My Granddaddy passed away peacefully on January 21, 2022. My mother and uncle were by his side and "Amazing Grace" was playing in the background as he took his final breath.
And just like that, my wonderful Granddaddy has departed from us, but I can only imagine the many tender reunions happening on the other side of the veil. One of which would be my Namma who passed away about 2 years ago.
Namma and Granddaddy. The true duo.
When I think of Granddaddy, I think of Christmas mornings in a mountain cabin where he would put on a skinny Santa hat at pass out presents one at a time. I think of the man who always made the most perfect bacon. I think of playing games like Scrabble, and him clapping his hands and saying "Hot dog! Look at that!" when he would get an especially good scoring word. Granddaddy had some funny sayings. "Jiminy Cricket" was another good one when something wasn't going his way.
I think of a man who was so full of love. My husband Andrew always would comment how easy it was to talk to Granddaddy. He was a great conversationalist and made everyone feel included. At his memorial, so many people talked about how Jim Messenger always made you feel like you were the best at whatever you were doing. He'd tell my mom what a beautiful skier she way. He'd tell me what a beautiful writer I was. He was always full of compliments and encouragement.
Granddaddy loved his family and he loved God. In the past few years after Namma's death, he was able to go to the temple and perform sacred ordinances to unify his family for eternity. Those are holy memories I will always treasure in my heart.
A few days before his passing, I was upstairs talking with him and my mom. Granddaddy's mind clearly wasn't fully there and he kept saying some strange things. But before I left I told him I loved him. He looked me straight in the eyes and said with a tender smile, "I love you too, Maichael." That was the true moment when we said goodbye to each other.
While I miss Granddaddy, I am so happy for him. I am happy he is no longer in a state of pain or confusion. I am happy he is reunited with his bride and extended family and friends. I am happy he left us with so many wonderful memories
I’m sitting in my little office listening to toddler giggles coming from upstairs. Grace and Madelyn have been little BFFs today and are having the time of their lives as they play pretend together.
I love seeing their relationship. Their little two and three-year-old imaginations. I love watching the dances they perform in the kitchen and the dress-up outfits they end up dirtying with peanut butter fingers. The mischief they get into together. I love hearing Grace’s big dramatic sigh when I tell her to stop putting all the lotion on Madelyn, and how she walks away all dejected and says, “Come on, Maddy.” I love seeing Madelyn following her big sister like a little puppy dog back upstairs to see what new trouble they can make. I love hearing them say “I love you” to each other and seeing them embrace each other.
Yesterday we went to Disneyland with some new friends. All the adults wanted to go on Space Mountain and Grace told me she wanted to go, too. I explained that she was still too little, and we both walked up to the measuring stick so that I could show her. To my shock, she actually was tall enough to go on the ride. But then I explained that it was a really fast ride and I didn’t think she would like it. Grace responded, “Hm, well, I think I still want to try it.” With that, my goal was no longer to talk her out of it but rather to pump her up! “Ok, Gracie. It’s super cool. It’s like you are in space and you are flying a rocket and you get to see all the stars and planets. Daddy will be sitting right beside you the whole time, so you can hold his arm if you need to. You are such a big girl!” I watched Andrew and Grace walk away, and I sat there with all my Mom-nerves as I waited. When they disembarked, I was relieved to see no tear-streaked cheeks. Grace came up to me and simply said, “Mommy, I didn’t like that ride.” I laughed and told her, “That’s ok, baby. But I am so proud of you for trying something new and being so brave!” She smiled at that.
Today we set up beach chairs behind our garage and pretended to spend the day at the beach. We imagined the ocean and the sand. Madelyn found some sand toys, and Grace grabbed the cooler and pretended to have it filled with snacks. We drank water and ate apple sauce. Maddy then proceeded to spill almost all the water (she is known for making a mess wherever she goes). We imagined fishing for big red gooey fish (Thank you, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) and watching the dolphins jumping in the ocean. It was so simple and yet so fun.
Lately, Maddy has been a little more needy. (I think she knows change is coming). "Mommy, I want you to hold me on the couch," is a phrase I hear EVERY day. It can be exhausting when I am trying to clean or be productive in some other task, but then I put it all into perspective and realize that cuddling my babies is exactly what I should be doing. I am grateful my girls love cuddling me and having me read to them. This is what my motherhood looks like, and I love it!
I feel so lucky to have Grace and Madelyn in my care. I love being their Mom. They really are special little girls.
Andrew and Maichael
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