Grandma’s Life Mission


(Based on an experience from the author’s family)
Death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator (2 Ne. 9:6).

Three days ago, Michelle’s grandma had died. Her parents explained to her that Grandma was in heaven now.

Michelle had never been to a funeral. She tried to sit quietly and listen to the speakers. Uncle Robert spoke first. He said that Grandma had finished her life mission. Michelle wondered what that meant.

After Grandma’s funeral, Grandpa invited everyone back to his home. Michelle liked going there. She especially liked the drawer in the hallway that held toys for the grandchildren. She had often played with the brightly colored blocks and puzzles. Her little brother, Joshua, who was 18 months old, preferred the trucks.

Sometimes Grandma had let Michelle play with the baskets she collected. Today Grandpa invited everyone to choose a basket as a memory of Grandma. Michelle picked a tiny one with a handle. She showed it to Mama, who held up a quilted basket of her own. She said it would remind her of how Grandma loved to quilt.

Tears gathered in Mama’s eyes, and Michelle wrapped her arms around Mama’s neck. “It’s all right. Grandma’s in heaven now,” she whispered.

Mama pulled her close and hugged her. “I know, sweetheart. I know.”

“I still feel sad,” Michelle said.

Mama stroked her hair. “We can’t help feeling sad, but we should be happy, too. After all, Grandma is with Heavenly Father and with family and friends who love her. We know that we’ll see her again someday. And because of Jesus Christ we’ll all be resurrected and live forever. I’m sure Grandma wants us to be happy about those things.”

Michelle felt better, but something about the funeral still puzzled her. “What did Uncle Robert mean when he said Grandma finished her life mission?” she asked. “Is that like when Cousin Steve finished his Church mission and came home?”

Mama took a long time answering. “In a way it is,” she said at last. “We are sent to earth to do certain things. Some of those things are different for each of us, but many are the same, like receiving a body. We should also learn about Jesus Christ, accept the gospel, be baptized, keep the commandments, repent of our sins, receive temple endowments, and start an eternal family.”

“Like when you and Dad got married?” Michelle liked to hear the story of how her parents had met in college.

Mama nodded. “Grandma and Grandpa were married in the temple, too.”

“What else did Grandma do on her mission?” Michelle asked.

“She served others. Remember how she was always knitting bandages and baby booties? Those were for Church Humanitarian Services to send to people all over the world. Grandma did a lot of things for others.”

“Like baby-sit me and Joshua sometimes.”

Mama wiped away a tear. “Your grandma has completed the mortal part of her life mission, but she’s not finished serving. She’s probably busy doing something to help someone else right now.”

Michelle smiled. “I’m going to help Joshua put the toys away and tell him that Grandma’s busy in heaven just like she was here.”

[Happiness and Peace]

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“I pray that we may do those things that are required for happiness and peace in this life, and for joy and eternal life in the world to come.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Joy and Mercy,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 75.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Jewel Hodson

Jane McBride Choate is a member of Big Thompson Ward, Loveland Colorado Stake.