Monday, March 1, 2010


Verna Pauline Oswald Taylor
 January 9, 1911-February 19, 2010
How do you write a post like this? How do I even begin to explain the lessons, feelings and love that I have in my heart for this dear 99 yr old woman? How do you thank someone who changed the way you look at life?

The answer that I came up with is be true to the things she taught you and live the example that she emulated!

The end of January thru February 19th has been one of the most challenging times of my life. I can't remember the last time that I have felt more physically and emotionally exhausted, yet how much EXTRA strength was given to me by my Father in Heaven to do even more than I thought was humanly possible.

In January the dear granny that I have been taking care of (since Dec 13th around the clock care) came down with pnuemonia. If you would have asked me a month before, I would have NEVER guessed that you could have slowed her down.. she ran circles around me! She had more energy and more drive than an energizer battery! This stupid illness took her down. She was so sick. At times she was in real pain. I watched her struggle with so many things.

Many times she asked me why she was still here. Why she couldn't die because she felt so bad. The antibiotic had a weird reaction with her and I spent MANY sleepless nights with sweet Verna as she had a case of the "crazies". This medicine made her mentally confused at times. I just felt so bad that this sweet lady had to go through all of this. I was so thankful when everyone got on the same page and took her off of that miserable stuff. Luckily we were working with Hospice and they tried many things to help us with pain control and comfort.

Some might ask, "why would you do this kind of work?" "Why don't you ask for a raise?" and to that I would answer, because the GOOD's out ways any of the minor bads. The lesson's that I learned from her even when she wasn't in her right mind were SOO precious... even when she wasn't all the way there (mentally) she was being a missionary to me and it touched my heart. In the middle of the night one night as I was chasing her around the house as she went through everything in her closet, she turned to me with her imprinted Book of Mormon that I would guess she has had for YEARS and looked me right in the eye and said, " I want you to have this, and read this! I know that this is true and I know that this book will change your life!" At this time she wasn't remembering that I too believe that. She thought she was teaching me something that I didn't know, and it was so precious to me. Later her daughter Mareen told me that she had told her, "I almost have her converted." What a cutie.

Since we had plenty of them.. I decided to capture a picture of us on one of those all nighters. Here we are in our FAV jamies. Those are the one's I gave her for her 99th Bday.
Another lesson that was so sweet to me was one night she was feeling really sick and she was scared because she didn't understand what was happening to her and her mind. Around 3 am after I got her calmed down she looked at me with those innocent eyes and said, "Will you say a prayer for me?" I said, "I would love to say a prayer with you Verna. But I need to know what it is that you want me to pray for?" at that question Verna grabbed a hold of me and started to offer one of the most humble, faithful, tender and pleading prayers I have EVER been a part of. I don't remember all the words that she said, but I want to record what I do remember to have forever. " Heavenly Father, I have been praying to you every day since I was 10 years old. I have been righteous.... I have done everything that I was supposed to do and I am ready to come home..... I am asking you to please take me home." Both of us were crying and I held her in my arms for a few minutes and told her that I loved her. I thought she would go home that night after that heartfelt and humble prayer. It touched me so much. I felt like I was in heaven that night... the veil was so close. (I tearfully related that story to her daughter Sherry a few days later and found out that when she was 10 yrs old her Mother died. Of course that is when she started to really pray to her Father in Heaven and have a personal relationship with him.. she needed that comfort and she knew where to go even at 99 for that comfort.) Well even after that prayer she still remained for another 3 weeks on this earth.

I left to Utah for a couple days for my birthday and prayed the whole time that she wouldn't go while I was gone. I wanted to come back to be with her.

After coming back she didn't have very many good days after that. We had one Sunday where she felt a little better than most days and I painted her toes and fingers and took her on a wheelchair ride to her daughter's for Sunday dinner.
By the time Jen was in town over Valentines she was put in a hospital bed(which saved my back it was on it's way out from lifting her so much) and was pretty non responsive.
(Jen helped me sooo much both in emotional support and physical help. Her coming here was not by coincidence.. I needed her so much by that time in the illness! Thanks Jen for all your support!)

One morning she was trying to get out of bed. I tried to explain to her that her legs weren't working right to get out of bed (by this time she was even too weak to even communicate through words) at that, she grabbed on to me and forced out the words..GO! I tried to talk her out of it and she again said GO. I grabbed onto her two hands and walked backwards and she walked all the way from her bed room to the living room and that was the last time she walked. The rest of the days I did all the lifting, changing of diapers and bathing for her.

This is what Valentine's Day looks like when you are LOVED by everyone that you come in contact with...
I always called Verna the WARD MASCOT! She seriously was one of the most beloved people on the earth. I only wish that she was alert enough to realize all the flowers that were brought in to her.. she would have LOVED them every second!

In her last days on the earth Verna was in a coma like state. VERY rarely would she make a sound. It was a lonely time in my life and so hard to see her go out like that. A woman that just 2 months before was gardening, and living on her own, was now unable to even care for herself.

The last 24 hrs of her life was one of the most precious, tearful, spiritual and blessed days of my life so far. While I sat with her for nearly the WHOLE 24 hours without sleeping I talked to her, I told her I loved her. I thanked her for helping me gain great perspectives on life. I sang her songs that I knew that she liked. I listed to the music her daughter brought over with her. I knew she was going to be reunited with heaven really soon. I got the special experience to watch her, in her coma state, lift up her arms TWO different times to hug people that with my earthly eyes I could not see. Knowing that she was leaving this mortal body, her breaths getting more and more scarce, I decided it was time to do my final act of service for my sweet friend and help her to go out of this life the way that she would want too.

I got two bowls one of hot soapy water and one of hot water. And I gave her a bed bath, lotioned her up and put on deoderant, changed her garments and placed the Jammie's that I gave her for her 99th birthday on her. Then I washed her face and combed her hair. I knew that would be important to her. After that, I layed down on the bed that was set up next to her hospital bed and watched her through the night. Around 9am she started really breathing weird... I got up and checked her blood pressure and it was beyond low. I knew this was it. I kissed her on her forehead. Told her how much I loved her. at 9:17 am my sweet friend took a deep breath and I watched as her whole body just went calm. The pain in her face relaxed. She was with heavenly friends. What a reunion she was having! She hadn't seen her mother in 89 years! Her Husband, her daughter and ALL her sibling reunited again!

To my sweet friend... I will miss your giggles, your sense of humor, your love of roses, your cute quirks, your tight hugs in the middle of the night, your sassy ways, your love of your house (in which I still live and it feels so empty without that love in it), your sweet prayers, your stories, the perspective that you taught me, your hate for the stray cats in the yard, your love of poppy seed dressing on ANYTHING, and just YOU.. I miss you! I am happy that after 99 wonderful years of life you finally got to go home. Who knew that after 2 months I could love you THIS much!
Farewell sweet Verna for now.. until we meet again!


Amber said...

I love that you were able to bless her with music in her last hours. Trying to convert you with a BofM is priceless! What an amazing woman! Moments and experiences like this give life such depth. I'm glad you got to be there for Verna. LOVE YOU!

Heaps Family said...

Thank you for sharing such priceless moments. What an amazing experience. God really does know what we need and when we need it. You needed Verna just as much as she needed you. Thanks for your beautiful example of christlike love and service. Love you!

Marissa said...

What an amazing example and experience you just enjoyed! I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face.
I remember hearing once about the celebrations that happen when we leave heaven, join our earthly families, and reunite with them beyond the veil. Often people forget about that celebration of leaving this earthly life and they only focus on the sadness of it. Not many people are able to experience that short spiritual time when one of our own pass beyond the veil. You, Meg, were a chosen one to be able to be with Verna during such a wonderful special time. What a blessing to join in her celebration.

Erica said...

Wow, Meg. I am just sitting here bawling. What a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman! I know you were both a blessing to each other. Thank you for sharing such wonderful experiences. I was especially touched as you talked about getting her all ready on her last night on earth. You are a true disciple of Christ, through and through. Love you.

Paula said...

what an amazing experience, Meg. I am so glad you shared that with me. See the peace that we can have when we live righteously? To know that death is not something to be feared, but look forward to. I don't know Verna except through you , but I am glad I got to know her a little bit.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing your sweet experiences. She was so fortunate to have someone like you with her to comfort her and help her take the next step. She sounds like an amazing woman, just like the wonderful girl that was taking care of her!


Shan said...

Oh Meg what an amazing experience and obviously an amazing blessing to have been part of. I'm sorry for yours and her family's loss.

Desiree said...

What a sweet story. I would've loved to have met her. She sounds like such an amazing woman. You were SO lucky to have each other in the last few months of her life.
What are your plans now?

JAMIE said...

what a beautiful tribute. You teach me so much by your example. Thank you.

Kaela Cusack said...

what a beautiful story, Meg. you are so caring and nurturing to all you know. i don't know a more Christ-like person! we love you so :)

{amy k.} said...

wow meg- you are amazing. i am sorry for your loss but it seems like your gains are much greater. this is something i definitely needed to read tonight. made me cry, but also grateful for all that i have in my life and for the people (like you) who have made such a big difference. love you!