I’m constantly amazed with my children. Maybe it’s because my nerves and emotions are still quite a bit raw from my grandmother’s passing but their simple prayers seem to be so much more tender and insightful than before.
For the prayer over our lunch Benjamin blessed “that Grandma would be safe and happy up in Heaven.” He proceeded through his prayer and finished with a blessing for “Grandpa to be safe and not lonely without Grandma.” I couldn’t help but cry at his simple yet very heart felt prayer for his great-grandparents and their well-being.
A short while later Jacob approached me with some little pictures of the Savior that we sometimes use during sacrament meeting. He had it flipped to a picture of Christ on the cross. He asked me what it was a picture of. I knew he already knew so I reversed the question so that he could tell me. He surprised me by saying, “He’s dying, like Grandma.” That really caught me off guard and I didn’t really know how to respond so I just said yes. I was already a bit emotional from Benjamin’s prayer so this little innocent boy’s matter-a-fact comments were like a slap in the face, but in a good way. He flipped through the pictures and we talked about some of the other images until we came to another picture of Christ where he again amazed me with his understanding and said, “With Grandma!”
I have constantly questioned if it was right for me to take my kids to the hospital and see Grandma dying. I didn’t have that as a child, or at least that I can remember. Oh no, that’s not true. I remember someone dying, I think it was my Tia Isaura (my Mama Julia’s sister). I think we had to travel to Mexico to say goodbye but all I really remember was the smell. It was a weird smell in her room and I remember how soft her hands were. I don’t know how old I was (probably no older than 4, so right in between Jacob and Joseph’s age) but those are the only real memories of death that I have as a child.
I have wondered what the kids will remember about that weeklong process of being in the hospital, saying good-bye, and going through the whole funeral and burial process. Will it be that they were among loved ones? Or will it be of the three days of torture in the hospital? I do have to say that it was the most beautiful time for my children to see some eternal gospel principals at work, but still I wonder. It’s times like today where I feel like they weren’t scared by the whole process and that they truly understand that there is life after this one one earth.
None of my other family started passing away until I was engaged. My great-grandma Betty passed just before I got married to Jared. My great-grandma Julia died just before I had Benjamin. I remember the disappointment I felt in knowing that she would never know her great-great-grandson in this earthlife. Jared’s grandma Doris died while I was pregnant with Emma. But for me Grandma Combs is the first of my grandparents to pass and that makes me a little worried about what the future holds. I know that I’m getting older and that my children are as well but I constantly forget that the rest of the world is ageing as well. My grandparents aren’t as young as they used to be and neither are my parents. I thought I had so much more time with my grandma but the Lord had other plans for her. Seeing the amazing amount of family and friends that turned up that week it’s no surprise to me that the Lord needs her on the other side. She had an amazing ability to make friends with someone at the drop of a hat. It embarrased us sometimes but even our embarrasment didn’t phase her. She knew names and remembered details of people’s lives that made them feel special and important whenever they were around her. She was an amazing missionary in this life even with all of her physical limitations. I can only imagine what she can accomplish without those things holding her back.
I am so glad that I chose to drop everything (literally) and drive up to say good-bye. Even though it was so hard to see her that way I now know after writing through all of my emotions that it was the right choice.