January 28th

It’s been 22 since my last day posting on Facebook, and I can hardly believe how much I’ve learned already.

I thought I’d be blogging a lot right from the beginning, but I quickly realized how burnt out I was with anything online. So much has happened in our family even in this short amount of time, and I can hardly figure out how I’d share it all. I’m not concerned that everyone know everything that has happened, but I do value a journal for my kids, and myself, to enjoy later.

I truly love blogging and I feel like I can finally really begin to share my voice again. In fact, I’ve really been going through a sort of transformation – but as I age, I’ve recognized that this happens often. When I was young, I remember thinking that you just “grew up” and you were an adult. Now I realize that we are always growing up and we never really arrive at anything other than more experiences to enjoy and/or endure.

My family is like the tides of an ocean, moving back and forth…back and forth. Sometimes calm and reflective and other times raging tsunamis of emotion and passion, smashing against the rocks. I guess that’s what I get for having six daughters and a son that is determined to even out all of their estrogen with all  the testosterone he can pack into his little body.

Whenever I experience a death of a loved one and a birth of a precious baby, I can’t help but stop for a moment and feel. Both of these things happened last week, almost at the same time. My sweet Grandma Great passed away at the age of ninety. She was always a ray of sunshine, keeping a calm demeanor  and a beautiful smile on her face, right up until the end. And on her last day, as we all gathered around her bedside to shower her with songs and whispers of memories, I couldn’t help but feel love.

I wasn’t surprised when she passed away, in fact I had a very vivid dream several months before, and I knew it was coming. It wasn’t the first time something like this has happened to me; every so often I get premonitions and every time it shocks me when I’m right.

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January 28th was a normal night of sleep and early in the morning, about six or so, I  saw my Grandma standing in front of me, dressed in pink. In fact, I saw two of my Grandma standing in front of me. The one on the right was Pearl, as she looks now, wearing a big smile that has left permanent wrinkles.She was looking at me, and she was beaming with happiness, and then she looked to her right and smiled at a younger version of herself. My younger Grandma looked to be in her twenties, and although I didn’t know her then, I had no doubt it was her. She was also wearing pink, and glancing at me and her older self. Between them there was an obvious merging of her spirit, and it’s hard to explain how this looked, other than to say that as she looked at me, her spirit was transferring from her older body to her younger one, and back again. Like a light that danced between the two, transforming before death. It didn’t look scary, in fact it was beautiful.

I woke up after this dream and called my dad.

“Dad, what are you doing today? I’m coming up for a meeting with Scott and some other people, and I was thinking I should come visit Grandma.”

I told him about my dream and that I thought it was a message. I felt kind of crazy, but this wasn’t the first time I’ve done this to him. When my Grandpa died, I had a very vivid dream about him, as well, and I called my dad at 2:30 am to tell him about it.

I’m so happy that I took the time to visit her that day, because it was the last time I spent several hours with her, and she was very aware. It was a blessing, a tender mercy. I didn’t tell her what got me up there, and it didn’t matter. She really looked great and she wasn’t expecting to go downhill so fast.

Fast forward a few months, and I received a call from my dad letting me know that she would be moved to hospice and her health was declining, quickly. I couldn’t go up to see her when this happened, because it was Whitney’s high school graduation and her birthday, so I felt like it was her special day. The next day we left to Las Vegas for a quick trip, and during this memorial weekend, it became very obvious she was at the end. By the time we came to visit the day after our trip, it was her last day.

After spending several hours by her bedside with extended family, I left to take pictures of my new nephew, Jensen, that was coming into the world. It was such a drastic shift, but similar at the same time. I’m sure my grandma give well wishes to both baby Jensen and baby Colton, who would be born a short time later. I guess older people need to move on to make room for new babies coming! The weird part about age is that you really don’t feel any younger. By the end of your life, you are so full of memories and experiences, but then your body starts shutting down and we end up having some care for us – just as we did when we were a baby.

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My Grandparents biggest dream and goal was to keep their family close, and I believe they succeeded. They saved their whole marriage for the time when their Grandchildren were older, and they could take us on major trips on a chartered bus! We visited so many amazing places, and the memories we all built together were irreplaceable.

I hope to build the same kind of feeling in my family, and I know now more than ever that it isn’t easy. There are so many personalities and as the children marry, there will be double, plus all of their kids’ needs, wants and emotions! It’s hard to even comprehend, but it will be beautiful. Family is the most important thing and the experiences it brings, make life worth living.

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