Monday, April 25, 2011


Three weeks ago we lost our very loving Gramella. It has been a time of incredible sadness and also sweetness for our family. I want to share them both.

The Sadness: Gramella was scheduled to have outpatient gallbladder surgery on Thursday, March 17th but got very sick the week leading up to that day and had to go to the emergency room that Wednesday. When Carter heard what was happening, he said, "she is going to die." Nelson and I of course reassured him that her gallbladder was very sick but she was being cared for and certainly wasn't going to die! The Sweetness: It turns out Carter was being prepared and we are able to show him how the Holy Ghost was working in his life.

The Sadness: The diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis was such a shock. She had never had lung issues and it seemed unreal. Once we started Googling the disease, we were horrified that it exists. What a devastating illness. The Sweetness: She only had to live with the diagnosis for a couple of weeks and was then able to say that she was tired and ready to be done. Many people live for years and degenerate then die slowly. Her time was mercifully quick and she got to choose her time to pass.

The Sadness: Spending a couple of weeks at the hospital in the ICU. The Sweetness: Getting all that time to spend with her at the end. Nelson and Aunt Pat were there as much as possible and there were many wonderful conversations and sharing memories. We also met amazing nurses, doctors and hospital staff who went out of their way to make life in the hospital easier.

The Sadness: Leaving Gramella at the hospital every night. The Sweetness: Family prayer around the bed at her request. The peaceful feelings would help her through the night.

The Sadness: Doctors coming in on Thursday, March 30th and telling us there is nothing more they could do. The Sweetness: Ella saying that she could feel her parents close by and she was ready to end her life.

The Sadness: The helpless feeling that comes from watching your mom decline and knowing there is nothing you can do. The Sweetness: The incredible power and strength of the priesthood that offers blessings and comfort.

The Sadness: Bringing the boys to the hospital and watching Carter break down in tears. The Sweetness: Watching all the boys give Gramella a big hug and tell her they love her and having one last family prayer. Alex was then able to use his priesthood to give her a final blessing along with his father.

The Sadness: Having to say goodbye. The Sweetness: Getting to say goodbye for now.

The Sadness: Watching her body take the last breath. The Sweetness: Knowing her spirit was no longer there and her body was no longer her.

The Sadness: Telling the boys she passed and hearing Carter's painful sobs and seeing Colin's eyes grow wide as he tried to process the news. The Sweetness: Colin saying, "so it was like at the end of Star Wars when Darth Vader told Anakin to take of his mask?" Gramella would have loved that story.

The Sadness: Going to her home and being surrounded by her things but not Gramella. The Sweetness: Parker wanting to take a bath because that is what he always did at Gramella's house. Paxton and Colin both wanting to play with the train and watch Veggie Tales. Alex picking up a book on proper english and laughing at the entries. You could almost hear Ella laughing along with him.

The Sadness: Not having a traditional funeral and burial. The Sweetness: A memorial service that would have made her so happy with a tribute by Nelson that brought everyone to laughter and tears. The gift of her body to the University of Utah for medical research.

The Sadness: Not having a Gramella around to love the boys as much as she did--without apology or reservation. The Sweetness: The boys getting to have that kind of love ever in their lives and they can still feel that love.

The Sadness: The person who will be missing for so many holidays, birthdays and other celebrations. The Sweetness: The knowledge that she will be there in spirit and that we will all be together one day. Gramella will be singing loudly with her perfect lungs and running fast on feet that no longer hurt. It will be a celebration like no other!