A lovely lady
My grandmother was one of my best friends and she passed last week. On another blog to which I contribute, I was able to respond directly to her death some 90 minutes earlier. The writing that follows was given in pieces at a celebration of her life over the weekend.
I’m beyond honored to have taken part at the celebration of my Grandma’s life last week. Any one of my generation could have given a wonderful and loving tribute, my words become each of ours as we express our love and appreciation for such a special lady.
Grandma and I shared a passion for all things Olympics, travel, and being in the know for big events in the news, pop culture, and sports. She could always be counted upon to entertain a lively discussion about last night’s big ball game or the coming and goings of the Prophet. We share the same hair color, and I can only hope to keep my color as long as she did hers!
I won’t run through a laundry list of Gram’s finer qualities and characteristics I can only hope to incorporate into my life in the next 60 years. We’ve spent the better part of four days talking about them and that discussion will hopefully last a lifetime as we each attempt to emulate the cheery person she was here and the person she still is above.
As you know, I spent three weeks in the Holy Land in June. One of the more meaningful parts of the entire trip were the conversations I had with Gram both before I left and after I got home. Over the course of the last few years we’ve discussed my trips quite extensively, but there was a certain sparkle in her voice whenever she talked about her own trip to the Holy Land some 20 years ago. She warned me the scriptures would come alive and I’d never read them the same way again. That I would never be the same again. She was the first person I talked to when I returned home from overseas; I was so anxious to connect and share with her how meaningful my trip had indeed been.
In one of our phone conversations before my trip, I asked her if there was anything she wished she’d purchased. For a woman who never asked much of anyone—has there ever been someone harder to shop for?!—I was shocked and thrilled when she answered right away. She didn’t hesitate and tell me she’d think about it and get back to me. She knew exactly what she wanted from the Holy Land. She explained to me what it was and the picture in her mind must have been so clear that I didn’t even hesitate when I saw this plate. Because it was what she asked for.
Feeding of the 5,000 loaves and fishes mosiac
On this plate is a pattern of a mosaic found on a church floor in Capernum, the city where Jesus did the majority of his teaching. On it, you’ll see the two fishes and five barley loaves representative of the miracle Jesus performed in feeding the 5,000. In that miracle, one of the first that Christ performed, you’ll remember that two fishes as five barley loaves were divided enough to feed the 5,000 men in attendance to hear him preach, not to mention the women and children, and still to have 12 baskets of food remain. The scriptures don’t explain exactly what Christ taught during that time, but the Gospel of John in the New Testament provides a record of Jesus’ teaching the people the day after the miraculous feeding. The people have come to him again, some perhaps to hear him teach, others perhaps hoping for another free meal. Chiding those who were there looking for a handout, Christ says in John chapter 6
27: Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the father sealed.
Don’t set your heart or your daily priorities on the things of the world, Christ says, for they will fail. Put your hope and energy and trust into obtaining everlasting life.
35: And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Jesus Christ, and what he offers to us through his atonement, is the meat that never perisheth, and the bread that never molds. He has offered himself as a ransom as payment for our entry into eternal life. And this is now my favorite verse of them all because in it, because through Jesus words, I see Grandma’s path.
40: And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
She saw. And she believed. I have faith that Jesus will make good on his promise to give her everlasting life and raise her up. He is not here, for he has risen, and she is not here, but she too will rise.
I was blessed with the divine privilege of speaking with Gram a few hours before she passed. I’d been planning to give her this plate for Christmas, but knowing her time was short it was one of the two things I told her on our brief call. I told her I had the plate and that I would keep it and always remember her.
We will all, always remember Grandma. Of course my mortal heart hurts, knowing she won’t see me sealed in the temple, or doting on my future babies the way she has each of yours. But I trade out my Natural Man hat for my Spiritual Man hat and see her, hair down, running on two good knees to reunite with her own parents. The first meeting with her own sweet mother Leona. Reuniting with her father Floyd. And Grandma Krista. And Aunt Virginia, Aunt Nola, and Grandma Zella. To reestablishing friendships with Goonie and Maeta and our Grandpa Williams. She has a lot of catching up to do! When I think about those things, my heart doesn’t hurt as much. Because I know she’s in a happy place. And she’ll still see and be with me for those monumental events.
I’m grateful to be part of a forever family, sealed together for both this life and the one to come.