This has definitely been a Christmas Eve unlike any other. It started off as a super low-key normal day. We were at Derek's parents house, packing up the car, and getting ready to head back home for our normal Christmas traditions. My grandmother has been dying for sometime now in a nursing home, and has been on hospice for the last 18 months. On the drive back to Utah from Idaho, I got the call from my mom that she'd finally passed.
It's been a weird mix of emotions. On the one hand I've been going through all the motions, carrying out all of our Christmas traditions with the kids, while on the other hand silently grieving the passing of my grandmother. We all knew it was coming, and we were prepared that it would likely happen right in the midst of Christmas, but it feels so strange to know I'll never see her again.
She was such a large part of my life growing up, and the holidays were her favorite. I remember the pumpkin and apple pies at both Christmas and Thanksgiving. I remember her Christmas cupcakes that always came to our home in her big red cake holder.
My grandmother taught me so many good and wonderful things that I'll never take for granted. She taught me how to cook, sew, and clean. She also taught me so many things about caring for people with disabilities that I never thought I'd need in life, but am so grateful to have now. My grandmother while capable of walking, spent most of the time I knew her in a power wheelchair, and only doing small transfers from one area of her home to another. Although she could do longer distances, it often came to her with much effort and would leave her fatigued for extended periods of time.
I see bits of her in Kinsley, and those moments always catch me off guard when they happen. Especially when Kinsley was a baby, she constantly reminded me of my grandma so much. I feel sadness that she never got to meet her great-grandchildren, as well as Derek. But I'm grateful that her legacy can live on as I teach my family about the things that she taught me.
My grandmother suffered the loss of her mother at nine years of age, her brother before I was born, her only sister when I was eight, and she's been a widow for nearly 30 years. While I'm sad to lose her, I know that there was the sweetest of reunions up in heaven this morning. The loss of her mother I think was one of the most painful moments in her life, and when I think about that sweet reunion where she got to embrace her for the first time in 75 years, I feel so much joy for her.
While experiencing something like this on Christmas Eve seems like such terrible timing, I'm grateful for the ability to remember the birth of our Savior and to know that His birth paved the way for us to all have the blessing of eternal life. I'm comforted by the words in Alma which state, "... the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life."
To read more about my grandmother's life and the legacy she leaves behind you can read her obituary here.