I am a Sweetheart to One and a Mommy to Four Loveable Babes, one of which is smiling down on us from Heaven. I am learning to dance in the rain. Come with me on my journey as I make the most out of Life's mud puddles.

Put on your rain boots. Great adventure lies ahead.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lessons Learned from Death

Last night, my Grandfather passed away. He is quite an amazing man. I could write chapters on all that he accomplished in life but - for now - that will have to wait.

I want to write about what we have learned from Death.

Saturday morning, we received a text from my Mother telling us that Grandpa was going downhill quickly. This came as rather a shock. Though his body and mind were aging, we didn't necessarily think he was at Death's door. That all changed last week. It quickly became evident that his time was at hand.

As soon as we heard that hospice had been called in, we hurriedly dressed our little crew and took them up to see Grandpa Saturday morning. When we arrived, we were surprised to see him in a hospital bed in his room. He had been medically sedated for the past few days to control the pain he was experiencing. However, when we came in the room, he responded to each one of us. He is famous for calling each one of his daughters/granddaughters "dear" while referring to every male posterity as "son." And so it was. We each received our term of endearment and he kept looking around muttering "oh boy. oh boy." He was so happy to see his grandchildren.

As he drifted in and out of coherency, we stood by his side, telling him all the things we loved about him. As we stood together, I looked at my children. I was amazed how comfortable they were with Death. They knew what was happening and they weren't afraid to witness it. Given our alarming discovery and circumstances, that is a miracle.

I watched with amazement as my Gracie cupped Grandpa's weak hand between her own as my Emma rubbed his feet. They were administering to him with so much love and tenderness. My mind immediately took me back to almost exactly a year ago.

Despite the shock and terror of finding Bennett cold and stiff in his crib, David and I felt divinely inspired in how to handle our situation. Even in the early hours of realization, we knew we could not change the situation. We felt - however - that the way we dealt with it would mean EVERYTHING to our family.

How right we were.

Because of that, we as a family spent as much time with Bennett's body as possible after his Death. In that time, my children became very comfortable and familiar with the effects of Death on the body. We told them that - though this was Bennett's body or shell - the Bennett we knew and loved was in Heaven. They needn't be alarmed that he was cold, stiff and unresponsive. Because - when they would see him again - he would not be. He would be the same Bennett they tickled, cuddled, knew and loved.

They listened. They heard. And they believed.

And so - not even a year later - when their great grandfather who they cherish passes away, they are not alarmed by this change. They have walked this road before. They love him in Death as they did Life. And they know we will be together again.

And - until then - Grandpa will be playing catch with our Bennett.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss, sounds like an amazing man. I think that is so neat that your girls were so loving to their great grandfather in a time that many children would feel uncomfortable doing so. You are an amazing mother, and I look up to you so much.

  2. Oh Mandy, the hits just keep coming! I am so, so sorry that in this month when life must already seem almost unbearable there is another blow. Your optimistic outlook on it is incredible and illustrates the women you are. It is no surprise that your children are on the path to greatness as well. Loves and hugs to you. I so wish I could help to carry the load you have been asked to bear.

  3. Amanda, those pictures are truly beautiful!! I love this post, so tender and sweet! They way you have taught your children is so perfect, what an amazing mother you are...

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family.

  4. Amazing that in such an incredible time of grief you guys had the insight to realize how important it was to ritualize this process for them last year and now. You are good parents. What excellent modeling for them.

  5. im sure they are playing right now... a few mins after grandpa passed grandma was saying that she was sure the first things grandpa would do were going to be running and baseball. He missed them so. I bet Bennett is vhasing around behind him. Holding your hand on Saturday and Bennetts today, Heaven is close.

  6. So sorry for your loss, dear friend! What a great gift you have given your children--for the rest of their lives--in teaching them how to respond in such difficult times, even turning these times into special memories they will always cherish! Surely this gift will keep on giving to them and to others around them who see their sweet faith! As always, our prayers continue with you and yours!
    Love Jenny B.

  7. This was really beautiful. Is this the bad thing you warned yourself against in the last post? I was impressed with the letter but worried about you ever since.

  8. I happened upon your blog this weekend. I am so, so sorry for your family's losses. Thank you for being willing to share your heartbreak. It is a rare and refreshing thing to read a blog 'with it's makeup off' so to speak.

    I was wondering how you came about naming your son Bennett. (If I missed a post about this, I apologize).

    A long way of explanation:
    After three excruciating years of struggling with infertility and one heart breaking miscarriage my husband and I finally conceived our only child. The first bit of pregnancy was off to a very rocky start and we did not know for what seemed like an eternity (though in truth it was only a month) whether this pregnancy was going to take or not. We were blessed beyond words with the birth of a healthy boy, Thank God! Because of our sweet baby boy's beginnings we gave him the name that made me cry while pregnant because of it's meaning: Bennett "blessed little one".

    I am moved that our sweet, sweet boys share this name that means so much to me (it still makes me cry).

  9. Mandy, this is such a sweet, tender post. I am still amazed with the grace and maturity of your posts, the beauty of the words and the wisdom you have gained through these very difficult circumstances. I know that God is watching over your sweet family.


Thank you for being a part of my journey. I appreciate your supportive and healing comments. Here's to a Promise of Sunshine!