This was the last picture I have of us, taken just eight days before she passed away.
When I started this project it was initially the desire to have that conversation and relationship back that I had lost when my own grandmother passed in 2012. I searched for five individuals (that came down to four) whom I spent a summer with to not only ultimately create a project that told their biography and corresponding artistic images but again, to find a lasting relationship that I could treasure.
Upon arriving at the convalescent home I was introduced to Reba Laney, who was the ideal image of my late grandmother-resting in her recliner, her bible opened on her lap, and a warm smile to greet me for the first time. I knew she was special the first time I laid eyes on her. There was also a lady who had been her roommate for at least seven years named Zella O'Dell who was also a kind and loving woman. Mrs. O'Dell passed away this year on March 22. (To read her obituary click the link below:)
Over the summer we all talked and laughed and shared stories of our life- good and bad- I remember one time specifically I had been having a rough day and I felt there was no one to cry to. I went to Reba and as soon as I sat down she asked what was the matter and as I cried on her lap she cried with me and stroked my head. She was the kind of person that would love everyone and hold anyone that needed to cry.
She shared her love for our Lord and talked about how much she loved and missed her late husband and two boys that passed away. She spoke so kindly and tender about her family and loved ones that came to visit. Her love and kindness was not only in her, but in her family too- her daughter "Tooter," her daughter in law, Judy- Reba's sister Dean ("Deano") Selena, James, Tommy- they all took me in and always treated me like I was part of the family. This family is one of the sweetest I have met and value family and traditions. The bible says in Revelation , "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
When my grandmother passed away- there was an inconsolable sadness and emptiness that dwelt within; but through time and prayer- God was able to not only give me peace and fill that void back in my heart- but he showed me that because my Granny was faithful to Him- Me and my family- my grandchildren will experience the effect of my Granny's good works here on Earth.
It is comparable to a drop of water- her actions will be echoed or rippled through our blessings and it is our responsibility to hold their name up. So I hope and pray there will be peace among this family- as well as others who have to go through losing a loved one. To read 1 Thessalonians 4:17 "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
One day there will be a beautiful reunion for all those that believe and died in Christ, that we will reunite with our family and loved ones FOREVER. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." -Revelation 21:4
To read Reba Laney's Obituary click the link below: