Yesterday afternoon, Ryan’s grandmother passed away.

I certainly didn’t know her terribly well, as our opportunities to see each other were few and far between. But she was warm, instantly embraced me as one of the grandchildren, and called often to make sure we were okay. I was able to spend a few afternoons with Winnie (there’s old fashioned for you, eh?) and her husband, and I’m glad for those few hours that help me understand how special she was to Ryan and his siblings.

Anyway, despite only knowing her for a few short years, and seeing her only a few brief times, the news of her death was deeply sad.

Death is, you know. Deeply sad.

Sometimes, it’s accompanied with hope. But sometimes, you don’t know. Either way, it’s an enemy.


Life is fragile, a vapor. We do all we can to hold onto it: we choose a distant parking spot and walk 10 steps more, we eat blueberries on our whole grain cereal and spinach in our free-range omelet, we campaign against smoking and drinking and deadly vices. But in the end, we are dust. Ryan and I have talked much about the denial and fear, the unwillingness to even admit that our bodies are inevitably headed toward the grave. I understand; who would want to even think about such a thing unless they were secure in Hope?

It makes sharing Hope harder; they don’t want to hear, because they don’t want to consider that there will be an end. But once in awhile, our undeniable frailty shows through the cloak of great exercise regimes, and there is a moment. An opportunity. An ear that will hear and a heart that is open.

And I need those moments as much as any other. I need my world to be jolted a bit, need to remember that this Truman Show I live in is only hiding the fact that a world is dead and dying. The need for Hope is everywhere I turn.

Lord, shake me up. And may the truth about the Hope within me spill out.

6 Comments winnie

  1. nancy

    our deepest sympathies regarding Ryan’s dear grandmother’s passing.

    thanks for your insightful thoughts about our arch enemy, Death. I love contemplating how Jesus has “tromped” him!
    (I love your Truman Show reference, too!)

  2. Sarah

    A few notes about our grandmother Winnie….she does not leave behind endless legecies, mostly the deep love and bond that she had with each of her 5 grandchildren (Ryan being the only male). I know that her intense love for us passed on to her great-grandchildren, and that she was SO proud that Ryan had a son for her to see and know and that the Dunphey name would be passed on. I saw her just a few weeks ago, and upon parting she thanked me, and us all, for loving her so much and caring for her so deeply. I will remember her as the young and energetic Nana of my youth, tan and cozy in a fresh white sweatshirt, sitting around the campfire and making me feel loved, and safe, and happy.

  3. Danica

    @Sarah: Thanks for sharing those thoughts. Ryan talks about how much she just loved you guys… Always. Year after year. Steadfast. What a profound difference such a woman can make.


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