With deep gratitude

by Mrs. Smith on December 28, 2017

When my sweet, amazing Gramsie died, I was touched and changed by so many things. Once again I have to skip over pieces, no matter how important or cherished, to get to the point of this little blurb here.

One of the many sparkling highlights of that whole transition was completely unexpected. Someone in my Purium Ohana reached out to me with this beautiful message.

Hi Alisa,
So sorry about your Grandma. I lost mine while back and it was so hard.
☹️🌸🌺
Can I have your mailing address? Would love to send something over.
Much Blessings
Love ❤️ and prayers, [my friend]

A couple weeks later, when I was in Utah and Mr Smith was back home, we received a beautiful card from her. Mr Smith called me when he opened it. He even took pictures of it and sent them to me out there, and it was just… so touching.

Sherry had taken the time to go through pictures on Facebook and found several of the best of the best from my family and our mutual friends. She’d put them together into a card that was as thoughtful as it was filled with aloha. I was somewhat speechless.

When he flew back to Utah for the end of my trip there, he brought it with him and I was moved even more in person. What an incredibly kind thing to do for someone. For me.

And…

It’s absolutely shameful, but I didn’t ever write a message to let her know it came. To tell her how well it turned out, how surprised I was at her thoughtfulness, how much it meant to me.

There’s no excuse for it. I really wanted to say thank you. It’s on my invisible list of things to do when I sit down at the computer. Sometimes I just go plain braindead and I forget what I was going on there to do.

And now – just a month or so later – she’s gone.

Just like that.

I had no idea she was ill. I love my Purium Ohana but you know how social media is. You don’t share every detail of your life on there. Her family didn’t know she was quite so seriously ill like that either. It is a complete surprise to lose her just like that. It’s a shock and we’re all kind of reeling.

Her kindness and the aloha in that one simple card… It just… I don’t know how to explain it. Hawaiian words are much better for that.

When death touches your newsfeed and it’s someone you know, it’s… hard. Sad. It’s like I can feel all the pain of those closer to her than I was.

There are so many things that come up.

Every time there’s been something like this in my connections somewhere, I’ve written a blog post in my head. True story. They haven’t ever actually made it here, but I’m changing my modus operandi.

Today, I’m writing. And I don’t care if it’s “perfect,” I don’t care if there are pictures, I don’t care if letting this explode is somewhat tactless given how little I actually knew this sweet, sweet soul, and I don’t care if anyone else even reads it. I’m sharing those thoughts like she shared her aloha with me, and I’m doing it right now. I think she’d want it that way — and oh boy, do I know that’s how my Gramsie wants it, too. 😉

Speaking of Gramsie, the grief about this Purium sister touched my grief about my grandma and the two kind of merged, resulting in a good long cry.
(I’ve honestly cried surprisingly little about Gramsie, so it’s lovely when something unlocks it like that. There’s something so cleansing and healing about a good cry.)

And then there’s the vivid reminder that for all of us, there’s a clock ticking. This life isn’t meant to be permanent; the next life is. I’m grateful to know what happens next. I know where she is and the indescribable peace there is on the other side, returning to the presence of our Creator.

We are so loved. We are so very watched over and cared for here. This whole experience on earth is just a great big classroom where we can choose what we learn and how much we let God lead us and guide us. For those who are ready (as she was), it is a truly joyful transition when we get to go Back Home again.

But it’s hard for those left behind. So hard. Her abrupt departure made me think about how I’ve lived my life and what’s there still on that list of things I want to do. What matters. What doesn’t.

I needed something to do as I came up out of the sniffling, so I played with the books in our “library” and got things a little bit more organized in there. It’s not like I want it to be ultimately, but at least we have all the series sitting happily in their families now.

Percy, Harry, Artemis, Wrinkle in Time, Dragons of Blueland, Narnia, Adventurers Wanted, Heroes Guide, Roald Dahl, Lloyd Alexander, Little House…

As I held found those wandering, scattered books and made room for them near their next of kin, I felt incredible gratitude for the incredible journeys my children have heard me read out loud. It’s something truly precious, knowing my oldest heard the Little House series straight from me.

That was a good 5 years ago now, but these Smithlings are still pretty little. I may or may not have resolved to see just how many of these books their attention spans will allow me to read to them before their last night in the nursery.

How grateful I am that those authors got their stories out so we could read them and be all the better for it!

How tragic, if they hadn’t. Where would we be without Meg and Lucy and Wendy and Laura? Without Peter (Pan and Provency, of course), Frodo, Taran, and Harry? Without swords pulled from stones, seer pigs, hobbits, pixie dust, and all of those books on my shelves, falling apart from being loved so much?

It made me think… if you have a story, start writing. Now. If you have pictures in your soul, start drawing. If you have music inside, get it out there. You never know who you’ll touch, and even if it’s not all that great when you start out, you’ll get better if you keep trying.

Incidentally, my harsh criticisms of the author of a paperback I started reading today is melting away in light of the fact that SHE has books in print and I, as yet, do not.

Although, REALLY, if you’re reworking a fairy tale and you’ve got Rapunzel there set in a presumably medieval setting, do NOT have her mention baked Alaska. Oh. My. Word. I don’t care how bored she is in that tower, man, there ain’t no freaking WAY she’s got access even to the word Alaska, let alone the baked concoction involving Neapolitan ice cream. For the love! 

Anyway. I digress. Again.

Back to life and its precious-ness.

Amidst feelings and pain and sniffles and self-appointed distractions, all those thoughts floated around and melted into an hour on the computer and the words you’ve just read.

I wonder if Gramsie can find my friend there on the other side and tell her thank you for me.

Thank you for letting your light and your faith shine brightly. Thank you for the aloha you put into this beautiful card that I cherish now for more reasons than one. Thank you for inspiring me to do better and to just go ahead and DO those thoughtful things I want to do but often/usually don’t. Thank you for helping me come out from my blogging sabbatical and make friends with that little blue button over there that says Publish.

Thank you for reminding me how sweet and fleeting life is.

I love you, friend, and will always remember you.

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