“Goodbye! We love you! Come back and visit us soon!” yelled Grandpa with a wave as we pulled out of the driveway. As we traveled to our new home 850 miles away I told my husband how lucky I felt to have married into such great family of in-laws. I had only known Grandpa and Grandma for 5 years, but they treated me like I was always one of the grand-kids.
We thought it would be a very long time before we made another trip back to Utah, but were left with the sudden and unexpected passing of our dear Grandpa less than a month later. We were still in disbelief when the man from the mortuary announced that the casket would be closing soon. Trying to come to grips with reality, I said my final goodbye along with everyone else and gave my Mother-in-law a hug knowing that it wouldn’t really help much at this point. She was crying less than I was. Then it was time for the family prayer. As an emotional mess I wasn’t sure how to try to contain my 1 year old daughter who was extra squirmy, cranky, teething, and ready for a nap.
Just before the prayer started, I placed her on the floor next to my feet. I had my eyes on her when she crawled 2 seats over to our cousin that has down’s syndrome. He bent down and lifted her up. As I started to move over to get her I saw them look at each other and their expressions were ones of understanding. They sat, silent, unmoving for 30 seconds; my daughter was grasping onto his shirt and they were both calm.
Then a beautiful hug that lasted until the end of the prayer.
When everyone else’s eyes opened and movement began again in the room, the hug released and he put her back on the ground. No one else in the room, full of over 100 people, witnessed this moment. It made it very special to me and I was so grateful that I was able to catch it on my camera. It was really sweet and a treasured moment that I will never forget.
Author Note: We’re honored to say that this story won 2nd place in our Beautiful Moment Writing Contest. CC’s presentation of this story and the ability to push through and into our hearts (as I am sure it has touched yours) was very dear to us. Sometimes the hardest things in our lives contain glimpses of what is eternally precious and vivid.