grandma Bonita & grandpa John
With my Grandma Joy passing away last week and the circumstances surrounding that, my thoughts have been led to my Grandma Bonita and the circumstances surrounding her passing. This memory isn't my most favorite one, but it is an important one in which I learned a lesson about following promptings.
I came out to BYU during the fall of 2001. Both sets of grandparents lived within 20 minutes of campus, which was the closest I had lived to either of them in my life. We always lived across the country from both sets of grandparents and all of our extended family. We saw our grandparents a couple times a year and got to know them the best we could in those short visits. I was excited for a chance to get to know them better once I was in Utah and living close to them.
Shortly after I moved out here, I had a couple conversations with my grandma about her life, meeting grandpa, and falling in love. I was seeing Grandma in a new light - seeing her outside of the old grandma I knew, and I was excited to get to know her and more about her life. I so badly wanted to develop a close relationship with her.
But my intentions didn't take me as far as I wanted as fast as I needed to. I didn't have a car and so getting off campus to see them took some planning on my part, which hardly ever happened. I did, however, have a phone and thought often about calling to talk or to set a visit. I thought, and I thought, and I thought, but I never actually did.
One week, that November, I was overloaded with these thoughts. I kept thinking and feeling so strongly that I needed to make an effort to connect with my grandma, that at the very least I needed to call her. I thought, and I thought, and I thought. And life was busy, and tests kept coming, and rehearsals, and concerts, and...and...and...I didn't call, and I didn't go over.
And then one day I got a call from my dad. Grandma was in the hospital and it wasn't looking very good. Shortly after that I got another call telling me Grandma had passed.
It was too late.
My heart full of desire and intent to develop this relationship with my Grandma, whom I loved dearly and felt like I was just barely getting to know, sank deep into my chest. I felt awful and sad and instantly full of regret. I knew that the Spirit had been prompting me, and increasing in urgency, because my grandma was about to pass. He knew it, but I didn't, and he was trying to tell me that I was running out of time. I was so sad that I didn't act on those promptings and that I had missed my opportunity to be with my grandma in her final days.
As I've said in a recent post, I am so thankful for my grandma's writings because I really feel like I've gotten to know her through those. I feel closer to her when I read her words and I really miss her. I look up to her and love her and can't wait for a chance to hug her again and get to know her even better.
I am so thankful that my experience with Grandma Joy went the other direction. Similarly, I have felt the importance to visit her, call her, and be in contact with her as much as possible. I didn't make it over there as much as I thought about it, but I am glad that we did when we could.
A week before Grandma Joy passed, I took the kids to visit her and grandpa on a Friday after school. It had been a while since I had visited because I was nervous about bringing the five kids. I worried about overwhelming my grandparents with the kids' energy and noise level and craziness. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to control the kids in such a small space. But it had been too long and I knew it was more important for us to be there than for it to go perfectly, so we just went. And the visit couldn't have gone better. The girls colored, grandpa took Son #1 on a walk to see trucks, Grandma held Son #2, she shared scriptures with me, and we all laughed and hugged and enjoyed each other's company.
One week later she passed away.
When I heard about Grandma's fall and that she would probably not make it, my heart immediately filled with prayers of gratitude for our final visit with her only a week earlier. I am so thankful that my kids have that memory of her fresh in their minds. I am so thankful that we didn't miss that opportunity and let life get in the way this time of being with our grandma whom we loved so dearly.
I am thankful for the chance to get it right the second time.
I love both of my grandmas. I look to them often and hope to live up to the example they are to me.
Family is such a blessing and our loved ones continue to bless our lives even after they pass.
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