Recently I found an alternate route to school to avoid the traffic and unexpectedly found myself down memory lane and shedding a few tears for someone I lost many years ago. Eating potato gems by a gravestone with my children seemed like a perfectly logical thing to do…..
You see, my new route to school takes me past the memorial gardens where my grandpa is buried. He died 10 years ago.
I loved my Grandpa very very much, he was certainly a patriarch of the family.
To me, though he was mostly a massive big warm hug.
As a little girl I spent many hours curled up on his lap in his well warn Jason’s recliner watching TV before school. I remember the warmth and strength of his hands, his cheeky smile and so much fun and love. He invested so much in the lives of many people and left a legacy of faith and hope for many. He knew how to make you feel special and loved.
As I drove down that road, the memory of my Papa came flooding back and I began to think about how much he would have loved to see my two beautiful children now. I could imagine the joy and sparkle in his eye. The contentment and satisfaction seeing the life of a new generation emerge.
By the time I got to my mum’s house that morning I was battling to fight back the tears. The emotion and grief was totally unexpected.
I longed for my Papa to meet these two gorgeous children and for them to experience just for a moment the feeling of utter love and acceptance I felt when curled up on his lap.
So I decided to take my kids and introduce them to my Papa.
We sat in the warm afternoon sun a picnic rug by his grave and I shared some stories I remembered about him. My son chose a bunch of flowers to bring and I bought a packet of potato gems for us all to share.
That’s right. A bit weird I know, but it’s my way of remembering special times with my Papa. I think of Papa every time I buy them as we would often share a packet at the shops in the afternoons after school. It was ‘our thing’ so I thought this was a great way for the kids to be part of that.
It truly was a special time remembering Papa with my children and when we left in the car My Little Scientist said “Well, visiting that grave was actually quite fun! Thank you mummy!”. I was so glad it wasn’t an awkward experience for him but rather just something quite natural.
My son learnt that it is important to remember those we love and the impact they had on our life.
I had a second moment interwoven on this journey of remembering that was also very special and unexpected.
On our drive to the memorial gardens for our picnic I was trying to explain to my son in a simple way what a grave is. I spoke about death and the fact that we can be happy because Papa loved Jesus very much and I believe he is in heaven and will be waiting to welcome us there with one of his big warm hugs.
As I was explaining all this, my son came out with this….
“and mummy, when you go to heaven, you will be able to see your baby that died too.
SHE will love to cuddle YOU!”
I was floored.
Several months ago I told him about a miscarriage I had and that I feel sad about it sometimes…… He remembered…… And on this day, he gave me hope of seeing her one day.
I believe the baby was a girl and I named her Grace. I have a small pendant at home that hangs on the handle to my kitchen pantry with her name on it. This is my small way of remembering her.
A couple of years ago I read an amazing book called “Heaven is for real” by Todd Burpo about a 4 year old boy who has a near death experience. He visits heaven and meets people in his family who have died, including a sister who had never actually been born as their mother miscarried.
It gives me joy to think if either of my children were taken from me too early in life (which of course I pray won’t happen) then they would have a Papa and a big sister ready to embrace them in heaven. I look forward to this reunion of my own one day too.
I learnt that grief can catch you at the most unexpected times and ways.
….. and that heaven gives me hope.
Is there someone’s memory that you want to keep alive? (Potato gems and a random pendant are two of my ways to remember)
What legacy will you leave when you pass from this earth?
Is there someone waiting to give you a warm hug in heaven?