For my article this month, I decided that I would interview one of my close friends, Abby Caldwell. She had a recent experience with the death of her grandpa. I believe anyone who’s experienced a close loss can relate to Abby’s story and also find helpful advice while reading.
Tell us a little about yourself:
Hi, my name is Abby Caldwell. I am 17 years old and I play lacrosse for Skyline High School. I enjoy drawing and have been a member of the church for my whole life. I love my family and I love to hang out with them. My extended family is also a big part of my life. I love going on trips with them and I also love going to my grandma’s house for Sunday dinner.
Tell us about your bond with your grandpa:
I have a very special bond with my grandpa compared to the other grandchildren in my family. I was always his little motorcycle buddy. He would go on motorcycle trips and I would go with him. We went on a motorcycle ride together when I was in 6th grade. We rode over 1,000 miles. After that, I was always asking him to go on rides and he’d take me to the zoo. At the zoo we would buy matching sweatshirts that we would wear. I remember when we went on those rides we would wear the matching sweatshirts. Everyone who saw us riding around thought we were pretty awesome with our sweatshirts. We were also born on the same day, so we were birthday buddies. We would always celebrate together and it was a lot of fun. I took a lot of pride being born on the same day as him and being able to share that together. He was one of the greatest examples in my life of how to live your life and a good demonstrator of showing what is actually important in life. He cared about his family more than anything. He was always one to radiate the gospel and such a happy person. Overall my grandpa was a great person to be around. No one could ever be mad at him, he was basically a big teddy bear always ready to give anyone a hug. I looked up to him more than anyone and I feel like he was more than my grandpa, he was like my second dad.
Tell us about how he passed away:
10 days before our birthday, he working in Idaho and we don’t know where he was going, but he was driving and took a left turn and was hit by a semi truck. It took multiple hours to get the semi truck off of his car and to identify him. He was killed instantly.
Tell us about what happened after he passed:
I remember hearing my parents talking in the kitchen really early in the morning, maybe around 3 am. I went to the kitchen and asking them what happened because I heard them talking about an accident. And my dad told me that my grandpa was killed in a car accident. I remember feeling shocked. I didn’t believe what I heard. I had just seen him a few days before. I remember giving him a hug and having family dinner and everyone getting ready for Christmas. I ran into my room after hearing the news, got on my knees, and started to pray. I remember pouring my heart out to God and telling him to tell my grandpa everything that I wanted to tell him. I knew that I couldn’t blame Heavenly Father for what had happened. I kept thinking about having to go back to school and having to tell my siblings about what happened. I kept thinking about my grandma and what she was feeling and how she was doing. I started writing in my journal so I would be able to write my experience down to remember everything that happened. It helped me calm down after writing and I eventually was able to fall asleep. When I woke up, I remember hearing a lot of people crying and I ran downstairs to see how my brother was doing. All of us were really upset about what happened and we went to visit my grandma to see how she was doing.
Tell us about the trials that happened after he died:
After he died, I had a very hard time being truly happy. I would go to school and put on a face for everyone so no one would see what I was going through. When I’d get home I would be very sad and for a few weeks would cry non-stop. I knew that Heavenly Father could take away my pain right then, but I told Him that I wanted to feel something and grieve. It was really hard for me to talk to people about what had happened and what I felt because no one could comprehend the pain I was feeling. The funeral was also very hard to deal with because it was on our birthday and Christmas was a week away. It was really hard for my family at this time to lose him so suddenly. I wouldn’t accept that he was gone and kept thinking that he would show up at any time. I remember going through all these things after the funeral and a few days after the funeral. Seeing all our matching sweatshirts and going over all our memories, seeing all the pain from everyone over losing him was really hard. I didn’t really want to be happy after this happened. When I was with my grandpa I was truly happy and I didn’t think I could be happy without him.
Tell us how to tried to cope:
The way I got through this situation was turning to Heavenly Father and having him help me get through it. I also found some quotes that helped me get through the death as well. Earlier I had tried to keep it all inside and not think about the situation but it just made it worse, which then made me lose it on some days and made it even worse on that day. But when I turned to my Heavenly Father to help me feel the spirit and know that everything would be ok I was able to feel peace and know that I would be able to see him again.
Tell us about your spiritual experience with this situation:
Overall I had a lot of spiritual experiences dealing with losing him, but there was one that stuck out to me the most. I remember one night I was writing in my journal about missing him and all of a sudden I felt this incredible amount of peace that I hadn’t felt since he died. I think I had finally realized that I will be able to get through this and that I will be happy again. Kind of a realization that I could feel happy without my grandpa but that I would always love him and he’d always love me.
Tell us what you learned:
I realized to trust in Heavenly Father more than anyone else. He understands what you’re going through and will help you more than anyone else possibly could. He knows us better than we know ourselves. I have grown to love my Heavenly Father more than I ever have. He has never left my side and I have felt Him there every second, no matter how I was feeling. I know without a doubt that our Heavenly Father will never leave us alone to go through our trials. He gives us certain trials so we can learn things that we couldn’t any other way. We may never understand why we had to go through a certain trial, but in the long run we will be able to come out as better people who have learned a lot from the experience. He doesn’t give us a trial that we can’t overcome.
Advice for other kids?:
Put your trust in the Lord. Don’t be angry at Heavenly Father, but go to him to take away your anger. Rejoice in your trials because you have them for a reason. He doesn’t give them to you to watch you fail. He wants to see you succeed. He blesses us every day and will continue to bless us. Heavenly Father wants us to try our hardest and he wants us to allow Him to help us. You can truly be happy and get through anything if you turn to Him and live the gospel. What seems like a hopeless situation can be made into something beautiful. God loves you. Don’t give up, you can do it!