This morning I woke up missing my grandma. I watched the video I made for her funeral and cried like I haven't let myself cry since she passed away. I’m still crying an hour later.
I am used to living across the country from my family and not seeing them very often but there have been little things in the past couple of months that remind me that Momel is no longer just a phone call away. For example, on Thursday night when I still typed her number in as my Walgreens rewards card number when I needed a discount on cold medicine or each time I see the commercials for American Idol. We used to watch every episode of that show together. I've decided it's appropriate that American Idol is in its final season because the show probably shouldn’t go on without Momel. I stopped watching seasons ago because it wasn’t as much fun to watch without her.
Momel loved to write. I am lucky enough to have a career where I get to write about incredible people who do amazing things every day. She often said to me, “You’re living my dream.” But I have realized that sometimes people live their lives doing amazing things very quietly. These people don’t make the news but they permanently etch their mark in our lives. I know countless people like this and so do you. Elsie Jones was one of those people.
When I found out that Momel had been diagnosed with cancer, I immediately started trying to figure out when I could make it home to see her. The doctors said six months or less so I initially thought I could just go home for Christmas. As time passed and it looked like she might not have six months, I began to look at plane tickets home for Thanksgiving but they were really expensive so I procrastinated buying one. One day I was sick and suffering from one of the random bouts with homesickness that still hit me every once in a while even after living away from home for eight years. I told one of my best friends how I was feeling. A few hours later she told me to check my email and had bought a plane ticket for me to go home to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. At the time I didn’t really understand how significant this gift was but it has ended up being a gift that I will never be able to repay.
As it turns out, I got to North Carolina just in time to have a conversation with Momel and to tell her how much I loved her. She had taken a turn for the worst earlier that day and just three short days later, she would gracefully pass from this life to the next.
I thanked her for waiting for me to get there, held her sweet hand and listened to her say “I love you” over and over again. It was one of the sweetest, most sacred experiences of my life to be with her and to watch her fight such an ugly disease so beautifully. We sat in her room and sang to her songs about families that last forever and about Heavenly Father’s love. We talked about the memories that we had shared together and she laughed with us. We made new memories there together in that little room that became a holy place, memories that will have to hold us until we can hold her again. My mom said that she felt that in those last couple of days we were able to deliver her to heaven. It just wasn’t our time to go in with her and I’ve realized that’s okay. I’ve got a lot to live up to before I can join her there.
Momel lived a life that was so full of light and love. This quote by Dennis L. Largey reminds me of her: "Jesus Christ is the light and life of the world. Spiritual people—or those who strive to always have His spirit to be with them—reflect the light of Jesus Christ in their lives and in their countenances....Their countenances reflect a life well lived. Having learned to walk in the light, they have become a reflection of that light."
I’m so grateful for her light. I’m grateful for the knowledge that she is still very much with us and involved in our lives. I can’t help but think that maybe the reason I have felt this aching to be close to her is because she also was thinking about me this morning and wanted me to be reminded of her love for me.
I read a quote earlier this week by Joseph F. Smith that said: “I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly beings. We are not separate from them. … We can not forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory, and thus we are associated and united to them by ties that we can not break. … how much more certain it is … to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond … can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them. … We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever.”
One night a couple weeks ago I climbed in bed and decided that I would read the book that my grandma wrote and had printed before she passed away entitled, “The Story of My Conversion.” I had read the book before but hadn’t opened my own copy. I flipped open the front cover and there in the handwriting that I easily recognized because of the countless times it was written in cards for every special occasion was written, “To Morgan: Love always, Momel.”
I guess I felt I needed to write this to let her know I love her too.
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