Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where is Heaven?

This song, by Janice Kapp Perry, makes me tear up EVERY time I hear it. It started working my tear ducts a few years ago after I found out that my grandpa had Lymphoma. I remember listening to that song, on repeat, for a couple of days after the news shook me. When he passed, two and a half years ago, I had to listen to that song for about a week, on repeat, to bring comfort and help me grieve.

Sean and I recently went on a hike (really just more like a walk through the woods) and the song that played in my mind over and over was this sweet song. Thankfully Sean hiked in front of me, and couldn't hear my sniffles and see the tears stream down my face. I kept having flashes come through my mind about the things I loved about our visits. I also was a bit emotional because I could still remember the sound of his voice as he would say "Hiya Rachel", and the smell of him as my face would get buried in his chest while his arms engulfed me in a big hug.

Today I found myself humming this song as I was laying down for a nap. The tears instantly came. I couldn't sleep. I don't know all of the words, probably just ten or so lines. I mostly know the tune and the chorus, but apparently that is all the permission my tears need to come spilling out.

In quiet moments
when I am all alone,
I close my eyes and try to see
my Heavenly home.
Where is Heaven? 
Is it very far? 
I would like to know if it's beyond the brightest star.
Where is Heaven?
Will you show the way?
I would like to learn and grow and go there someday.

I keep wishing I could call and tell him everything that has happened since he has been gone. Since I can't do that, I figured I'd write him a letter.

Dear Grandpa,

I thought you needed a family head count since February 2008. Since that February, our family has added a granddaughter-in-law (Brittany),  two grandsons-in-law (Andrew and Sean), a great granddaughter (Hailey), soon to be four great grandsons (Eli, Koby, Brandon, and name unknown), and an incubating great grandchild (name unknown). Soon you will have a total of eight great grandchildren-- I bet you never imagined so much growth in two and a half years!

I know that you always said that you wanted to see me get married. I remember when I first called you, after finding out that you were sick, crying with you as you told me that you wanted to hold on until you could see me sealed in the temple. Well, the day came.  On November 21, 2009 in the Draper, UT temple, I got to be sealed to Sean Quigley. It was a magical day, and I made the best decision I have ever made. I can't wait for you to meet him! We are expecting a baby (quick, huh?) on March 1, 2011, and as this baby turns and kicks inside me, I am comforted knowing that you get to spend time with this little spirit. If it is a boy, we hope to have his middle name be Gary-- but Sean is pretty set on it being a girl, so we may have to wait a bit. 

We are happy, healthy, and anxious for Sean to finish his last year in dental school. It took a little while, but I am adjusted and loving life in Pittsburgh. Hopefully we'll be out west next summer. Since that February, I put schooling on hold, finished two marathons, a half-marathon, and two Ragnar Relays. I teach the little squirmy, but cute, sunbeams. It has been a challenge, but is preparing me for what is to come (thankfully they won't come seven at once, knowing how to throw tantrums).

I miss you, and think of you often. I miss you waving at the end of the driveway each time we would come and visit. I wear your Anacortes sweatshirt to bed, and once I washed it I cried cause it didn't smell like you anymore. I can hear your voice still. Every time I take juice in the car I always think of your big cup of juice with ice that you would take with you when we'd go on rides. I remember sneaking sips of it. I remember sitting next to you in church and having your hand guide our little fingers into your pockets to find treats. I remember your love and your unfailing testimony. 

I remember you.

I love you,


Brittany said...

Rach, this made me tear up! I never got to meet Grandpa DeFreese so thanks for writing down what he was like. And thanks for including me in it. Love ya.

The Way I See It said...

This made me cry too. Very special. I love the picture. I wish we had one of our kids with Gpa. We do have some of the same wonderful memories you do though. I'll never forget when we went for a ride in our brand new car, and Gpa had his cup of orange juice with ice, and it spilled all over the new car carpet. He felt so bad. How could I be upset over that when he was so giving of his own material possessions and would say things like, "it's just a car", or "it's only money". He taught us what truly matters.

Bre And Drew said...

you made me cry too. :)

p.s. grandpa words can't describe how much I love and miss you too. I feel you watching over me sometimes, and I hope I'm making you proud. I miss your humming, and your wonderful laughs and hugs. You made each of us feel so special when we were with you.

I was thinking about him a lot yesterday. my uvu counselor reminds me of him so much! I have his grey moose sweatshirt and wore it every night for months after he passed. It makes me sad that my future kids won't get to be around him in this life, but thank you for reminding me that they will absolutely get to meet him in the next.

S.Ann said...

This was beautiful Rachel. It makes me want to sit down and write my Grandma and Aunt Nonie. These feelings that we have are why doing our family history and genealogy are so important. Every generation has people loved by someone. I have so many loved ones waiting for me, I get homesick just thinking about it. Love you & Sean & the babe, G'ma N.

The Dorny Family said...

Rachel, I'm just catching up on your blog, so I've read through a bunch of the pregnancy ones, now. I saw you and Sean at stake conference a few Saturdays ago and went home asking C.J. if you were pregnant because I thought I'd seen a tiny bump. I couldn't even tell for sure. Anyway, big or small, congratulations--you look great. I'm happy for you both.