This thanksgiving was very different for me. My Grandmother passed away at her home at 6:35am on Thanksgiving day. I had spent all night with my husband and brother and sister-in-law watching over her, and even though we knew her time on this earth was over, it was still a shock when died right before my eyes.
Thanksgiving felt so different. I felt such an overwhelming gratitude for the time that I have with my family, and for having a wonderful and loving husband by my side. I felt so happy for my grandma that she is finally with my grandpa again and that she can rest from this life. I felt so grateful for the blessing to have been at her side when she left us.
We had been with her all week and it was such a blessing to spend that time with her. When we first got there she could talk and laugh with people, but by Tuesday afternoon all she could do was blink or moan to communicate what she needed. The last thing she actually was able to speak (that I'm aware of) was when I told her goodbye on Tuesday morning. I kissed her and told her I was going home but that I would be back later to see her. She smiled and said "I'm going home too". Even though this was such a sad moment for all of our family, I couldn't help but be happy for her. I'm so grateful for her example.
After she passed away we waited until the nurse arrived so that we could give her a report, and then we all went home to sleep. Even though we attended two different Thanksgiving meals later that day - both filled with family and laughter and food and games - I could not feel the same as I normally do on Thanksgiving day. I didn't feel like stuffing myself or listening to Christmas music or watching football. Its not because I was depressed at my Grandma's passing that I didn't feel like those things, its because I was too busy feeling truly grateful for my family. I don't think I will ever be able to see Thanksgiving the same. I'm not saying that the common Thanksgiving traditions are wrong, because they aren't. I'm just saying that I felt a connection to heaven that day, and I wanted to cherish it rather than focus on other things.
This experience also made me reflect on my own life and to think about how I will be when it is my time to leave this earth. I was reminded of the feelings that I felt on my mission when my trainer went home. I was so sad that she was going away and that I couldn't see her or talk to her anymore. It also made me sad that she was going all the way home to the United States, and I was staying in Argentina. I cried when she left. I was happy for her, and thought about how happy she must be with her family. I thought a lot about how happy I would be when I got to see my family again too. But at the end of the day I had to get my new companion and get back to work. That was bittersweet for me, and I experienced the same feeling every time one of my friends or companions finished their missions. I would miss talking to them and asking them for advice, and I would think about them often and wish I could be home with them. When it finally came my turn to be done and go home I was so shocked that it was the end. I didn't know what to do with myself. All of those feelings returned to me on Thursday, even though I've been done with my mission for 18 months already. I believe I felt the same way because I got to watch my grandma go home to heaven after finishing her mission here on earth, and while I'm so happy for her, I know that life still goes on for me and I have to keep on going.
The best part is that now that I have returned from my mission, I get to see all my companions and talk with them and laugh with them. I know that this is also what will happen when I go home to Heavenly Father. I will get to see all of my loved ones who went home first, and talk with them and laugh with them. It will be a glorious reunion.
I hope that I haven't offended anyone by the way I talk about the death of my grandmother. It was a very spiritual experience for me, and it has taught me a great deal about life. I feel so blessed to be a member of her family. I also feel very different toward my family - especially towards my husband. The different is a better different, and I feel blessed for the time that I have with them now. I'm so grateful to know that families can be together forever. I hope that I always have this sacred and reverent feeling during the holidays.
To all my family, I love you (even Ashley on Thursdays) and I hope that you always feel my love for you, even when I don't show it on purpose. To my husband, thank you so much for choosing me to spend forever with. I love you more than anything. To my wonderful Grandma Robinson, I am so proud of you and happy that you have finally made it home.