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What if I missed that?

March 30, 2009

My dear grandma died early this morning, and I need to write about her.

The last few years of her life were very difficult–she was in pain much of the time, she had humiliating effects from undiagnosed colon cancer, she had to depend on her children for many things when she preferred to be independent.

In spite of that difficulty, she still made time for me. Several years ago I helped write our stake’s Christmas program. My husband played the organ for it, and both of us sang in one of the numbers. We spent many hours, and invested a lot of time and energy in it. My grandparents both came. It was on a snowy night, and the roads were difficult. This meant that they had to leave early, and also that they needed to ask for a ride, which was again difficult.

The program went well; there was a great spirit about it, and I was so grateful she had made the effort to come (I know that I did not know what it cost her to be there). After it was over, I thanked my grandparents for being there. “I know it was a lot of effort to come,” I said. She hugged me and said, “It’s a little harder getting out than it used to be. But now I think, what if I missed that? Oh, what if I missed that?”

She had that approach to so many things: she felt that kind of joy watching her great-grandkids play on the Bear Lake beach, or listening to our recitals and performances. She knew how to minister to us by just being there for us. She still called me to thank me for letters I had sent, even towards the end of her life.

And now my confession: I am not like her. I am wrapped up in my own space and my own world. But I want to be like her; I want to honor her memory by living like she did.

I want to say to life, and to the people in my life, you are wonderful. I want to have her kind of joy, and say, What if I missed that?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2009 4:59 pm

    I remember when my grandmother died. We had been close, and the news was hard to deal with. I was a teenager, and this was the first person I knew well who died.

    My grandma was very much like you describe your grandma. Always looking for the sweet moments with loved ones.

    Funny thing is, she left behind so many recordings and writings that I know her better now than I did when she was alive. She’s taught me more in death than I learned from her in life. I can even say I love and admire her now more than I did then.

    I hope I can live up to the legacy she left behind. I want to live each day for those I love.

    Thanks for the great post. I hope your experience ends up like mine. Perhaps she will become even more to you now than she was before.

    – Chas

  2. Les permalink
    March 31, 2009 12:45 am

    what a beautiful tribute, a living tribute in your actions and consciousness.

  3. Emily permalink*
    March 31, 2009 3:12 am

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Chas and Leslie. I really appreciate them.

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