On Waiting

I spend a lot of my time waiting. I wait for Laylee to go to the bathroom, for the water to boil, for the doctor to “see me now.” I wait.

My grandma spent 20 years waiting, waiting to die, waiting to be with her Joseph again. His name was constantly in her mind and on her lips. She sure loved and adored him. Especially in her later years of dementia, she called for him constantly and begged to go herself and be with him. She waited.

aunt jFor the past few days our family has been waiting. We’ve been waiting for our aunt and dear friend J to leave this world so we could all start waiting to see her again. As of a couple of hours ago, the waiting is over and now it begins again.

Her husband can wait to learn what “normal” is without her. Her children, including a son still in grade school, can wait for the urge to call out for their mother to subside. Her granddaughter doesn’t know she’s waiting yet. She will learn.

Now I wait for someone to find a cure for cancer. My mother-in-law refused to wait. From the minute Aunt J was diagnosed, Pam has been searching tirelessly for some little-know cure, calling specialists all over the country.

I wait for understanding. Every person I have loved who has been diagnosed with this disease has been taken by it. Every one was a wife, a mother and a much-needed friend. In a way I feel like I’m just waiting for the next person to go.

When I tried to explain death to Laylee, who is still waiting for me to stop crying, I told her that we knew Aunt J’s spirit had left her body but that she is with Heavenly Father now. She is no longer in pain and she is happy. I told her we were still sad because many of us on earth will miss her.

People always talk about the deceased person being happier where they are. I wonder, does their heart ache for their loved ones the way we ache for them?

Laylee asked if we could please please go see Heavenly Father too. She did specify that if she goes, she wants Dad, Mom and Magoo to go with her.

No waiting for any of us. It sounds like a plan.

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53 Responses to On Waiting

  1. bowersita says:

    I am sorry DYM and DYD. My grandpa waited twenty years to see his wife again. Abraham Lincoln said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” That doesn’t make it any less painful to lose someone, or the waiting any less hard, but from what you write, there was a lot of joy and a lot of living.

  2. Lauren says:

    Cancer is so sucky and I’m so sorry for your loss. My prayer is that the love of God and family will bring you solace in the days to come.

  3. I’m so sorry, Kathryn. My prayers are with your family.

  4. HangerMom says:

    I’m so sorry. I’ll keep your family in my prayers!

    One of my greatest fears in life is being left behind to wait. But I suppose that’s all part of living, and someday I’ll have to come to terms with it.

  5. elliespen says:

    My deepest love and sympathy goes out to you at this time.

    I am waiting to be able to introduce my husband to my grandmother. He was the first to join our (verrrrry large) extended family after she passed away from cancer. I have a feeling that the two of them would have gotten a kick out of each other.

    Big hugs and remember that someones in Utah are praying for you.

  6. Karen says:

    I am so sorry for this sad, senseless loss in your family. Lots of prayers heading your way.

  7. KatieButler says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending prayers.

  8. Heth says:

    I’m sorry Kathryn. This post was so sad and so beautiful all at once. Praying for your family.

  9. I send you a hug (((((Kathryn))))) and I send you the best rose I can….


  10. owlhaven says:

    So sorry to hear about your aunt. Hugs,

  11. sungoddess says:

    I lost my best friend to cancer about six years ago, so accept my sympathies.

    “People always talk about the deceased person being happier where they are. I wonder, does their heart ache for their loved ones the way we ache for them?”

    I don’t think they really leave. The don’t ache for us the same way, because they are watching over us. They ache for us, because we’re in pain and missing them… but they don’t grieve for us the same way. They just watch over us until it’s time for them to make another rounds in the world, and then they come back as our daughters, sons, nieces and nephews, grandsons and granddaughters… and then they’re back with us again. At least that’s what I believe…

    Blessings and Good Things.

  12. the voice says:

    My deepest condolences to your family and yourself. I lost my mother to cancer, and I understand what you are feeling. You will be in my prayers. Ken

  13. ABC Momma says:

    Your words are beautiful. So sorry.

  14. I’m so sorry. I love you, and I love Aunt J even though I don’t really know her. I am glad, though for your family that this part of waiting is over. My prayers are with you.

  15. Mel says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  16. Grammy says:

    It is early morning and I am sitting here crying over the computer, as I cried over the phone with you last night.

    Loving whole-heartedly can be so hard sometimes. I gives us the greatest joys and, at times like this, the deepest griefs of our lives. But loving is worth whatever price we pay for it and lasts forever!

    I thank the Lord that you have had a chance to know and love Aunt J. in this life and that your relationship will continue brighter than ever in the next.

    May God bless her on her journey. May He bless and comfort all of you who are grieving for her here.

  17. Lynn says:

    Beautiful post. I am so sorry, I’ll be praying for you and your family.

  18. Peter says:

    I am sorry for your loss.

  19. Stuntmother says:

    This is so sad — and though I feel new and awkward here, I am thinking of you. But you write about it so beautifully that even as I tear up, my heart lifts, part of the balance of life. My children too, have it planned, that we shall all die together. I know this gives them comfort and I am glad, but it also gives me comfort.

    I like to think that there is no waiting when we are outside time, that, like TS Eliot wrote, time past and times to come are all time present then.

    (I found you via the Silent K and the book blogging thing).

  20. Ashley says:

    i am sorry to read about your aunt. my grandfather was just diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia 2 weeks ago. now we wait for him to die and then we wait to see him again. the hardest part of it is that my daughter will not remember him.

  21. Gabriela says:

    I am sorry for your family’s loss. You will be in our prayers.

  22. Rachelle says:

    I am so sorry! I will pray for you and your family.

  23. Kathryn, I am so sorry for you and your family’s loss. I never understood why pastors and preachers said “they are happier now in heaven.” Does that mean that they are happier without us? I don’t think so… but I know that the suffering is no more and I know that’s what we all want for our loved ones… no more suffering. Your aunt and your family are in my prayers today…

  24. Queen Beth says:


    I am so sorry for your loss. Death is so hard to explain to little children Especially when it’s hard for us to keep the brave face on.

  25. kfk says:

    The waiting is awful. The unknown is awful. This loss is awful. My sympathies to you and your family. May your memories comfort you and may your “waiting period” be filled with more happy memories to get you by.

  26. wetNose says:

    I am very sorry to hear about your loss, you are in my thoughts.

  27. Carrie says:

    I am sorry to hear about your aunt’s death. Prayers are coming your way.

  28. I’m so sorry to hear about your Aunt. It’s so hard for me to deal with and understand, and everyone around me seems to understand and I know I am supposed to in the religion we share, but I don’t. I think that they miss us too and that they are right beside us everyday, and if we could, we would see and hear them too. I hope you have a lot of family there with you to share the grief with. It always seems to add comfort, somehow. If you don’t you have all of us thinking about you and offering our loving “blogging” arms out to you. Wishes of comfort to you…

  29. Heidi says:

    What a blessing for Aunt J to be released from her suffering. It’s difficult to be “left behind” with grief, and I’m sorry for your loss.

  30. misha says:

    what similar themes we are thinking of. pain and loss and the beauty in it all. i think waiting can be one of the most unbearable sufferings. i am so sorry for your pain.

  31. Linsey says:

    I m so sorry! Thoughts are with you. I know it doesnt make it less painful right now, but isn’t it such a blessing knowing that (after a wait) you will indeed see her again.

  32. paige says:

    My love and prayers go out to you and your family.

    I take comfort in the knowledge that yes, we will be with them again in Heaven.

    And I love the words from this Diamond Rio song, called “God only cries”.

    God only cries for the living
    ‘Cause it’s the living that are left to carry on
    An’ all the angels up in Heaven
    They’re not grieving because they’re gone
    There’s a smile on their faces
    ‘Cause they’re in a better place
    God only cries for the living
    ‘Cause it’s the living that are so far from home.

  33. Addie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! She sounded like such a great person to know.
    I’m offering prayers for your family.

  34. Amber says:

    I’m so sorry. Cancer is so horrible! My Dad died 6 weeks ago from brain cancer- but after watching him deteriorate and begging to go it was a relief. But we’re still sad. The saddest thing is that my kids won’t remember him the way that he is. My oldest will remember him as a sick and grumpy grandpa that couldn’t function. My younger girls won’t remember him at all.

    I think that as sad as we are to see them go there are people on the other side of the veil that are excited to see them come. It’s hard, but I found the viewing/funeral process to be incredibly healing. I hope you’re able to attend.

  35. Nettie says:

    I, too, am sorry you are experiencing this loss. I pray that you and your family receive the comfort you need.

  36. Papa says:

    And yet, while we wait, we also Hope… Not just wishing for the time to be shorter, or the pain to be lessened, but looking forward with anticipation to the reunion and all that we know as a result of what we’ve been taught about the Savior and his plan. As your uncle put it, “We grieve, but we [should] never despair.

    Love to you and Dan and all of his family.

  37. Leah says:

    How precious.
    As I was reading, I began to understand that the “waiting” in Heaven is no wait at all. I have to believe that though it seems like an eternity to us, it is only a split second for them. I have to believe it is sort of like visiting Narnia. You return home having missed not even a second.

    May God be with you during your heartache. I have been there recently myself.

  38. B.E.C.K. says:

    Sending you big hugs. I’m so sorry.

  39. kyouell says:

    My prayers and good thoughts are with you and your family.

    All but two of the people I have lost have been to cancer of one form or another. I couldn’t manage to get through a day if I didn’t feel that they were now pain-free, and also keeping tabs on how I am doing.

    My son has Down syndrome and when I found that means he has a greater risk of getting some cancers it really frightened me; he already has a heightened risk because of all the relatives that have had cancer. Two weeks ago he had surgery to repair a congenital heart defect. All the patients are given heart-shaped pillows that a nurse makes. The that was randomly chosen for my son had Snoopy’s Joe Cool fabric. My grandmother LOVED Snoopy, especially Joe Cool. It made it possible for me to be able to get sleep and not watch him breathe every second because that pillow helped me realize that his family is with us and watching over us.

    So, yes, I believe that those who have already passed are waiting for us. And I believe that when they can they send us messages of comfort. Kind of like a prayer, but going in the opposite direction.

  40. Alissa says:

    HUGS. My prayers are with your entire family. “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.”

    I hate waiting. I’m the most impatient person I know. And that’s saying something since I have a 4 year old.

  41. Chilihead2 says:

    I’m so sorry Kathryn. Really, just so sorry,.

  42. Aunt Murry says:

    Oh, I’m sorry for your loss. I have been asking that questin since my friend passed away a couple of years ago. DOes he ache for me like I do him?

  43. Jessica says:

    I think the people who pass on must ache for their loved ones. My father passed away six years ago and if he doesn’t ache at our sorrows and griefs and tears and doesn’t rejoice in our triumphs, then he is not the Dad I knew. But there are moments when the veil is very thin and I am confident he is still very involved in our lives – still cheering us along, still bouying us up, still sharing in our moments.

    As for your and your family’s grief and pain, I can only say that I am truly sorry.

  44. Adam and Lisa says:

    we love you too. Beautifull post.

  45. My heart goes out to your family. I have never been ne tou pray much, but i will pray for yor family. I know the pain of loss. (((HUGS)))

    Just a note:
    As I am typing this I notice that the Word Verification is – lmdoghug. Very nice I think. Dogs are great for hugs when you are hurting.

  46. RGLHM says:

    I’m so sorry Kathryn. I’ve just been thinking lately of how it feels like we’re just waiting for the next person to be diagnosed. Crazy. Bad part about wonderful relationships is the heartache that comes when they leave. Who knew the heart could ache so much. Take care.

  47. Heather says:

    I’m so, so, so sorry. It’s so hard to lose loved ones, even when we know without a doubt that we’ll see them again. It still hurts, like you said, to wait.

    You’ll all be in my prayers. I hope you’ll be able to find a measure of peace.

  48. T says:

    A couple years ago my younger cousin was killed in a car accident and I was asked to speak at her funeral. I spent most of my comments talking about just what you told Laylee, and it’s true and it gives us comfort and peace, even as we wait. At her funeral, however, I was most touched by the prayer at the end of the service, in which my Uncle asked Heavenly Father to please comfort Camille (my cousin) as she was missing all the people who loved her that she had so suddenly left behind. I had never really thought of that, but I really know that our family relationships aren’t for nothing and the feelings we have for those closest to us really do go on, no matter which side we’re waiting on. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  49. Cmommy says:

    {{HUGS}} & prayers, love, C

  50. BigSister says:

    I’m very sorry to learn about your loss. I have felt my grandmother and grandfather’s presence. I know that they were able to attend the temple when Dave, AK and I were sealed in December. There is no doubt in my mind that although they are not physically here, their spirit is.

    May your family be blessed and remember the good moments. Aunt J is there with you, loving you every minute.


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