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The Winds Will Blow; I Will Listen.

By Jennifer Whitcomb

I was a young-married with two toddler sons and we were on a two-year adventure on the pacific coast when my maternal grandfather died. I remember thinking about my Grampy in the evening of his life, the build-up of the tempest, far-away and non-threatening. His death became somehow anticlimactic because it happened 3,000 miles east of where we were. I knew we wouldn’t be pulling funds from our small budget to fly home for the services.

I silently mourned his passing, feeling remorse and regret at not being able to sit with him and tell him I loved him. I suffered silently, not wanting finances to produce clouds of guilt. I felt lost in the shadow of an event gone by—pushed back by the winds that mark the end of the storm.

For a long time I would think about my grief and his life; his sad longing to be more, to do more, to have more, and I wanted him to be happy about how it all worked out. My memory of the afternoon I went to feed him at the hospital months before we left stood out. It was my fault he didn’t eat that meal. I wanted to start with the good stuff. I put too much pudding on the spoon and it dribbled down his chin. His dignity dribbled down right behind it and he refused another bite. I felt sorry. The winds kept circling. I didn’t want that to be prominent or even in the library of memories he’d taken with him.

My admiration of his practical nature and frugality, the wonder I felt when he’d tell tales of his life before mine, the marvelous simplicity of his favorite foods, the quiet respect I held for a widower who lived four decades alone… all this and more I wanted him to understand. I longed for him to know just how wonderful I thought he was. Oh! To get that message through!

As a young mother raising a busy family I didn’t allow myself adequate chunks of time to sit still and ponder much of anything beyond diapers and meals and the quest for sleep. I can recall, however, many nights in bed, waiting to fall asleep, sort of semi-subconsciously sending messages of comfort heavenward, hoping he knew how much I missed him and how very deeply I admired the way he lived his life. Did he know? Could I blow the winds back?

Life got busier as we added a few more children and moved to accommodate our growing numbers. I know that my love for Grampy did not diminish, but the number of nights I would lay thinking about him did. There still existed a twinge of sadness when I thought about him, and not knowing if he was satisfied with the course his life had taken. Looking back, it’s easy to see why it took me so long to get an answer. In my waking hours, I dedicated no time to receiving one. I was too busy asking questions and living life. That’s why God waited until I was good and asleep to let me know He hears me.

A treasured gift in the form of a dream came to me close to the fifth anniversary of his passing. I was at a church service, outside in a beautiful spot on a hill. There was a gathering of people, many family members. I recall looking across an expanse of scenery waiting for something to happen when I was quietly surprised from behind by a warm, strong embrace. It was my grandfather. He came quietly, and only to me. Nobody else seemed to sense his presence, but I knew him. He was tall. He was muscle and sinew and those big hands that held me. He was happy. He smiled, and his teeth were beautiful. He was dressed in white. He did not speak, but the communication was crystal clear: I love you. I’m happy. It lasted such a brief minute but was so very tangible and real. I didn’t want to wake up, but when I did, the tears were as evident as his message to me. I knew. I know. More than a few years have come and gone since the dream, and the only thoughts of Grampy that fill my head now are happy ones. I know I have a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me enough to allow this tender mercy on my behalf. And I know that if I’ll slow down enough to listen, the winds will come softly, and there will be something to hear.

About Jennifer Whitcomb

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13 thoughts on “The Winds Will Blow; I Will Listen.”

  1. I never have heard this story from you Jenny. I too was far away and wasn't able to attend his services. Still makes me sad. BUT…I too know that he is happy and content. Thanks for sharing this.

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  2. I like your description of how your soul reached out in the night.

    I had a family member experience a similar dream. It amazes me to think that the other side is real and they really are there. Thanks.

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  3. Jen, that is beautiful. I read it over the phone to Mom and we're both sobbing. I never knew. I had one of those hospital experiences as well. I found out later he was angry I spent the whole day with him and would never go get something to eat. But he kept trying to write me a note, and it was just lines and scribbles. So frustrating. I asked Mom why we loved him so much. He wasn't warm or overly kind. She said it was because of his integrity. He was so honest. I think she's right.

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  4. That was beautiful and gave me chills as I read it. I had a similar experience when I had been married for a little while. We had one child but were now experiencing secondary infertility and one evening I was succombing to the despair and sorrow of a year of no answers. We were renting the basement of my Grandma's home. My Grandma had passed away when I was eight years old, and my Grandpa had long since remarried; he and his wife were on a mission at the time. As I sat in my room crying and then flopping onto the bed in exhaustion, I felt my Grandma's pressence so strong it is really inexplicable in words. I felt loved, supported, understood. It was almost if I could feel her hugging me. I still had no answers; no revelation– but I felt an incredible peace come over me. I knew no matter what was to happen, no matter what future babies I would or would not have, my Grandma mourned with me at this time in my life. It is truly one of the sweetest experiences of my life. Thanks for bringing it back into my mind.

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  5. I do think we can receive such "visits" both in dreams and in waking sensations. My sister was very worried about her soon-to-be-born grandchild due to an ultrasound that showed there were some major problems, and she was going through many sleepless nights worrying about both him and her daughter.

    One day my sister was reflecting quietly…and worrying…and praying, when she strongly felt (but did not see) this grandchild's spiritual presence in the room, reassuring her that, no matter what happened, things were and would be okay, that he did and always would belong to their family. She said her sense of him was of such goodness that she had to wonder if he would be long for this world, but she was comforted nonetheless and the sleepless nights ceased entirely.

    These incidents can be quite a blessing and comfort in our lives.

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  6. My grandmother passed away one autumn and I missed her soooo much. I loved her deeply and was with her when she passed away. We were spending Christmas with a lot of family and I was hurting with missing her and thinking how much she would have enjoyed seeing all of us together. That night I had a powerful dream of her in the hospital, writhing, struggling and gasping for air and then her sweet voice telling me not to wish her back. She was happy to be gone. I still miss her and am so grateful for her but from that night I no longer grieved for her. Once again, she had given me a precious gift.

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  7. Thanks for this beautiful post. I came home from bookgroup to find my husband mourning the recent (Sept) loss of his father as he went through a box of his things. He was "grampy" to our kids. So much of what you shared echoes the feelings in my heart for him.

    Thank you.

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