In Loving Memory of Gayle Annie

Last month our family suffered a terrible tragedy. My husband’s mother unexpectedly passed away at only 59 years of age & only 18 hours before she was alive, happy & healthy, and loving life.

Without a doubt, this was (and continues to be) a very difficult time for us all, not only because she was such an incredibly thoughtful, loving, and deeply faithful woman, but because of the sudden and fast pace it all went down. We had no time for goodbyes. No time to process what had happened. No time to do the stuff we had talked about doing in the future with her.

I remember the first time I told her I was pregnant and that she was going to be a grandma. I was extremely nervous, as it was the first time Aziz and I had announced it to anyone yet. But I think it might have been the happiest day of her life. She jumped across the dinner table and gave me a big, warm, grateful hug with tears in her eyes….She could barely contain her excitement and sheer happiness that night. Throughout my entire pregnancy she was a tremendous source of love and support, and I will forever remember how much that meant to me at such a vulnerable time and when I wasn’t receiving that love and support elsewhere. She was always there to help, always asking if I needed anything, to see how I was feeling, excitedly giving me little gifts for baby Lelya every time I saw her. But what I will remember most about her is the woman and grandmother she became when Lelya was born, and every day thereafter for the next short 9 months before she died. I believe she loved Lelya more than anything. She was there in the hospital the day she was born, she was there anytime I needed a hand, and she was always overly joyous to help and to spend any time she could with us. Anytime I went anywhere with her she would literally stop strangers to show them Lelya and just bask in the glory of being her proud grandmother. I will remember her always teaching Lelya new things. I will remember that she was the first to have her walking around in a walker when she gained head support. I will remember how she used to sit on her lap and play the piano with her. I will remember how every Sunday she had her she would bring her to church with her and she would accompany her to all her Sunday errands. I will remember how she would jump on every chance to change her dirty diaper. I will remember how she would sing to her and rock her to sleep in her arms. I will remember how when she kept her for a week after our wedding that we would call every night to check in and and she would be in her bed with her, snuggled up under the covers and watching movies with her.

This post simply cannot do enough justice in showing the love and generosity that filled her heart and that she showed us on a daily basis. I am sad that she only got 9 months to be a grandma. I am sad that Lelya will never know her grandma, or how much she loved her. I am sad that she only got a short 9 months with her.

Since her death, I now truly understand more than I ever have before that life is so unbelievably short and you really never know when it can be taken from you. She knew how to live, and her life will forever be an example to me as I continue to live the life I have and raise Lelya.

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