Today is my mother-in-law’s 91st birthday. She is a remarkable woman who, with her husband Jack, raised 6 sons. Those sons and their spouses have blessed her with 16 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. It goes without saying that when her family is all together it is quite a full house! A house is no longer big enough to accommodate the entire family so we began celebrating special occasions in the family life center at church when most family members were expected to be present.

Most of the grandchildren called her “Grandmama” or “Grandma”.  One day out of the blue, our daughter called her “Grandma Jack”. Her husband was called “Papa Jack” so Jennifer thought her name should be “Grandma Jack”. From that day on, our children and some of the other grandchildren called her Grandma Jack. I really like that name. It suits her. Most of the grandchildren probably have very little memory of Papa Jack so in my mind, they are paying tribute to both grandparents by referring to her as Grandma Jack.

 I have thought about Grandma Jack most of the day and have thought about the origin of her name as given to her by Jennifer. I am happy that Grandma Jack is still with us; she is no longer able to live alone or care for herself but she remains an important part of the family as the matriarch.

My gratitude today for Grandma Jack was met with tears of sadness though because our daughter is no longer with us. Her home is in Heaven now and although I know that she is watching over all of us, today was a day of overwhelming sadness for me. Throughout the day the tears would just begin to flow and if I was not in my office, I would hurry back to my office so I wouldn’t upset the residents or staff. It was a challenge to wear my happy face today. I tried my best but I’m not sure how successful I was. Most days I am able to function fairly well but today was not one of those days. The emptiness that I felt was painful; every time my phone rang I would think it was Jennifer calling. There were times today that I started to call her but then I would remember…I have cried everyday since December 19th. Most of the tears come at nighttime when the house is quiet and I should be in bed. Sleep doesn’t come as easily as it used to and I doubt that will ever change.

There are no words to describe the pain and sadness that occurs with the death of a child. It is like a black hole, a big black hole. God knew that we couldn’t go through this alone so he gave us the most wonderful son. He is so intuitive and compassionate. He is the kind of son that many parents hope to have. I thank God everyday for him. God knew that we would not be able to go through each day without our son but he also knew that we needed our sweet daughter-in-law and our grandson. He also blessed us with an amazing son-in-law. I know that he is grieving as much as we are but he is so supportive and concerned about us. He is loved dearly by us and that will never ever change. We love you all so much.

i know that I have repeated myself because I have talked about our family in previous posts. I won’t apologize for being repetitious though. As deep as that black hole of sadness is, my love for my family is just as deep and I will not stop saying that.

As sad as I have been today, I thank God for Grandma Jack, aka Margaret, aka Mom. Without her that black hole of sadness would be even deeper and it is already too deep.

With that being said we are so grateful that once again we can say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRANDMA JACK, MOM, MARGARET. We love you.