This is a post that I started a long time ago (July 2014) and wish I had written about it them because I am sure my emotions then would have given me better insights. Oh well, I guess my memory will have to do. These pictures were taken on a day that we decided to be silly but a day that was also heavy. I had been feeling that we needed to be sillier in our home and laugh more. Sometimes I let the daily grind get to me and forget to just laugh with my kids so I don't exactly remember what started it but I showed my kids chin faces.
And of course they loved it. We seriously laughed and laughed until Russ did something that hurt his back and then we had to take a break.
Lou also tried taking a bottle. It was short lived though. she has hardly taken a bottle since.
That evening we had a few people from our ward congregation gather at our home for a small memorial service of sorts about a friend of ours who had passed away. Russ was her home teacher and spent a lot of time serving and helping her and we enjoyed getting to know her and her dog Thor who we babysat a few times.
At the service the kids sang the Gethsemane Song. It is about Christs saving atonement and it was something they sang nearly everyday we went to visit her while she was on hospice for about 2 weeks. Then people took turns speaking about Pam and memories they had of her. William wanted to say something and did. I was proud of him for having the courage to do that in a room full of adults, no other children came, and because he wasn't flowery or fake. He spoke from him heart about his experiences with Pam, about her greeting us at church (when we were on time), about dog sitting Thor, and about how kind she always was to him.
I found this picture on the chalk board the next day. Gracie drew it and had many sweet emotions about Pam and the service we had for her. I added some pictures from Russ' phone of a couple times that we went to visit her. She was on hospice for about two weeks without eating or drinking. She was basically unresponsive except that she seemed to try to open her eyes when we would come and talk to her. We figured she could hear us so we talked to her and sang to her. Russ went to see her everyday and the kids and I went most the time with him. The kids loved going to visit her. It was sad after the first visit they asked when she would be coming home and we explained what hospice was and that she wouldn't be coming home. A lot of tears were shed but every visit after that they seemed at peace with what was happening and wanted to help her feel calm and peace in the last days and hours of her life.
You can't really tell in this picture but we would hold Louise up to her and she would happily squeal and wave her arms and kick her feet. We even brought her dog Thor to go see her because he was her baby and all she had in the world it seemed. He didn't seem to recognize her but we hope that she felt comfort in knowing he was there and that he would be taken care of. Another sweet friend Dinah has taken him and he has a happy home with her other dogs.
It was a good experience for me because it is a foreign thought that one would die without being surrounded by family, but I know that is the case for many people in the world. I am glad we got to be her family and I hope we provided some comfort. But the thought of not even having a funeral or anything was too hard for us to take, we knew we had to do something to remember her and hope that she felt love. But I take comfort in knowing that when she left this body she felt more love from than we could give her from someone who loves her more than we ever could.
I know that death is not the end. I know that. I haven't been through it myself yet, but I was by my Grandmother when she died and that experience and ones I have had with her since help me to know that it is not the end. She has not appeared before my eyes but to my spirit. I have felt the love, guidance, and help from all of my grandparents who have passed on and feelings of the spirit are stronger that if I had seen it with my own eyes. At Louise's birth I was much more in tune with my spirit and so were others that were present. My photographer Tiffany mentioned that my bedroom during the birth was full and I felt it. There were family members there that we could not see, but feel there to welcome Louise into this life and when my Grandma passed away there were others there to usher her out. It is a beautiful experience, really. And I am grateful that we got to experience it with Pam.