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From Sorrow To Reflection

It’s been almost a week since I heard the news that my dear grandma died. She died on the most glorious spring day. It was so beautiful, that my girls and I decided to plant our garden. As we did so, memories of Grandma flooded my mind. I remembered how she loved to garden and how I would raid her garden for peas and raspberries. Less than an hour later I found out she had died.

There is a precious beauty in knowing that while she was taking her last breaths we were doing one of her most beloved activities.

I’ve experienced death before but this is my first encounter with the loss of a family member. There have been moments in the past week when the heaviness and despair felt like it would swallow me whole. I would wake up in the morning and have a few precious seconds which were oblivious to the grief but then I would remember… and my heart would sink.

She is gone.

However, this past week has also shown me just how many beautiful people are in my life. From the cards and flowers, to the emails and messages of love and support… when I felt most vulnerable and at my weakest, so many people surrounded me, supported me, and lifted me up.

My days blurred from one to the next with tears, prayer, impromptu naps, looking at old photos, memories, baths, more tears, and more prayers.

Today we will be laying my grandma to rest. I’ve been reminiscing often about my times with her. However, one of the strongest memories of my grandma has replayed in my mind many times over. If you don’t mind, I would like to share it with you….

I was just a little girl, maybe 7 or 8 years old. We were wrapping up a weekend excursion to my grandparents’ acreage. As they packed the van I made a last run around the property. It was then that I spotted a fluffy yellow baby duck stuck in a large pit on the property.

There was no mama duck around. This baby duck had obviously fallen in and could not get out.

We fished the duckling out of the pit and I held its precious shaking body in my hands.

We drove back to the city, the duckling in a small box, wrapped in a tea towel. I recall opening the lid of the box and peeking in at my treasured, beloved duckling. My young mind  imagined keeping the duckling. I envisioned being the only kid at school with a pet duck, taking it for walks on a leash, and playing with it in the backyard. I came to the conclusion that I would be its mama and a good mama I would be.

Upon arriving back in the city at my grandparents’ house, there were many talks with my grandma, my aunt, and uncle; no one seemed to think that this duck could survive without its mama. They were trying to figure out how to help it and where to bring it. However, before any firm decision could be made, the duckling died.

I remember weeping and feeling a deep pain I couldn’t explain. I was devastated.

I couldn’t understand why it died. Why did I have to find it only to have it die just a few short hours later?

My grandma comforted me and then told me in the gentlest way possible, “Wasn’t it better that the duck died being loved by you, than to have died alone and scared?”

I remembered pondering this and thinking how right she was.

People often say when someone dies, that the world isn’t as bright because they are not in it. However I find comfort in thinking that even though my Grandma is dancing and singing in heaven with our Savior, her light still shines on in our memories; in the lessons she taught her children and grandchildren, and in love that she has passed on through the generations.

This is my favourite version of This Little Light of Mine.
Click HERE if the video doesn’t display.

Thank you for all of your kind words, emails, prayers, and love. Your kindness has blessed and encouraged me more than you could know.


Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.

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37 thoughts on “From Sorrow To Reflection

  • familyfaithfoodfabric

    What a beautiful memory and a wonderful lesson. She seemed like an amazing lady. I’m sorry for this first passing of such a close loved one, but I envy you the singularity of it. I’ve lost so many I feel like I’ve lived 5 lifetimes sometimes. It seems like she had a full and joyous life. That is a wonderful knowledge. Hold the people you love close, but when they go, simply say goodbye. You will meet them again.

    Sending you healing thoughts. Yanic xo

    • Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom

      Thank you so much Meg. You have been such a wonderful and caring support to me. I appreciate your friendship more than I could possibly express.

      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For the love and prayers… I feel completely blessed.

    • Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom

      Caroline, throughout this emotional ordeal “This Little Light of Mine” has come up so many times. It’s like God knew I needed to feel my Grandma’s presence even in her absence… so he gave me this song which has cropped up repeatedly over the past week. God has been so gracious through this time… leaving echoes of His presence in all the trials and emotions. Despite the sorrow, there is always the undeniable comfort that our Lord and Saviour gives to us in our times of need.

      Wishing you blessings and light my friend.

  • Kelli @ A Deeper Joy

    Oh Jennifer, you have me in tears. What a beautiful story that says so much about your grandmother! She sounded like an amazing woman! So awesome that she’s in Heaven with our Savior now. :) You and your family have been in my prayers! Much love to you!

  • Tiffany {A Touch of Grace}

    Jennifer, I sit here in tears as I picture your memory with your grandma and the duckling. What a story that speaks so much to her character. I hope you found peace today as you and your family shared memories of her. I’ve lost some very close family members in my life and it never gets easier. Lots of love and prayers for you my dear.

    • Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom

      My Grandma really was an amazing woman. I often regard her as the Proverbs 31 woman… so full of faith, wisdom, and grace.

      I did find some peace through our memorial. I’m certain I will have moments when I will miss her greatly but one day I’ll meet her again.

      Thank you for all the love, support, and prayers my friend.

  • i am mama lola

    i am so sorry for your loss, jennifer. i love that you and your girls were gardening on the day she passed; really represents the on-going cycle of life. so beautiful.
    sending lots of warmth and love from ontario. XOXO

  • R.F. Dietz

    This story brought me to tears! What a beautiful woman with such wisdom bestowed. It’s so beautiful that those words in that memory would resonate so deeply, are so powerful and helpful. That memory is a gift from her and is the guiding light (that she has always been) living on.

  • Jean

    I lost a precious mentor last week and your words about your grandmother helped me find a little bit of clarity in my sorrow. You are right, that photo speaks very much to who she was. Your words do every bit of justice to her memory as well. xo

  • mountain girl

    I am here catching up on your last three blog posts, which I somehow missed. My heart aches for you and your loss, but what delightful memories you have of your sweet grandma! I loved the duckling story, and it shows what a tender and thoughtful woman she was. Take your time and grieve well–you have truly lost someone wonderful. Someday you will meet up with her again–dancing on the streets of gold. Woo-hoo!

    • Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom

      She was an amazing woman Mia. So many times I look at her and have thought she is the closest example of the Proverbs 31 woman. She had such a servant’s heart too. What a wonderful role model I’ve had in my life. I have been blessed.

      One day I will meet her again! I find comfort in knowing that.

  • Jessica Dimas

    Wow, she sounds like such an amazing and loving woman. What a sweet lesson she taught you. I lost my grandfather and my cousin a few years ago and they were the first family members that I lost that really impacted me. I know that feeling you are describing of waking up and then remembering everything and the weight that’s on your heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you, friend.

    • Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom

      She was amazing Jessica. Her heart was so big. She loved everyone and served everyone she encountered. I have been blessed with knowing an exceptional woman, a role model like no other.

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers my friend.

  • Ceil

    Hi Jennifer! I just got back in town, I’ve been gone for five days. I am so sorry that I missed this post on the day of your Grandmother’s burial.
    And this is the first death in your immediate family, which makes it all so much sadder too. I know she is looking at you and smiling, and putting her arm around her granddaughter. How she loved you! And you returned that love. What a beautiful reflection of Gods love for all of us.
    Praying that your heart heals a little every day. Be patient. It takes a while….

  • Lady Cordelia

    Many warm thoughts to you Jennifer. I have yet to deal with someone I am VERY close with passing on. What a strange life we live, right? Everyone deals with it at some point but that surely doesn’t make it easier, nothing does.
    Thinking of you.

  • EstheticGoddess

    So sorry for your loss but what wonderful memories she has given you. My dad past almost a year ago. Family gatherings as well as day to day activities are different now but we are thankful for the years we had him. He was a character! Hugs to you.