Usually I absolutely love conference weekend. I love the changing weather, the chance to gather with family and especially the opportunity to listen to the church leaders talk and the peace and insight that brings. This weekend turned out much differently than I had anticipated.
We got a call Saturday morning about 9:00 from Bob's sister Sandra. She was so distraught and then gone that Bob had to call her back and find out what she had said. It was this "I just called an ambulance for Mom, you need to come right now." He was trying to hurry and get dressed when his sister-in-law called back to say that Bob's mom Arlene had died. Bob left as quickly as he could and left me and the kids home since we didn't quite know what to expect. He was able to get there and have a few minutes with his mother before the paramedics took her body away. He later told me that as he was sitting there, crying over her body he felt like he heard her say "Oh don't be silly!" which is something I can totally picture her saying to him. It made him laugh and helped him feel not quite so sad.
Anyway, after she was gone he called us and we went over and spent the rest of the day there. It was a very emotional, sad-but-strangely-happy day. Most of the time it was just the imediate family and it was neat to sit together and share that time. When it got too sad somebody would always pipe up with "Remember when..." and soon everyone would be laughing together and one story would lead to another and another. Listening to all the stories I have realized that even when I met Arlene 13 years or so ago, she had slowed down a lot (she would have been 88 this June) and that she has really lived a full and vibrant life. Bob is having a hard time with it, especially when we slow down enough to stop and think about it. Maddie and Jeni also go in spells where they cry and are really sad, then it passes and they are off and running with the other kids. Nathan doesn't understand what has happened but he can feel the emotion around him. He will come and climb up on my lap and be sad for a few minutes and after I hug and kiss him for a few minutes he is fine and off he goes too, chasing after his sisters. Grace has been amazing these last two days. She has been teething and going through a stranger-anxiety phase lately but she has been so cute, charming and unusually social. She crawls around and smiles at everybody and lets people pick her up without fussing. I can't help but think that Heavenly Father might be working though her a little bit because you can't look at a cute, happy, smiling baby and not feel just a little bit better.