Today my darling Grandmother Hoopes would have turned 99.
She came to mind almost the moment I woke up - long before I realized it was her birthday. It comforts me greatly to know she's close to us. Her legacy is still vibrant and strong. It is also immortal.
Towards the end of her life, I drove frequently from Springville to the care center in Salt Lake City where Grandma Hoopes was living. I would shuffle my two boys (1 & 3yrs of age) into her room and then placate them with french fries and whatever toys were available while I tried to carve a few peaceful, uninterrupted moments with my Grandma. Those moments never lasted very long.
Grandma Hoopes was keenly aware of my struggles with infertility and how fervently Greg and I had prayed to have our babies. In my view, adopting our oldest was a one-time miracle and the conceiving of my 2nd was the icing on heaven's open windows. I didn't expect them to open again. In fact, I had reconciled myself completely to raising only 2 children.
Not so with my Grandma Hoopes.
She reminded me often, "A girl is coming, Rachael" and "You will have your daughter".
I didn't believe her. At all. I would smile and nod in agreement. But deep down I thought I knew better.
When the end was just months away and Grandma's mind began to slip, I couldn't risk waiting any longer to tell her the news I had purposefully kept back in fear I would lose the baby. I was miraculously pregnant again. And it was a girl!! I don't know if she understood my joy or the connection of her previous vision becoming a reality. By that time her lucid moments were few and far in between.
I wasn't there when she died. Our last telephone conversation happened on the front steps of my new house in Connecticut. She had sounded so clear, so aware again of her surroundings. I was 3 months away from giving birth and Grandma was concerned about my health and that Greg and the boys were happy in their new environment. I dreaded the realization that she wouldn't live long enough to see this baby girl she had divinely predicted.
I like to believe she and Pretty Girl crossed paths.
Grandma would have given her a marvelously big hug. She would have reaffirmed how much she was loved and told her, "You come right back when you're finished. Don't you dare forget." I can picture Pretty Girl's excitement mixed with my Grandmother's heartache at letting her go after such a quick reunion.
Families are forever. Grateful the Savior makes reunions possible. Separations are not permanent.