My Beautiful Grandmotherhere. Since Wednesday or Thursday, every time my phone vibrates, I expect it to be my mom telling me she's passed away. I've had a lot of phantom vibrations too. It's kind of ridiculous actually. It's interesting to me how I've reacted these last few days. This is my first grandparent to die, but I honestly expected her to die several years ago. I've said goodbye several times. When I left on my mission, I didn't expect to see her again in this mortal life. She told me, "Always remember we love you." Right before I left, she fell and broke her hip. She was put on hospice, expected to die within six months. She didn't. It's been over three years since then.
I think of what I've learned from Grandma. We had a girl cousin sleepover at Grandma's once. She talked to us about the importance of modesty and preparing to go to the temple. She's always been a wonderful example of temple worship and family history work. The first time I went to do baptisms for the dead, I was a little nervous, but she was there with me. I got to do family names she had prepared. That was a special experience. Today I thought about who will be waiting to greet Grandma, and I first thought about her sister and parents, then thought of all the people who will want to thank her for her work in their behalf. She'll receive a warm reception, I think.
Grandma is from Sweden, and she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints there, one of two members in her town. She came to America and married my grandfather in the temple, and has always shown great dedication to the Lord and His Church. It was so engrained in her, that things of a spiritual nature were some of the last things to go. (My mom wrote about one experience about that here.) She even acted as a visiting teacher of sorts when she first got to the Homestead.
I never expected Grandma to live this long in her condition. It's been so hard to see her deteriorate. I'm not even there often. My mom has been a wonderful example to me, visiting her faithfully, and even more, my Grandpa. Grandpa goes to sit with Grandma every day, all day. He fed her, he helps move her, tries to keep her comfortable, he does everything he can. He has been an incredible example of love and service. I honestly think their love story is the greatest story ever told. He has shown what it means to truly love.
Like I said, I've said goodbye to my grandma several times already, and because of the Alzheimer's, she's been mostly gone for a long time. So this week, I was a little surprised just how teary I have been. But it makes sense. There is still a sense of loss, there is still the pain of seeing her suffer for so long. I think that might be the hardest part, seeing her go from forgetting things, to breaking her hip and being unable to walk, to being bedridden, and now unable to eat or drink. I want her to be released from the pain. It's still hard and sad, but it'll be a happy thing too. I'm so grateful for our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. Today during the sacrament at church, I read several Easter hymns. I was struck by these lyrics from O Savior, Thou Who Wearest A Crown: "No more can Satan harm us, Tho long the fight may be, Nor fear of death alarm us; We live, O Lord, thru thee." My grandma has had a long fight, she's fought it well. She can't be harmed by Satan, and there is no need to fear death. We will all live again. And I look forward to getting to know her again, getting to know the real Grandma who has been gone so long.
Dear Grandma, I love you. Thank you for what you've taught me and for your love. Thank you for your testimony and dedication. You are a great woman. I'm proud to share your middle name. I love you! Love, Brooke