I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Gospel Message Day 50

In the Little Things, Part 8

(A day late--no internet access on the train.)

We went back to the cemetery the next morning and asked for help at the office. Within minutes we found my great-grandparents' grave. I have spent this entire trip reliving memories of this sweet couple. I knew I was going to be heading to the area that they lived for so many years--even specifically brought the butterscotch quilt with me to keep their memories close. And as I hadn't really had my chance to say good-bye, I was really hoping for a chance to visit their grave. So I am very emotionally grateful we were able to find it. I feel that I have already put it best in an entry I wrote around the time of their deaths. So I'm going to put it here. I'll link to it as well, but my guess is that the few readers who make it to this post would actually go to read that one there. So I'm putting it here for easy access.

October 20, 2008
[today's entry from my online journal]:

So in the last couple of days, I have mourned my loss for Granddad, not his death. I mourned the one grandfather I had known who not only had complete control of his faculties but also was firm in the faith of Christ. As a young teenager I made the effort to form a stronger relationship with this grandparent. I treasure the letters that we wrote to each other--the only grandparent that I was able to establish such a relationship with. 

I mourned the "If Only's" and "Why Didn't I's" in the last two days, remembering how I had told myself to write just one more letter before his passing, as I had not written in so many years. I had longed to visit, but could never find the time off or the financial means. Last year's attempt was thwarted by something, and I suppose deep down--though I did not want to admit it--I knew it had been my last chance. Still, hearing on Saturday that he was gone hurt me to know I would never again see him in this life. I would never be able to introduce him to the man who would marry me. He would never hold any of my children. I could never tell him how much it meant to me throughout my life to have him as one of the few members of the Church on my father's side of the family. What a marvelous and amazing example he had always been to me. How much his smile is embedded into the happiest recesses of my soul.

But, somehow, I do believe he knows.

Well, since Granddad Thomas' death, I have been wondering why Grandma Thomas wasn't the one to go first. She had been in poor health for so long and it surprised me how long she had been holding out. What was worse was to know that when Granddad died, she was in the hospital with a broken leg and pneumonia and probably incoherent in processing his death. My thoughts had been along the lines of "Why is she still here? What is there for her to do? Even in her more healthy days she was so limited and couldn't do anything and was just...there. At least she had Granddad to be with, though most of the time I don't think she was aware of that. If she were to heal from these current ailments, what has she to go back to? The kindest thing would be to finally free her from her pain and let her join the husband she has been sealed to who is now on the other side waiting for her."

As I thought on these things, I did not think it would hurt to pray for her to pass on, to go where loved ones were waiting and finally be free from the years of pain and inability to serve others. Our Heavenly Father is a kind and loving Father. He does not let His children suffer needlessly. I suppose I wasn't the only one thinking these things. I know for a fact that Mom was also praying for the same thing I was. And Heavenly Father listened. Grandma Thomas joined Granddad this morning.

Her death is not as much of a shock to me as his was. It is a peaceful relief, considering all the worry and concern I've felt for her in the last 7 or 8 years. And it seems right that Granddad be the first to go. He was the one who was baptized first. And set the example for so many, many years which Grandma eventually followed. And though I had such a good relationship with Granddad, that does not mean there was not one with Grandma. Those two were inseparable. Even in death, apparently. Whatever I told Granddad, he passed on to Grandma. The reason she did not write is because she had trouble doing so in her advanced years. But Granddad always conveyed her actions and sentiments. The only disconnect comes from the fact that Grandma started "going" around the years that I was old enough to form more meaningful relationships with adults.

That does not mean I do not have my fair share of memories with her, or things that I will always attribute to her. Joseph's gray eyes come from her. My niece E.'s beautiful red hair had its contribution through her maternal side from Grandma Thomas. My much loved and treasured curly hair is a blessing from Heavenly Father through the genes from Grandma Thomas. My old, tattered "Butterscotch Quilt" was a present from Grandma the time K. and I spent a few days with them at their CA home because for some reason I fell in love with it. My beautiful afghan I believe was mostly her workmanship. 

Though not a shock, I am still mourning. Again it is my loss, and not her death. It is calm happiness thinking on my memories of her, and gratitude to and for her that cause the tears I cannot help shed even as I write these few words to her honor. I love them both. I am sorry I was not able to introduce them to their 4th generation of posterity through me. But I know someday on the other side I will have my chance to do so. To know and have a solid testimony about temple sealings and eternal families is one of the most comforting and happy things this life can bring. And I assure you, it certainly is with me.

I love you both, Grandma and Granddad Thomas! Your legacy of love and faith and devotion and strength will live on. Memories of you shall endure. Your long, worthy, wonderful lives will be shared with your continuing posterity. 

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