Sunday, June 26, 2011

A 'hug' returned from heaven

My grandma passed away on Thursday. When I shared the news with Enos, he said, "She did it; good for her." He made it sound like death was an accomplishment, like giving birth. He gave me a long hug and when he pulled away his eyes were swimming with tears.

Grandma Margret & me

How can we not be happy for grandma? Her husband and all four children, plus her parents and several siblings were waiting to greet her with eager hugs. But how can we not feel sorry for ourselves? We have what seems like a long time before we can get in that hug line.

I know that Josh already got a hug. Grandma promised me that she would give him an extra one from me and tell him how much I love him. Somehow thinking about Grandma in the spirit world has caused my heart to ache for Josh. In the few days since I got the news, I have been kept busy with funeral to-do's. I made initial calls to family members, and then follow up calls giving more details. I typed up and submitted the obituary. I worked with my brother in making all the assignments for the funeral program, including getting music to people to sing the three songs she requested. I ordered the flowers to go on the casket. Everything was done except making the trip. I took some time to sit down. I picked up the July Ensign that had come in the mail that day. As I thumbed through it, I let out an audible gasp. Cody and Enos shot me a look of surprise and inquiry. What would cause such a reaction? There on page 9 was a photo with Josh in it. Our Josh. It was taken around five years ago and was used in the Ensign then but we weren't notified that it would be printed again. Under the picture is the text, "We feel the joy of God's plan for us on earth."

Wow. It's one of those moments when there is no inner wall tall enough to hold back the tears. Heavenly Father knew when Grandma would be called home. He knew how our hearts would be drawn out to Josh. And he sent us a personal message.

Journal Entry June 29, 2011 "We got to the funeral early enough for the viewing.  What I will never forget is being at the piano during, “A Hero”.  I played the intro, all the cousins came in singing.  I was focused on playing the right notes and staying with the singers.  We were on the third stanza when I heard, “Now Deanne, you’re going to sing too…”  I remembered how many times Grandma had asked me to sing that song for her funeral and every time I had said, “Grandma, I can’t sing.”  She’d respond, “Oh, you can too!”  I was so grateful back on Friday when Melvin had told me that everyone would be singing it.  Sitting at the piano focused on playing the piano, it hadn’t occurred to me to sing.  Until I heard her.  I couldn’t really argue since nobody else but Grandma and I would hear me sing.  I found myself smiling through the rest of the song and feeling as comfortable as I would have been playing and singing in my own living room.  It wasn’t until later when I shared this with Enos that I cried, when I realized what a tender mercy it was for me to be given to know that Grandma was right there with us.  I still smile when I think about how Grandma didn’t let me get away without singing the song I wrote for her.

On my way back from the airport, I drove up the hill and did a session at the Bountiful temple.  I saw a deer on the hill and took a picture.  I wondered during the endowment who might have escorted Grandma from mortality to the spirit world.  There were many choices: parents, husband, siblings, children.  Then, when I stood at the veil, and listened to the elderly male voice on the other side, I knew with all my heart that it was Grandpa.  The spirit bore witness so strong; I could hardly speak my part at the end.  I was grateful for that enlightenment and when I received it, I realized the answer was what I should have surmised all along.  About two weeks later, Melvin sent an email that let us know something interesting.  He had taken Grandma to the doctor the day before she died.  After she had passed and Melvin was called in, he saw something that he hadn’t seen the day before on her kitchen table.  Notices of Grandpa’s passing from fifteen years ago."

George & Margret Butt  ~ 50th anniversary