Sunday, February 10, 2019. That date and this photo will be blazed into my memory for some time. Debbie and I took Danielle and Chris up to Oak Glen knowing it was going to snow. Neither of them have been in falling snow before.
It was absolutely beautiful. The kids were so excited. We all ran around laughing and playing in the snow and soaking in the moment. I snuck away and took this photo with my phone. I didn’t realize at the time that none of us had cell reception.
About an hour later we had driven to another location. The snow was coming down harder and we were enjoying and playing in the beauty.
And then I heard the “bing” of an incoming text. I pulled out my phone and read the following text from my oldest son:
“Hey dad I just got a call from Uncle David. Grandma just passed away. I tried calling you so call back if you get a chance”
All I could say was “Oh no! Oh no!” Deb asked “What’s the matter?” “Your mom died.” And our world lurched.
That was probably the most heart-wrenching day of my life. The 90-minute drive to my in-laws’ home was miserable. Mom’s body was still in bed where she had died. Watching my wife and children say “Good-bye” and mourn was excruciating.
Later, the van arrived to take away her body. Debbie, our kids, and I stood in the driveway in the dark night as the rain fell. My kids were reading through the Psalms, tears streaming as their grandma’s body was slipped into the van. And as the van drove her away forever from our sight and lives, we all broke into uncontrollable sobs. The ache of her death and the grief etched in my kids’ faces were unbearable.
This photo isn’t great, but it’s special to me. It was taken in a quiet, joyful moment with my family. And about the same time I took the photo my sweet mother-in-law was exclaiming “I’m dying!” and taking her last breath with her husband and youngest son.
The photo reminds me of that horrible day. The serenity it captures reminds me of the special gift that was my mother-in-law.
And every time I look at this photo, it reminds me of how much I miss her.