I was walking along the river, in the forest, surrounded by pristine mountain peaks. It was dusk; I had just gotten off of the phone with my Grandmother, and I knew.
It was one of those evenings when everything aligned: the surrounding beauty, the stillness, the walk, the conversation – this visceral feeling came to me in a flood of truth.
It was undeniable. I just knew that both of my Grandparents would be passing away within the next two years.
I walked for a while. I felt still as the mountain, flowing as the river and rooted as the trees. It was all too clear – that the elements, that Great Mother, was holding me with her beauty, providing solace for me, as I felt into what life might be like with my Paternal Grandparents physically gone.
I had not seen them for two years. And that was ages too long.
My husband and I made a surprise visit to Rock Springs, Wyoming – to the home of my birth. When we walked through the door, my Grandma exclaimed “Meg!” and just started crying. My Grandpa said “Meghan? No, it can’t be. Oh, but it really is!” and then squeezed me in a tight hug.
That was the last time that I stepped foot in my first home. It felt like I was saying good-bye. I did not know exactly why. No diagnoses had been made, no sudden change in their health, but I knew.
Several months later, my Grandma’s health took a turn. I received a message from my cousin telling me that I better make a trip home. She said that she had a bad feeling about things that Grandma’s time was coming.
I felt sick to my stomach, nauseous – my entire body started shaking.
I remember my last day with her. I had so many things that I wanted to say, but I couldn’t. It’s like I just wanted to soak in her presence. Something was so strange in the air. I just felt death in the room. And I don’t mean in a morbid way. I could feel the thinning of the veils between this world to the next. I could feel that my Grandma had started to pass over. There was such peace in the room, a depth of stillness.
And I said, “Grams, I just wish that you weren’t in pain.” And she said, with such sweetness, “you know the strange thing is, Megs, that I’m not.” I sat on the floor, cuddled up to her legs.
I remember, in that last call that she could barely speak. All of those things that I had wanted to say, I said. And I could tell that she was receiving them. At the end, she managed to mutter out, amidst groans of pain, “Meghan, I love you so much.”
A few days later, I received a call from my Dad in the morning. When he said “last night Grams passed away” it felt like part of my heart ripped. There was this immediate pit in my stomach, a void – to be filled with nausea; I felt that part of me was gone. I had never felt this before.
I conducted a personal ceremony in her honor. I went outside to gather flowers in her tribute. I felt this calling to turn around, and I felt my Grandmother’s presence. She guided me to pick a Daisy. Later my cousin told me that Daisy was her favorite flower.
When I spoke with my Gramps on the phone, it was the first time that I had ever heard him sob. My Gramps was a jokester, yet he always spoke his heart, with truth, and this time, it was so sweet. With so much feeling and sorrow, he told my husband and me how much he loved us and just how proud of us that he really was.
Not even a year after my Grams passed, I received the call that my Grandpa had a terminal diagnosis. There is something so strange about saying good-bye for the last time.
I could feel how much my Gramps missed his life-mate. I could feel how tired of fighting he was, how ready to be at peace he was.
His dying wish was to go to the Grand Canyon. And to the Grand Canyon he went. “The three amigos,” as he said: my Dad, my Uncle and my Gramps.
I never knew how badly I needed to be with my family, how much more I needed to grieve, until I was at his Celebration of Life. Being able to speak about his passing, to remember all of those moments that I had forgotten, and to learn things about him that I never knew was soul-nourishing for me.
I realized that I had never even seen a photo of his parents. And that really struck me. I had so many unanswered questions that I never knew that I even had. It helped me to wake up a little, to remember that my loved ones will not always be here, to remember that I can get lost in my own world, so I must remember to be grateful for the time that I am gifted, to be present with them, and to reach out.
It all came full loop. We spread their ashes at my Aunt and Uncle’s Ranch, the land where my Grams grew up. We built a rock memorial in their honor, and then went to their grave.
When my Grandparents passed, something became ever clear to me - that we are linked in consciousness. Something binds us together like a thread going through our lineage, weaving together a tapestry of our Lockhart family. The thread of my Grandparents was the centerpiece.
In their absence, it felt like something fell away. It’s like the threads of the weave became loose. As a family, we have been figuring out how to weave those threads back together, in a new design. Their threads may be invisible now, as they live within each one of us.
What feels important though is that we figure out how to keep the weave tight, as they did – to keep our family knit together, for the family that they left behind is their legacy, and their final gift to us.
May Alice Lorraine and Bruce King Lockhart rest in peace.
Many blessings to my family and to all who miss these two souls so much.