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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.