• Jennie Denney

Remembering Two Lives Well Lived

Death is kind of a funny thing. No one likes to talk about it, yet it is one of those things in life in which no one can change.

For probably the last 10 years, we knew Morfar was going to pass away. We often snickered behind my parent's back, mocking their, "Make sure you swing by and say goodbye to Morfar! We don't know how much longer we have with him." I probably said my final goodbyes to him hundreds of times. It wasn't until three weeks after he was put on hospice that I came by the house and I knew he was in his final moments. I had never lost anyone so close to me before.


I can remember going out of the room that afternoon all teary-eyed and running into Mormor. I asked her if she was ok. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for her to see her husband of 62 years on his death bed. She was trying so hard to be strong, but at that moment, she broke. She cried, "I have my moments." I remember crying into her chest as she held me. It was such a surreal moment; this wonderful, strong, loving woman, comforting me as I cried over the very real dawning that my dear grandpa, her husband, was dying. I now wonder how often and how lonely those "moments" must have been for her.


That evening, my husband and I and our four kids went over to say our final goodbyes. I cried as each of my children kissed Morfar. I cried as Morfar looked into each one of their eyes, took a deep breath and said, "I love you." There was never a doubt in my mind of this man's love for his family. Hearing those final words to each one of my kids was a healing salve to my hurting heart.


Morfar and our daughter Kaitlyn had a really special bond. She was the one that would climb onto his lap and let him read to her. She was always the first one to run up to him and give him a hug. There were quite a handful of times during that evening he would look down at Kaitlyn and say, "Hello Kaitlyn." I can still hear him say those words.


Before we left, my husband turned around and gave Morfar a thumbs up. They smiled at each other as Morfar returned the thumbs up. It was their "see you on the other side" moment.


The next evening Morfar had stopped communicating entirely. He was sleeping all the time now. I decided I should go over there one last time. I'm glad I did. One of the most powerful moments of my life happened that evening. It would be my last memory of my grandma and grandpa alive together. Morfar was having a coughing attack. I realized Mormor was in the room with him by herself, so I went in there to see if I could help with anything. I peeked in the room and there was Mormor taking Morfar's face in her hands and lovingly pleading with him, "You can go home now. I will be ok. Go to Jesus. I will be ok."


I kissed his forehead before leaving and said, "I love you," for the last time.


The next morning was February 14th, 2014. Valentines Day. He passed from this life to the next and got to see his Savior and all the faithful who had walked before him. His passing was not a shock. We were expecting it. It was hard and sad, but we knew he was more alive than ever before.


Mormor made it two weeks and got through the funeral and burial. Then a few more days passed. She was home alone, walking outside to get the mail when she had a heart attack. She flagged down some neighbors that were walking by, then called the ambulance for help. She was rushed to the hospital where they opened up her clogged artery with a balloon.


As she was getting ready to be released to go to cardio rehab on March 10, 2014, she suddenly had a major stroke.


I made it to the hospital just in time to watch this beautiful, strong, loving woman pass away that same afternoon. I whispered to her, echoing her words to her, "It's ok, you can go now. Go to Jesus. We will be ok." We watched as her breathing shallowed and eventually her heart stopped beating.


It was extremely difficult to say goodbye to Morfar, but I was prepared. It was expected. I did not anticipate the agony my heart would feel to see Mormor on her death-bed. She was strong. She had more years left in her. She was not supposed to go yet. It's been 6 years since their passing and I still miss them.


Their love for the Lord and their love for each other was a testimony to everyone they came into contact with.


Each and every one of their kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids knew that they were dearly loved by Mormor and Morfar.


Each and every one of us knew that Mormor and Morfar prayed for us every day.


We knew that Mormor and Morfar were proud of us, not because of the things we had accomplished but because of who we were.


They saw us as blessings from God and treated us as such.


They were shoulders we cried on, listening ears when we needed one, they were prayer warriors and servant-hearted, they were teachers of art, sewing, rope knotting, jokes, songs, and history.


They are missed.


They left this world a better place.


They had no monetary inheritance to leave behind, but what they did leave behind was an imprint much greater and of much more value than money.


They left behind 3 generations of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; all of whom knew they were loved dearly, prayed for daily, and treasured immeasurably.

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