A Legacy Of Love

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen38 Comments

Sometimes as a blogger there are stories you don’t intend to share when you sit down to write, but try as you might one story or theme can take precedence in a post, almost unintentionally.  This is one of those posts. I sat down to write about my experience as a sandwich generation and share some tips for caring for elderly parents and children all at the same time. That post was just not happening, but as I began to write what was in my heart a story quickly emerged. Perhaps I am writing this post for an audience of one, myself and that is perfectly fine.

The story in my heart begins 9 years ago after I had given birth to our son Caleb, my husband who has always been very intuitive, came home from work one day and said he felt like we needed to move back to where my parents and many of our family members lived. At this time we were living in Montana about as far north as you can get in the States away from where he proposed we moved to. Although I missed living close to my family over the years I had grown used to a life lived separately from all of them.

After Jensguy’s declaration of intent there was much prayer and discussion that took place. We had no job in the works with this move, but both of us felt that moving was the right thing to do. So we made a plan, packed up our newborn and toddler and moved. Our leap of faith taken almost a decade ago has been rewarded several times over and although it has been difficult I see such value in the service and good that has come from our years back in the city I grew up in. We may not stay here forever, but for now it has been the right thing.

About a year after we moved here my grandmother passed away one week prior to her 100th birthday. She was an amazing real life pioneer woman who rode a buggy to school everyday, survived the depression and also sent her husband and son off to fight in World Wars.  I look like her and have her strength and tenacity.  I feel like we are kindred spirits just years apart. After she died I had a dream about her, we were sitting on the shore of a beautiful lake and holding our fishing poles. We weren’t talking, but it was so peaceful I knew it was her way of telling me she was fine and that someday we would fish together again.

Eula Gale Elledge

Just a few years later my sweet Abuelita (grandmother) also passed. She too was an amazing woman. Mexican born and raised, but she came here to America and created an incredible legacy for her descendants. She could sing like an angel and could whoop and holler while doing it with such finesse. Her life was hard, but her soul was kind. Never did she look at another person in need and turn her back. My cousin and I were once talking and she shared with me a dream she had where she and Abuelita were just cruising together so comfortably in a car down a beautiful stretch of highway. My cousin’s feet were on the dashboard and the wind was blowing through both of their hair. My cousin said she felt so close to Abuelita and she knew that this was a special message from grandma letting her know she was at peace. I believe her.

Maria Chavez Valencia

I miss both of these incredible women, but their legacy as well as the sacrifices they made for each of their families are remembered and cherished still today.

My husband’s mother also passed in the first years after our move. As you have gotten to know him here through the blog you can see what a great man he is due in large part to lessons learned by a great mother. He has shared stories before about his kind, intelligent and caring mother who’s heart cared so deeply and gave so much right up until the moment it finally stopped working.

Merlene Jensen

Then three years ago my Father passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. He was an amazing man, who’s quiet and gentle strength was an inspiration to so very many people.

My daughter Samantha had been taking a sculpting class before he died and made him a statue. She was never able to give it to him, but I love how he is holding each child. We hadn’t yet had our little Anneliese, but Samantha who is also very intuitive had added an extra baby.

I don’t share all of this with you as a travelogue meant to make you feel sorry for me or my family, because we certainly don’t feel sorry for ourselves. I KNOW that the legacy of our loved ones still lives on today.

Am I deluded or crazy? Just how exactly do I know this you may ask? Let me tell you.

I see my husband’s mother in my son’s twinkling eyes that look just like her. I see my grandmother in the strength my oldest daughter exhibits as she seeks to find her way in life. I see the fiery determination in my young toddler that I know would make her grandmothers very proud. I watch my son develop an avid zeal for learning and I am reminded of family dinners where my Father would regal and entertain us all with incredible stories and facts.  Everyday I am reminded in a very real way that although lost for a time, those I loved are still very much alive in the memories and actions of those left behind. Truly, with such a wonderful circle of love surrounding me how can my family feel anything but blessed for having loved all of these great people!

This week my 6 year old Rebekah came downstairs shortly after I had put her to bed. She said that she had been worrying about things, she has a very big heart just like her grandma. She told me that as she was laying there and worrying she felt like a warm blanket wrapped around her and hugged her. She told me she just knew it was grandpa. I hugged her and relished in her sweet and pure innocence for a moment and took her back to bed.

The next night my son was showering and started yelling that we all had to run into the bathroom RIGHT AWAY! I ran thinking that I was going to find a calamity of epic proportions. When I walked into the bathroom he pointed at the mirror where a smiley face had been drawn into the window and was visible due to the steam. My little Rebekah started jumping up and down and shouting, ” See I told you grandpa was here with us!”

Stay Happy! Stay Informed!




  1. I totally believe this and have a few of my own stories with my grandparents after they passed. I never would have believed it myself had I not experienced it, but still I had them, so I can tell you that yes I think when loved ones want to make some sort of connection from beyond they will.
    Janine Huldie recently posted…The Road to Hell Is Paved With Donuts!My Profile

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      I am so glad you have had experiences too! Our loved ones really do find ways to communicate with us. We have had other special experiences in our family as well to reinforce that the connection isn’t broken even after they die.
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

  2. I love this! So many tender mercies are evident in this post. Two years ago I lost three of my grandparents within four months of each other. My last living grandfather passes away a few months ago. And although I miss them, there’s just so much that they have passed on to their grandchildren, that sometimes its like they’re still here with us. Families are forever! Thanks for this post, Jen. I’m glad these words tumbled out, even when you didn’t intend them to.
    Leilani recently posted…How to take and edit sunset pictures like a pro, when you’re not a proMy Profile

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      Wow, that must have been tough losing them all that close together. I remember when my last grandparent died and feeling sad that a connection with that generation was gone from this earth. Luckily, we know that Families are Forever! That makes life so much easier.
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

  3. Okay, I might be drying my eyes right now. My husband is staring at me and you can tell he’s trying to decide whether or not to ask – it’s adorable.

    Your losses are powerful, but as you mentioned the lasting legacy of your loved ones is more so.

    PS – you made me call my parents. :)
    Sarah Nenni Daher recently posted…Decorated Mermaid CookiesMy Profile

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      Oh I didn’t mean to make you cry :) What a cute moment between you and your husband though!

      I’m glad you called your parents, things can change in a blink of an eye. I have found it’s always good to reach out to those we love as often as we can.
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

  4. The women in your family, both sides, sound incredible. Their stories of struggle and triumph are what the best and most fulfilling life stories are made of. And dang!! Grandpa has a sense of humor!! Lol I loved this blog post
    Rebecca recently posted…Breaking My BackMy Profile

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      He really did have a sense of humor and was such a prankster, That’s why Rebekah just new that the smiley face had all of the markings for a special love note from Grandpa!
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

  5. Jen,

    What a beautiful post. Isn’t it great to have a blog when you want to just pour your heart out? I am a big believe in forever families (of course) and it’s clear that your belief in the same has been able to get you through some really tough stuff.

    Taking those leaps of faith has always been a blessing for our family. It’s fun to look back and see the Lord’s hand in our lives. Thanks for sharing!

    Brittany Bullen recently posted…The Crazy-Simple Secrets to My Life’s Biggest SuccessesMy Profile

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      Thanks Brittany! It really is amazing what the Lord can do with us if we just trust him. It shouldn’t be amazing, but so much more is possible if we actually practice faith.
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

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      That is hard. My little Anneliese never knew her Grandpa here on earth and I really wish I could have pictures and memories of the two of them. I too am utilizing my memories and lessons my Father and the rest of these loved ones taught me to taught to pass onto her and the rest of my children.
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

  6. There is definitely a legacy that lives on after our loved ones pass.

    My grandmother was full of the love for God. She would serve her family, bake, and would frequently sing hymns (her favourite being this little light of mine). My youngest daughter met my grandma twice. My grandmother was very ill, could not speak other than say hi.

    The evening that my grandma died, my youngest daughter presented a board book to me (one that had been missing for at least six months… “This Little Light of Mine.” I cried as I read it to her… and to this day it’s her favourite song (with Let it Go being a close second).

    I see so many characteristics of my youngest that I can trace to my grandmother. God’s craftsmanship is meticulous and I thank Him for these little reminders of a woman who I loved beyond measure.

    Thanks for sharing. You have blessed me with fond memories and thoughts of my own this morning.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Play DatingMy Profile

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      How sweet Jennifer. God’s craftsmanship is indeed meticulous.

      Your Grandma knew you would need some extra love and she found a way to reach out to you.
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

  7. I too have lost my grandparents and they too were great people. It’s hard not to miss them but I know I am who I am partly because of them. My older two were able to meet only my dad’s mom and dad as my papaw passed when I was 6 and my granny when I was a teen. I also had an aunt to pass before my kids were born. My son told us one day that he had a guardian angel and her name was Sara.
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      How lovely, I believe your son. Children have such sweet and innocent spirits that are so much more able to pick up on those things we as adults ignore. I know that my life has been made better because of heavenly divine intervention.
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

  8. Wow! It sounds like the move was a gift from God :). So many special moments here- the extra baby in your daughter’s creation, the smiley face in the mirror… Love the pictures! Your precious daughter looks like she is going to explode with joy in the first one.
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      Thanks Candace, I love that picture! She was such a cutie and still is even at 13. My 6 year old smiles like that now. It helps me to remember how my oldest looked when she was little, because when you look at pictures like that you realize just how fast it all zoomed by!
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

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      Oh shucks, thanks Ashley and sorry I made you cry. Hopefully your keyboard didn’t receive irreparable damage :)

      I’m gearing myself up to take that 80’s trivia test, wish me luck!
      Jen recently posted…A Legacy Of LoveMy Profile

  9. What beautiful stories about love and legacy.
    This inspires me to tell my own stories about my grandparents. There’s a special double rainbow story that I may weave into a blog post. So thanks for that!
    Tamara recently posted…My Happy Place.My Profile

  10. What a legacy your ancestors left, Jen! I wish I knew more about my grandma who passed away only months before I was born. My dad never talks about her, but luckily some of my aunts put together a very thick book about my grandparents and their ancestors so I can read it. It’s crazy how close those who have passed on really are to us!
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  11. What a lovely post. It is funny how we can sit down with one post in mind that we think will work well, but only for another unplanned great post to emerge from our minds.

    I love the fact that you write warmly about your family. I am sure that when our loved ones die they are never too far away from us, it maybe difficult to prove for sure, but look the things children pick up on. Your daughter, Rebekah feeling like she was snuggled in a blanket as she lay there worrying; it is nice to believe that it was a Grandma reaching out to her, to comfort her.

    I am sorry that you lost your Dad unexpectedly, it serves as a reminder to us all that our older relations won’t be here for ever and we must make time for them. The photos in the video are just beautiful, your Dad looks like a proud and upstanding man…I am a little envious as your family photographs so much better than ours…What’s the secret?

    Thank you for sharing this post with us, I think it touched far more than an audience of one! Have a little faith!…Family for always and forever!
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      Thanks Debbie! It’s true our older relations won’t be here for ever and we must make time for them. I am still caring for my Mother now and I know that there will come a time I can’t sit and hug her, so I do it a lot now.

      These photos are from multiple sources, so maybe that’s the secret?
      Jen recently posted…Mommy Reality #19: Before Mommy Was MommyMy Profile

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  13. Hi Jen,

    I believe you definitely reached more than an audience of one. I was teary eyed reading your post. A few years ago I lost my beloved Grandpa and did not take it well at all. He was my biggest fan and he believed in me, my dreams, and my writing more than anyone else. I am thankful he was alive while I was still a newspaper reporter because he loved receiving each weekly addition in the mail with my articles in it.

    My grandfather lives on in my husband Kenny and I truly believe he brought him to me. They have the same exact laugh, funny/silly personality, and ways of mispronouncing words. My sister and mother have even commented on how much he reminds them of Grandpa. My father laughed when we told him all the above and once he paid closer attention he also noticed the similarities.

    I lost one of my sisters and have not been the same since. I honestly believe I have sensed both her and my grandfather near me on several occasions. My sisters name is Vanessa which means butterfly, or so my parents have said. I have always loved butterflies because of her and whenever I am having a bad day a butterfly flies right in front of me and I just know it is her telling me everything is going to be okay.

    Thank you so very much for sharing the beautiful stories of your family members. They sound like they were truly amazing people and I am glad you also see them still living all around you. btw…the smiley face gave me goosebumps as I would have probably fainted if I were to see that. Your son must have been pretty creeped out but I love your daughter’s optimism in believeing it was your Dad. They say children are able to sense those things so she is probably right about him hugging her while she was worried and drawing the smiley face.

    Hope you enjoy your day!
    Lysa @ Welcome To My Circus recently posted…A Tribute to My Sister, Melissa, For Her 40th BirthdayMy Profile

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      How lovely Lysa healing does take time, but I truly feel like our loved are still a part of our lives even after they depart this earth. I too have felt the love and guiding influence of my family members when I most needed it.

      I love how your Dad thought what you saw was silly until he saw it himself! Too sweet!
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  14. What a beautiful post! Isn’t it amazing the messages we get from loved ones who have passed, and many experts say that young children are much more intuitive to these occurrences, since they have such pure hearts and minds. Thanks for sharing this week at the #SHINEbloghop and I loved that tweet embedded in the post… I retweeted :)
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