Often, people can say that they shared the last few days of the lives of someone important to them. I have had this experience twice in my life but what makes this special time I spent with each of them so rare is that they had the best moments of their lives right before the end. I never knew how important those days would become to me once they were gone.
The first person was my grandmother. For several years, my mother was a single mom and my grandmother helped raise me. We were very close because of all the grandkids, I was the most like her. She helped pay for me to go to college and when it came time to graduate, my grandmother, even though she was 86 and could no longer walk, made it a point to attend my graduation. I was going to a private Christian college near Santa Cruz, Ca. My mother picked up my grandmother in May of 2001 and along with my dad and brother, they drove the four hours to come spend the weekend with me. We went to the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk and my grandmother was overwhelmed with joy because it brought back wonderful childhood memories. After a fun-filled day of eating taffy and looking at the sights, we went out to eat and she had her favorite meal, scallops. The next day, she attended my graduation and later in the evening, we took her home, tenderly tucked her into bed before she said a special prayer over our family. It was the last time anyone would ever see my grandmother alive. She passed away that night, peacefully, in her sleep. That was the most beautiful weekend of my life until recently.
Which brings me to the second person, my 9-month-old son, Dylan. We decided to go on family vacation in March of 2014. We hadn't been to Disneyland in a few years and thought our older daughters and our infant son could both enjoy going there. We also decided to include a day at the Zoo and SeaWorld. Dylan was all smiles, he loved the characters at Disneyland, especially Stitch who he giggled at and hugged unlike any child I have ever seen. He loved the tram ride around the zoo and cried out in surprise when the water splashed him at SeaWorld. I didn't know he would never get to go to those places again or that it would become the most precious week of my life. Two days after we returned home from our amazing trip, my son passed away from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Both deaths hit me hard in different ways and have left scars that will never go away. But those memories of that irreplaceable time with my loved ones, help me by reminding me that they were happy while they were here and I was blessed to be able to share their most special and last moments with them. It's a well of happiness I can draw from until I see them again in heaven.