Grieving My Grandma’s Death While Abroad

No matter where you are or when it is, it’s the phone call that we all dread.

While I slept in a flat in Windsor with Johnny by my side, Johnny awoke looking for his pacifier and wanting milk. As I got up for milk I saw my phone lit up with text messages. I called my Mom who regretfully informed me that my Grandma was in the last moments of her life and that the family had gathered around her. At that moment, I felt heart broken to hear about my Grandma, anger that I was so far away, and disappointed that I wasn’t there. Since I am in England, it was three in the morning. When I hung up with my Mom, I rocked Johnny while my tears soaked his jammies. I prayed. I remembered the times my Grandma and I shared. And I prayed. Johnny quickly fell back to sleep as I tossed and turned, in and out of sleep. I suddenly awoke, looked over and sitting at the edge of the bed was my Grandma Amy. There was a light shining from behind her. I knew at that moment that she had passed. I rolled over and fell into a deep sleep.

Dealing with death is emotionally and mentally exhausting. My mind becomes foggy and my body becomes sore.

However, thanks to my faith, I know that my Grandma is so unbelievable happy right now! She is finally reunited with my Grandpa and her baby girl, my Aunt Elaine. Due to my mortal selfishness, I will miss her: I will miss watching her with my children, I will miss her telling me stories (and commenting on my current hairstyle and/or weight), and I will miss my Mom having her Mom.

Death is never easy, but it’s harder for me to handle being so far away. I just want to hug my Mom and I can’t, because I’m on a different continent. Thankfully, I have my amazing husband and my beautiful kiddos. I become engulfed in my Catholic guilt at moments like this, but as my brother reminds me, “You are present. When we gather as a family we know your spirit is with us.”

That’s the kicker about life: you can’t control everything. Life happens.

Her Memorial Mass will be held after we return home and I am forever grateful that I can attend with my family.

During my last visit with my Grandma several weeks ago she brought up my mission trip to Africa. She was excited for Scott and I to be traveling to Kenya with the kids. She felt that it was such an amazing opportunity and was proud that I would be providing dentistry. This mission trip is dedicated to her!

I will forever love you, Grandma Amy.

Rest In Peace, Amy Holland.

XoXo, Katie

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