The Trip Home
Written by
Hallie Sawyer
March 2011
Written by
Hallie Sawyer
March 2011

My eight-year-old son came up to me sobbing yesterday. Normally, this would be strange. However, a year ago, on this date, his grandmother, my mother-in-law, passed away. No words needed to be said. I understood.

He had been listening to his sister's mp3 player and heard the song called This is Home by Switchfoot. It was one of the songs on the DVD photo montage we put together for her funeral. That song mixed with the normally anticipated week of Spring Break sets us all on the precipice of a waterfall of tears.

A year ago, we were supposed to be heading to the Colorado Rockies with friends for a Spring Break ski trip.

A year ago, my youngest was going to spend the week with his grandparents while the rest of us were shushing down the mountain. He could have cared less that we were leaving him behind. He was going to Grandma's!

He adored her (and Grandpa) and she adored him. She baked him cookies, she took him to the zoo, she took him to church; it was a home away from home. Maybe even better than home. But that home is no longer and those trips to Grandma's will never be taken again.

My two oldest still went on that ski trip with our friends because we had to plan the funeral. Their trip home to Omaha was heartbreaking to watch, their faces crumpled. The reality hit them that they would never see her standing in the front glass door again, anticipating their arrival.

We brought our youngest back to Omaha with us after a quick trip home for fresh clothes (we had taken off with basically the clothes on our back and the basic toiletries). When he came, it wasn't the trip he expected. No coloring sessions, no zoo, no homemade cookies, no cinnamon toast for breakfast, and no Grandma hugs and kisses.

Grandpa's still there, the toys are still there, the books she bought for night-time stories are still there, the plethora of Disney movies are still there, yet, she is not. It changes everything.

When they hear those songs from her funeral, whenever we say the word Omaha, whenever they talk to Grandpa on the phone, when they watch movies they've seen at Grandma's, and when we go to church, their bottom lips quiver and the tears tremble, waiting for the slightest movement to make their way over the edge. All I can do is hold them and talk about our memories of her.

Grandma was a hug, a hearty laugh, an honest opinion, a lover of books, a friend to all, and a role model as a faithful servant of God.

My heart hurts for them. For all the trips home to Grandma's that will never happen.

But we have to remember that she is home. On this day, a year ago, she went home.

We love you, Grandma and miss you terribly.


Here's the song I mentioned. It's from the movie Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Let the words speak to you from the ones that have passed on in your lives.



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