She Saw Jesus!

We thought that my Grandma had about a week or two before she would pass away. “Buddy” and I flew out to Kansas City, MO to see her before she did. While we were in flight, she passed away.  (This was originally posted on my previous blog, but it’s a really important story for me and was actually what started the blog I called just “The Journey”.)

When we arrived at the Kansas City airport, two of my cousins (with their children) were there to meet us. My first thought was, “this is a good surprise”. When I got over to them, my cousins said, “She’s gone.” They had to say it a couple of times before I caught on. My hands went directly to my waist and I said, “I told ‘L’ to tell Grandma that “Buddy” and I were coming!” I had honestly believed that she would survive throughout the weekend. I wasn’t mad at “L” or anyone for that matter. I just totally believed that if nothing else, she would wait for us to get there if she knew that we were coming. She knew, but she was ready.

My cousin “J” then told me what had happened as Grandma was passing away. “J’s” dad (my Uncle “T”) was talking to Grandma and “J” was holding her hand. Uncle “T” said something like, “Do you see Jesus? If you see Jesus, squeeze ‘J’s’ hand.” She hadn’t had enough strength to even hold a cup to drink for about a day. After a little pause, Grandma about squeezed “J’s” hand off. Uncle “T” told me later that Grandma’s shoulders also kind of went in like she was being hugged tightly. She passed away with a smile on her face. As “J” was telling me this, I felt like I was experiencing it myself. “J’s” eyes were conveying it all. I had a major case of goosebumps, too. Grandma had seen Jesus!

We then went directly to “L’s” house, because that is where Grandma still was, so that some more of us could get there and see her. On the way, I went through several of the grief stages rather quickly. After my shock started to dissipate, I grew sad and then upset with myself for not making it there in time. Then, out of the blue, I suddenly became very angry. I am not someone who gets angry easily, so it confused me a bit. I honestly wasn’t angry at anyone…not God, Grandma, “L”, or even that I hadn’t made it there on time. I was just very angry. I felt a bit stupid, because I didn’t know why I was angry and knew that there honestly wasn’t anything to be angry about. My cousin “J” was riding with me to “L’s” house. I asked “J”, “So what is the next grief stage, because I am apparently going through them all now…” I knew that I would later be going through them again more thoroughly (at least once).

If you haven’t noticed, I am extremely in touch with my emotions. My first 27 years were packed full of many dysfunctional things. I have done a lot of “work” and even received a BA in Psychology (probably subconsciously to try to figure it all out). I also believe that everything happens for a reason….good or bad. If we do not learn something from it, then we have gone through it for nothing and I totally refuse to go through something negative without a gain of something positive. It sometimes is as common as my faith and reliance on God being strengthened, but that obviously is a great gain. I am not generally a very stubborn person, but I am in certain situations (mainly in the above scenario or if someone says that I cannot succeed at something).

To clarify: I do not believe that God causes anything bad to happen. Because of sin in the world, bad things happen. He does allow them to happen, but desires us to rely on Him during those times (and any time for that matter) and He carries us through the bad times if we let Him.

When we arrived at “L’s” house, I suddenly felt a bit unsure about seeing Grandma after she had passed away. A few days before, I had received a picture of Grandma via text message from Uncle “T”. She looked horrible….her face was sunken in and very pale, around her eyes were gray, and she was extremely skinny. That was part of why I felt the urge to hurry up and get there to see her. I honestly was quite afraid that if I saw her like that, it would affect how I saw her in my memories. When my mom passed away over 23 years ago, she didn’t look anything like herself. That has really messed me up. I found out that my sister deals with the same thing. Even after 23 years, it won’t go away completely.

“J” and I went into the room to see Grandma. I was surprised by what I saw. Grandma had a nice, natural look to her skin. She also had a beautiful, little smile on her face. Other than being much thinner, she looked just like she always has. We were crying, but also smiling and laughing. It felt extremely weird. It was totally different from what I was expecting.

“J” and I (and many others) went back in there a few times. Once when “J” and I went in, we stepped into the room a bit further and both kind of jumped. One of Grandma’s eyes were slightly open. We hadn’t noticed that before and it seemed like she had just opened her eyes…lol… I told “J” that Grandma was probably looking down at us from Heaven and saying, “You silly girls, stop your crying!”

“Buddy” had never seen someone who had passed away, so I was a bit concerned about how he would take it. When I took him into the room, he just looked at her lovingly as I reminded him that she was no longer in her body. She was already in Heaven. He actually was taking it a lot better than the rest of us. He thinks very “black and white”, so since she was now in Heaven, why would we be crying? Yet, another great lesson from my dear son.

Later, Buddy was playing outside with cousins and came across some pretty, opaque landscaping stones in “L’s” yard. He said that they were 100 carat diamonds. He went into Grandma’s room and literally followed what would have been Grandma’s eye-line and placed Grandma’s “diamond” where she could see it well. I then reminded him that she wasn’t in her body anymore and was in Heaven. He said, “I know!” and sent a big kiss up in the sky with a loving smile on his face. That both tugged at my heart and gave me peace at the same time. I felt sorry that Buddy was having to experience this, but so proud that he really gets IT!

Once the men came to get Grandma, I felt an extreme urge to get out of there! I kind of felt like I was being rude…not really taking any time to hug or say by to anyone. I felt a bit like I was going to “lose it” if I saw them taking her. I rushed Buddy out to the rental car and left. I almost instantly thought that I had left my cell phone there. I started to have an anxiety attack. (I hadn’t had one of those since sometime in the mid to late 1990’s.) I dug through about everything and then finally found it. All I could think about was that I could not go back there for my phone while they were still there. I believe that this stems from seeing the funeral guys shutting my mom’s casket after the funeral. That pretty much freaked me out. I knew that they were going to close it and all, but when they did it in front of us, it was just too much. When I have had any say in a funeral, I have gone so far as to make sure that they would not close the casket in front of family.

I then felt the need for chocolate! I had found out that there is now a Starbucks in Belton (my cousin “L’s'” house is in Belton and that is where I grew up). I hadn’t had anything to eat other than a “slim jim” since early that morning. I had made sure that Buddy got something, but I didn’t feel like I could eat anything. I had heard that someone had gone to get a stiff drink, so I said that frappuccino was my “stiff drink of choice”…lol… Chocolate always seems to help…. 🙂

When I tried to order through the drive-through, the order guy could not completely understand me, so I went up to the window. I was choked up and wasn’t talking very clearly. When I got up there, I told him what had happened. He looked at me in the eye and says, “I know how you are feeling. My Grandma passed away last week and I didn’t make it up there to Nebraska in time either.” I instantly felt a warmth and some peace. He also threw in a couple of small chocolate items, since I had said that I knew where to come and find chocolate. 🙂

Buddy then told me that I was talking funny. I said something about when I am crying, I can be hard to understand. He said, “No. You are talking in a funny accent.” I didn’t think that I did that anymore. For quite awhile after leaving the KC area, I still had a bit of what I would call a “hick accent”. I always talked a lot more like my Grandma than I did my Mom or Dad. I say “hick accent” with love and a bit of pride…lol… I know that it sounds funny (being proud of a “hick” background), but I am very proud of our family’s heritage. Anyway…I used to fall into the “accent” when I was emotional. I don’t know why. I didn’t think that it still happened. but evidently it does.

My Uncle “T” later told me about what happened that evening to him and his family. They were at KFC and he was in line to order. This mild and meek man in front of him told the cashier that he also was paying for him (my Uncle “T”). My uncle said something like oh no…don’t do that. Besides, there are a few more in the bathroom (there were five of them). The man insisted anyway. After that, my Uncle “T” told the man what had happened that day and the man just shook his head up and down as in understanding.

My cousin “M” had a similar experience. (This is the way I heard it from Uncle “T”, so hopefully I get it right.) This man comes up to “M” and says something like: your Grandma wants you to have this (about $20, I believe) to buy some diapers. (She didn’t even have any diapers in her hand as a clue or anything.) He then continued with something like: your Grandma’s cancer is gone and she is no longer in pain.

Another cousin (I’ll call her “M2”) had not been able to find her iPod (and she normally has it doing something all the time). After they got home from seeing Grandma, she suddenly found it on her dresser. M2 and her mom, Aunt “K” know that it was not there before.

Buddy and I were scheduled to fly out on Sunday, but the funeral was on Monday. When I was trying to get our flights changed, I was nervous about how it would go. I wasn’t in the mood to jump through hoops or deal with someone with bad customer service. Bad customer service is one of my biggest pet peeves. When I told the reservation man what had happened and what I wanted to do, he was very gentle and understanding. He then said that his Grandmother had died last week and that he was sorry that I was going through this. Before I knew it, he had it all changed and without any extra expense. I then felt an overwhelming feeling of peace and just started to cry.

The day of the funeral was really busy. We had the Visitation early in the morning, followed by the funeral, the service at the cemetery, and then a family meal. This was also the day that Buddy and I were flying back to Nevada.

I wasn’t sure how Buddy would deal with it all. SO…I promised him this one toy that he had been wanting for awhile. Yes, I bribed my child…lol… The deal was that if he was a “big boy” allday (through all of the services and the whole way home), I would buy it for him. It was
definitely worth it!

At first, Buddy really did not want to go to the funeral. I asked him, “why?” He then told me about a funeral on tv for someone whom was mistakenly thought to be dead. It was a real “woe-is-me” event. I told him that this funeral would be very different from that one…that our family does funerals right. 🙂 Sure, we would be crying, but we would be there to have a special church service all about Grandma and how she had gone to Heaven. That made him feel a bit better, but I think he was still unsure.

When we got to the church, there were several of my Grandma’s “crazy socks”. She was wearing one of her favorite pairs and we were going to, also. It was mostly us girl cousins that wore them. We were all nicely dressed…and then there were the socks…lol..

At first, I thought this was “really different…” But once I picked a pair and put them on, it felt totally right. Like it was the obvious thing to do. When I would tell some of the more distantly related family and friends why we were wearing them, many said, “I was wondering what that was all about.” We are definitely descendents of Grandma!

The funeral was filled with beautiful music, laughter, and tears. I honestly felt strange most of the time, because even though I was quite sad, I wasn’t anywhere near devastated – like I had expected. It was definitely a celebration of Grandma’s life.

Later, while Buddy and I were driving up to the airport, he said that he saw Grandma up in the clouds. (We often look at the clouds to see what shapes we can find.) I said, “She sure makes a pretty cloud, doesn’t she”. He said, “No. Not that kind of cloud, she is up there in a cloud. You can see her, because she is bright white and she has a halo.” I talked to him a bit about it and then realized that he wasn’t trying to imagine it or anything. That is what he saw! I called my Uncle “T” to tell him. I was hoping that they were still at the family meal and he could pass it on, but I think it was too late. I’m sure he has passed it on since, though.

I then realized that all of us had experienced these events in ways that would really get our personal attention. Uncle “T” likes to go out to eat and his was at KFC. For “M”, diapers are surely a big expense. “M2” is attached to her iPod. My experiences were both about customer service and others showing kindness. Like I stated previously, Buddy and I look at the clouds a lot. If these events had been mixed around or something, they may have not been so obvious to us. Pretty cool!

After Buddy and I were up in the air, he said that he saw Grandma again…like she was following us. I looked hard to see if I could see her, but I couldn’t. I have to admit that on our last flight home (see my other blog post for the details), I got rather concerned that the reason why he had seen her in the clouds was because she was going to be waiting for us “when” we crashed. I was trying to stay positive about us not crashing, but I couldn’t shake the thought that this was the reason for Buddy seeing her. It was an extremely weird feeling. It shook me up quite a bit that we may not make it (yes, the turbulence was that bad), but I also had a calmness that even if it did happen…it would all be ok. I was feeling worried about my “hubby” and my daughter “C”. Of course, it wouldn’t be ok to them, but you probably know what I mean. Like the words from my favorite hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”…. and… it IS well with my soul.


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