Grandma’s Funeral and The Time I Almost Missed My Plane

My blogging pattern is usually a reflection of what is going on in my life at the time. When things get quiet on the blog it usually means that my life is crazy, stressful, busy, or sad. That has been the case this past month.

A couple of years ago my Grandma Luckey was diagnosed with cancer. She had chemo and things looked ok for a while. Then, a few months ago, she started to go downhill fast. My Grandma was in Michigan so my parents (who live in Indiana) kept me updated by phone. Slowly we came to the realization that my Grandma wasn’t going to recover this time. On Saturday, July 11, my mom called and told me that Hospice said Grandma had probably 8-48 hours to live. On Sunday I booked a last minute plane ticket for me and Olive to fly to Michigan that Tuesday. Then I scrambled to find people to watch Isaiah and Eloise, cancelled all the doctors appointments the kids had scheduled the following week, and prepared meals for Drew to eat while I was gone. Everything fell into place and I prayed that my Grandma would still be alive when I got to Michigan so that I could say goodbye one last time.

Grandma getting chemo several months ago.

On Tuesday Drew took off work early to bring me to the airport. I flew out of Orlando, about 2.5 hours away. We didn’t leave much extra time for any unexpected delays in getting there as Drew couldn’t take off any earlier than he did. I was nervous about cutting it so close but tried not to worry. Well, about half way into our trip I started to worry!! We suddenly ran into STAND STILL traffic on the high way. After doing some research on my phone (don’t you love technology these days!??!) I found out that there was an accident ahead…. I also found out that there were miles of cars lined up in front of us. This was not going to be a short wait.

As the minutes ticked by and we crawled forward little by little, I began to panic! Olive started getting antsy in the back seat which only added to my stress level. Drew and I could only wait and pray that I would make my flight. After an hour in traffic we FINALLY started to move again. And boy did we move! Let’s just say that Drew went a little above the speed limit!! When we finally pulled into the airport I was nervous and shakey. And I had only THIRTY minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave. I grabbed Olive, the stroller, and my bags and rushed into the airport. Sorry, Drew, no time for a hug goodbye!

There was no line at the check-in counter, praise the Lord. But the lady who checked me in was not optimistic. “I don’t mean to be negative, but you’re not going to make it. They close the doors 15 minutes before the plane takes off,” she said as she pointed to the incredibly long line that I would have to pass through in order to get through security and to the terminals. “Well, I’m going to try,” I said as I took off running. Thankfully I didn’t have any bags to check or it probably would have taken just a few minute too long. I packed light and only took a carry-on!

By the time I got to the security line I was sweating and shaking like a mad woman. “PLEASE, I HAVE to get on my flight. I HAVE to get to my Grandma’s funeral” I sobbed as I handed the gentleman at the beginning of the security checkpoint line my boarding pass and ID (I didn’t have time to explain that she hadn’t passed away yet but that I was trying to make it there in time to see her alive AND to be there for her funeral….it was just too long to say…lol). The LORD was in the details because He caused the man to have compassion on me and he directed me over to a VIP line which was 10 times shorter! Praise the Lord!

Have you ever flown on an airplane? You know the drill. Take off your shoes, empty your pockets, take out your baggy of liquids. I hurriedly and shakily did all this, looking down at my phone and seeing that I had 20 minutes before my flight was scheduled to depart….and FIVE minute before the lady at the check in counter had told me they would close the doors! My perfectly straightened hair was now all kinky, drenched with sweat. I felt like I was going to pass out. Drew, who was waiting to see if I would make the flight before driving home, texted me if I was good to go. I didn’t have much time but texted back NO. I was so frazzled I couldn’t get the stroller collapsed and for a second I seriously thought that darn thing was going to prevent me from getting on that plane. I finally just told the gentleman that I could NOT get the thing collapsed and that I was just going to have to push it through the detector instead of putting it on the belt. He took pity upon my tears and my shaky hands (and probably thought I was loony) and let me push it through. Olive was FREAKING out at my behavior and would not walk through the detector on her own. Every second of a delay made me think more and more that I wasn’t going to make it.

After I made it through the detector and got Olive to walk through I started putting back on our shoes and repacking my bags….and noticed that my diaper bag had been set aside for additional screening. COME ON!! “PLEASE do it quickly. I NEED to make my flight!” I told the lady (again, with tears running down my cheeks). Thankfully she did work quickly. She just did a quick check on Olive’s sippie cup and when she was done I grabbed the bag and RAN!

I had to take a tram after that to get to my terminal. By the grace of God a tram arrived within a few seconds and I hopped on. A man on the tram asked me if I was ok, he probably thought I needed psychiatric help!! As the tram got closer to the terminal I could SEE my plane!!!! I started to feel hopeful that I was going to make it. I got off the tram and RAN to my gate – Gate #35. Thankfully I had a stroller so I didn’t have to run while holding Olive, my bag, and the diaper bag. She rolled along smoothly in the stroller!

When I got to the gate my heart sank. It was closed and empty. I rested my arm on the check in counter and cried. An employee came over and asked if I was ok. “I HAVE to get on that plane. Please, let me on. I HAVE to get on” I sobbed. He smiled, “Are you heading to Chicago? You’re at the wrong gate. It’s gate 34 behind you and…. they’re still boarding.” =) I felt like kissing that man (sorry Drew!). I looked behind me and HALLELUJAH! He was right! They were still boarding MY flight! I got in the line and was the second to the last person to board. I called Drew and told him to head on home! Praise the Lord. Thank you Jesus! I have never before in my life been so relived to make it on a plane. I was going to see my Grandma!!

Finally on the plane! What a glorious feeling!
This photo was actually taken in the airport on our way BACK from Chicago. There was absolutely NO time to take pictures in the airport on the way there. Haha. =) 

I arrived in Chicago safe and sound and stayed with my parents in Indiana. The next day we drove to Michigan to see my Grandma. It was truly heartbreaking to see her in the condition she was in. She was sleeping most of my visit but she did come to enough at one point to recognize that I was there and even said, “Oh, hi Amber.” That alone was worth the cost of a last minute plate flight and a stressful trip. Through tears, I was able to see and touch my Grandma one last time. I was able to kiss her forehead and hold her hand one last time. One last time I was able to tell her that I love her and am thankful for all the wonderful memories we have together. I was able to say goodbye.

The family had an early 80th birthday party for Grandma exactly one week before she died. This is my Grandpa and Grandma at the party. 

My Grandma had a strong will to live and fought hard. She held on much longer than anyone thought. I went and saw her again on Saturday but this time she didn’t move or even open her eyes. We knew the end was near. And early Sunday morning, the Lord took her to Heaven. She met Jesus face to face on July 19th, 2015 – exactly one month before her 80th birthday. Oh the joy and pain mixed together in that moment.

This was taken a year and half ago but here is Grandpa and Grandma with many (but not all!) of their grandchildren. 
And several (but not ALL) of their great grandchildren!

I was scheduled to come home on Wednesday but I ended up changing my flight so that I could be there a few days longer and be there for Grandma’s funeral. That was a very hard and sad day but I am so glad that I could be with my family and friends during that difficult time. I come from a very close knit family. My Grandpa and Grandma got married when my Grandma was only 16 years old! They have 8 children (plus spouses), 33 grandchildren (plus some spouses), and 25 great grandchildren (with more to come)!! I love this big, beautiful Luckey family!!

This is the Luckey family members at the burial where we said our last goodbyes to Grandma. 

Grandma, you have left behind a wonderful, godly legacy of men and woman who will follow the Lord behind you. It was a sad, tearful goodbye but one day we know we will rejoice again with you in Heaven. I love you, Grandma. See you later!

(Oh, and my flight back home was extremely uneventful….Praise the Lord!) =)

*Grandma’s obituary can be found here*
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