I was sitting in my living room, talking with my visiting teachers when my mom called. I felt prompted to take the call, and I learned that my Grandma had passed not even 30 minutes earlier. I was so grateful my visiting teachers were there to grieve with me. Yes, my grandmother was old, but it was really hard for me to know she had died. I haven't seen her in 13 months. I had meant to call her only 6 days earlier.
She had been in the hospital for about a month. Her health was not always the best, but her mind was very sharp. She's often written me emails and cards; recently she commented on this post I wrote at Real Intent. Yep, that comment by Grandma? That's her.
She was a lovely woman, and I don't mean it in the ways of the world. People probably wouldn't have even given her a second glance. But she was everything to her family. A soothing presence in all our lives.
Born in Stirling, Alberta, Canada in 1928, she was the tenth child. Her mother gave birth to her at their home, and I find myself feeling connected to my great-grandmother in that way, considering I gave birth to my (currently) last child at home...
She and my Grandfather were high school sweethearts. Grandma went to BYU for one semester, but she didn't do very well because her heart was still in Canada. My grandpa would send her roses on their anniversary every month (the anniversary of their first date), and when she went to BYU, they continued. She wrote in her journal that she knew she'd marry him, and she did! She went back home and they married in the Cardston, Alberta Temple.
They had four sons, the third being my father. She was a stay-at-home mother and was really good at it. She loved her family and the gospel fiercely, and it showed in everything she did. She had a calm, soothing manner, and although she tended to worry too much, she was not one to raise her voice, nor her temper. Her kitchen was joy --the scent of cooking and fresh vegetables from the garden. As my cousin said, "visiting Grandma you were always sure to get three things: the biggest smile, the best hug and a chocolate chip cookie!"
I can still hear her laugh.
She has 13 grandchildren (12 living) and 26 (almost 28!) great-grandchildren. Every single one of them are active in the church. Every person who is married has been married in the Temple. Every single person who is old enough to have a Temple recommend has one, including the teenagers.
She often bore her testimony to me, and I was impressed with her gratitude. She constantly talked about how blessed she was and how grateful she was for her blessings.
I love her so dearly. I will miss her for the rest of my life.
The funeral was wonderful, dear reader. Truly, it was. I spent many hours with my siblings and cousins celebrating the life of our grandmother. There were tears, yes, but joy at seeing each other. We sang "What is This Thing That Men Call Death?" at the funeral and although it was really hard to see her in the casket and see it be lowered into the ground*, we were left with such a sense of peace and joy at the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The knowledge of the resurrection has made this passing so much sweeter than bitter; knowledge that she lived such a beautiful life and left behind such an incredible legacy of Faith.
I'm so grateful for my Savior, for my Heavenly Father, and for the Plan of Salvation. It means everything to me, this gospel. I'm overjoyed that my family is eternal; that not only will I see my Grandmother again, but that I know where she is.
*Funny story: When we got to the Stirling cemetery, we drove past the place she was to be buried because they had accidentally prepared the wrong gravesite! There was another funeral scheduled for the next day, and they'd prepared that site for us. My Grandpa, although suffering from incredibly severe dementia (he doesn't know any of his grandkids anymore) knew immediately it was the wrong place, and so we waited around for the truck to move the cement vault and everything to the right spot. It was actually kind of funny and gave us all a chance to visit more and enjoy the sunny day (although the bugs were crazy annoying!). So, we ended up burying her in the right spot (near her parents), so that was good. :)
Photos of my lovely grandmother (I am hoping to get some copies of when she was a girl and newly married, soon. Until then, you'll just get to see her as I will always remember her):
On my wedding day, January 16, 1999
Grandma on Canada Day in Raymond, 2008
My dad, Grandpa and Grandma, my niece, my brother