Dear Grandma Connie,
You were so good at writing letters and keeping journals. So I thought there would be no better way to honor you and express my love but to write a letter.
It still doesn’t make sense that you are gone. We just moved back. I thought I had more time to spend with you and make memories with my little family. I was excited for Elijah to get to know his Grammy and to show you that he even knew that word. I had a lot of stories to catch you up on. I wanted to hear your stories of raising 6 kids, including 4 boys, in that little home. But all that was taken away too quickly for my liking.
However, I’m grateful you went when you were ready. I’m grateful you were able to make that decision on your own, that you could be aware as you were telling Uncle Duane you were ready to go home to grandpa. I wish I was as ready and prepared as you were. But I can find peace in knowing at least you were and that’s all that matters.
I’m so grateful that I was able to grow up with you. I’m grateful for all the memories that I have of you. The sleepovers, the tea parties, watching the movie Rigaletto over and over cause it was the only ones you had. Those are all memories that I will forever cherish. And those are memories that I hope I can pass on to my children.
I am a little ashamed that I started acting too cool for you. I didn’t think I needed a Grammy. I did my due diligence as a granddaughter but refused to go more out of my way. I regret not trying to get to know your story more at a young age. I feel bad I didn’t call you more. I hate that it took me a husband and baby of my own to realize how much I needed you in my life. And by then it feels like it was too late.
I wish I told you sooner how much I looked up to you. How you are absolutely one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known. I don’t think I’ll ever be fully able to comprehend how you were able to stay so strong even after being away from grandpa after almost 30 years. How bitterly alone you must have felt, how sad you may have been. You went through sooo much and yet still stayed true and faithful to your covenants. You never doubted. Never. You are the best example of enduring to the end than I have ever known.
I have thought about that over and over while I was standing by your side. I wanted so badly to let you know. I tried to tell you but it was hard to know if you could hear. The last week I felt so lonely, so unloved. So I started doubting. And I don’t have nearly the amount of trials you have had to face and yet you never gave up. Even during your final hours you were there for me, being the best example I could ever have.
I wanted to do more for you yesterday at the hospital. I tried to sing to you along with the others. But I was always stopped by my tears. I hope you heard it still. I hope you still could tell what songs we were singing. I sang some from the Easter Pageant that you were always a part of. That is one of my fondest memories of you. The Easter Pageant and your vanilla crème cookies. And even at a young age, I could tell how much you loved the Lord.
The only thing I could think of to do to help comfort you while you passed was to help bring grandpa closer to you to help you through the transition. When I was little I used to get so upset because Grandpa died before I was born. I remember crying and feeling so sad that I didn’t get a chance to get to know him. I was always jealous of people’s memories. I didn’t even know what he really looked like. I remember telling you this and asking about him when you gave me a small, wallet-sized picture of him so I could keep with me. I found it in my wallet yesterday on the way to the hospital. I never took it out. So I gave it to you at the hospital. We kept it by your pillow the whole time. We wanted you to be able to see who you were going towards, your eternal companion who has been waiting for his bride.
In a way I’m jealous. I’m jealous that you get to go to this marvelous place and be with grandpa again. Can you tell him about me? Tell him about Elijah and Adam and how we came to say goodbye. Tell him about watching Elijah play with Aunt Shauna’s puppy with all the other little cousins. Tell him how me and Adam could be sealed in the temple so we can live with you both again. Tell him how I wish you could both be here to help me raise my own children. Tell him about my dad, my mom, my brother, my sisters, and all of my uncles, aunts, and cousins. Tell him we are all happy you are both together again.
Grandma, I will always love you. Your scrolly handwriting, your film camera, your fanny packs, your “fuzzy pickles,” everything. I love you. I will miss you so much. I know it is all for selfish reasons but I will miss you just the same. I know that you are happy. I know that you are so so so happy where you are. I hope that you miss us a little bit though… but I still know you are happy. And knowing that brings me so much peace that it makes this almost bearable. Almost.
I love you. I love you I love you I love you.