Have any of your family members died? If so, what did they die from? What do you remember of their death, and what were the circumstances of their death?
When I was born, I had two living great-grandmothers, two living grandmothers, one living grandfather and one living step-grandfather. All of them have died.
I have a few memories of my great-grandmother Elizabeth Lavon Finch Peterson. She died in 1983 in California and we lived in Utah; I don't have memories of her death.
I have a lot of memories of my other great-grandmother, Alice Alvey Pierce. She died in 1989 and I remember going to her funeral and burial.
In 1990, I lost both of my grandfathers 11 days apart; Darrel L Peterson and William Thomas Edwards. I remember both of their deaths and the circumstances surrounding them.
In 2003, I lost my grandmother, Helen Arlene Barr Ohms Edwards. I have many memories of her (30+ years of memories) and memories of her death as well.
Today, I want to focus this blog post on my grandmother, Leola Pierce Peterson, who died on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2012. I have 40+ years of memories; which I still need to record. But this Memory Jogger asks about death. As grandma Pete was getting more sick in early 2012, I had the opportunity to visit her in the hospital in St. George, Utah. I knew on that day that it would be my last time to see her alive. I was hard to see her so sick. She was always a healthy active woman. She bowled, golfed, and pitched horseshoes and excelled in each of these sports up until a few months before her death at age 87. She expressed to us her love for us at every visit including this last visit when she was so sick. I knew it wouldn't be much longer. When she died on Easter, I was at peace. I know the Savior Jesus Christ provided a way for all of us to be resurrected. The peace that the resurrection provides brought peace to my soul that day.
We took this special opportunity to teach our young children about death and resurrection. We read to them the children's book, "What Happens When People Die?, written by Timothy Robinson. You can see more information about this book HERE. We prepared our children for the funeral. Our son was just 17 months old and we knew that he wouldn't know much about what was taking place, but our daughter was 4 years old. She had her own personal relationship with her great-grandmother; the only great-grandmother she knew. She understood the story we shared about how all things live and all things die, including people; and yet we will live again someday in families just like we do here on Earth. And she understood that her grandma Pete had died.
On the day of grandma's funeral, April 6, we attended the viewing. At the end of the viewing we participated in a family prayer and then it was time to close the casket. At that moment, my 4 year old Emma cried out, "Why isn't anyone waking her up?" There were audible gasps and more tears shed. Yes Emma, someday she will arise again, but not yet today. She had such great faith!
We moved to the chapel for the funeral program and my sister and cousin teamed up to share the eulogy and story of my grandma's life. There were some things shared that day that were new to me and I asked them later about how they knew that information about grandma. My grandma did something very similar to what I am doing with "Memory Jogger Monday". She was given a book by her daughter, my aunt Janice, and she filled in answers to these similar type questions. What a treasure! I hope that someday my thoughts and my history and my memories will be a treasure to my posterity as my grandmother's are to me.
See this post for more information about "Memory Jogger Monday":