “They’re here!” And pour into the yard to greet us…

About Sarah Salter


  1. Barbara Capps says:

    I agree with you.. My grandparents, both side.. Great grandparents, Great Aunts, Uncle’s, my Brother.. I believe that’s what they will say too… Sorry for your loss, but thanks for sharing..Love ya Sista Sarah.

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