When life hits you out of nowhere it really makes you think. For some of us, this happens more frequent than others and in today’s world we just never know.

Recently one of the greatest woman I have ever had the pleasure to know went to her eternal resting place. My former mother-in-law was a woman of strength, obedience, love and shear kindness. Betsy was the definition of the “Best Grandma” and she is missed every second of the day.

This has been hard. My children and many in the family have relied on grandma for so much. She has been a constant in their lives from day one except for the day I was in labor with our first born, Kasadee. We wanted everyone in the room with us so Betsy, my mom and sister were sitting on the couch waiting for the pushing to start. Confident they could handle all the ugliness, yet beauty of childbirth, I remember the nurse asking if everyone was OK and telling the three to join my ex-husband, Chris, by the bed because it was time to push. Betsy had this look on her face and we knew there was no way she was going to get any closer then where she was on the couch. She shook her head and said, “I’m good right here. I can see everything I want to see just fine.” 

Maybe she’s been uncomfortable in some situations like birth or saying “I love you,” but she did all she ever could for her children and grandkids. Betsy would literally give you the shirt off her back regardless of the looks she would have gotten running around shirtless.

Betsy left a legacy of love. She taught me the importance of showing up and being present in the moment. Little did she know that the growth of our family since she was diagnosed with cancer has been immense. Sure, we have a ways to go, but we are growing because of the relationship with Christ that Betsy had.

More than a year has gone by since her son and I divorced. This has taken a toll on our children and it has been tough to get through. All the pain, the struggle, the great times, smiles and memories … each thing has all lead me and my family closer to the Lord and has made us all look at how we can improve ourselves. God has a plan — I wholeheartedly believe that despite how incredibly difficult it can be to trust that. Her faith, growing ours, helps us know that even in our sadness we’ll see grandma again one day.

One of the proudest moments in my life — and believe me I have had my fair share of prideful memories — was during Betsy’s funeral. My 8-year-old daughter took the stage and told everyone in attendance just who her grandma, Betsy, was. She told everyone some of her grandma’s favorite things and told two of her favorite memories she had of Betsy. My oldest daughter spoke as well; it was absolutely beautiful. She told of the time at the end of Betsy’s days where she was able to speak to grandma on the phone. She told her “tell Jesus ‘hi’ grandma” and the nurse holding the phone said Betsy opened her eyes wide and she could tell she knew it was Kasadee.

Betsy died at 73-years-old with several dance recitals, band concerts, weddings, sporting events and graduations of her grandchildren we hoped she could have been a part of. We are confident her memory will provide us comfort through these times ahead.

Something my pastor said to me a few years back, right after my ex-husband and I had a house fire, was this: “I wonder what God is preparing your family for in the future.” This has resounded with me in each trial I have faced.

I truly believe God has steadily been preparing our family for the loss of Betsy. Two years ago, I believe this would have been incredibly harder to get through. Not because the loss of her is less now, but because of how our faith has been shaken in the last two years. We have had no choice but to turn to God. We have had no choice but to dig deep and love each other. To forgive each other because we want to live a better life together. To look at our own faults, our own strengths and just do better each day. 

I leave you with this. Have faith like a child and don’t ever try to lessen someone else’s grief. My youngest daughter was in excruciating emotional pain when it was time to leave the grave site. She kept telling me, “I just don’t want to leave her.” Later that night, she asked me if we could go back to see where grandma’s grave is. Her and I got in the car and went. When we got there, she was happy to see the casket was now in the ground and the dirt was perfectly placed. She made sure we didn’t step anywhere we shouldn’t have and she went straight to the gravestone and put her hand on her heart. With tear-filled eyes she said, “Momma, why did grandma have to leave us?” Quickly I responded, “Grandma will never leave you because she lives in your heart and the best part for grandma is that she no longer has any pain.” Immediately my daughter’s demeanor changed and she said, “I know mommy, everyone keeps saying that. Daddy and Carrie said it 1,070 times and I don’t want to hear it again because it still sucks — I want her here.”

I was speechless because she admitted what I was feeling too. I thank God everyday that our children have faith and that they can express themselves in difficult times like these. God bless all of those missing this amazing woman. May you find comfort in whichever way you seem fit and remember everyone grieves differently.