Death…but wait there’s hope!

Death is something we all have to face. We all have an appointment with it and we all will deal with it taking a loved one.

It is okay to be sad, to cry to grieve. It is natural. Jesus himself cried over the loss of his friend. (John 11:35)

I’ve seen my father cry, my uncles, both of my grandpas and many other men and women cry over the loss of someone they loved.

I never experienced what it was like to lose someone I was close to until 2011. I lost 2 people within 5 months of each other that I loved more than anything.

I got married on November 27, 2010. I was originally going to get married on June 11 of 2011. In 2009 my Grandma Nickels found out she had brain cancer as well as the lung cancer. In August of 2010 my Grandma got a report that her cancer was spreading and she decided not to take chemo or radiation. My Dad told me that with her condition and my Grandpa Wagoner’s failing condition that if I wanted them to be at my wedding I needed to have it before the end of the year. So we did. It was stressful putting a wedding together in a few short months but we did it. Both sets of my Grandparents were there. We got family pictures with them and as far as I know it is the last family picture that we have with them.

In January my Grandma’s health took a turn for the worse. June 8, 2011 she passed away peacefully with most of her family around her. My Grandpa was devastated. However, as soon as she passed away, my Grandpa started praising God! He lifted up his hands and said Thank you Lord for taking her home. He knew he’d get to see her again someday. He still misses her and I know that he cannot wait to see her again in Heaven.

October of 2010 my Grandpa fell in his bathroom and suffered some serious injuries. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He didn’t get better. His kidneys and other organs began to shut down. He was taken out of ICU on Monday night. He was supposed to go to Hospice but they didn’t think he would make the ride. They transferred him to another room where all of the family could be. My cousin and I went and got donuts for everyone from his favorite donut shop. We also got milk and OJ. All of us talked about the impact he had made on our lives. We said our goodbyes and I love you’s. He made it through the night, so Hospice came and took him to a nice room where he could be comfortable. All of his kids went home to take showers and get some rest. My Dad, my cousins Jennifer, Emily & Kammy and myself got to Hospice before anyone else arrived. Something told me to tell him it was okay. So I leaned over whispered in his ear, “Hey Papaw. It’s Whickemwhacker. I love you. You’re the best Grandpa a girl could ask for. It’s okay for you to go home. We’ll take good care of Grandma. I promise. Do you see all the angels? They’re here to take you to Jesus.” He took his final breath moments later. It was hard to say goodbye but I knew that Heaven was his home.

I became really depressed after he passed away. I felt alone. I had too much death too quick and I had no idea how to handle it. I hadn’t gotten over my Grandma Nickels passing away and now my Grandpa Wagoner was gone too. I dwelt on my sadness and sorrow. I became distant and unhappy. My Mom was staying with my Grandma Wagoner because she couldn’t be alone. Alzheimer’s has a way of taking independence along with many other things. I tried to help where I could with my Grandma and with my parents’ house. It was hard and it was hard seeing my family hurt.

One day something that my Aunt said after my Grandma passed away hit me. We need to pick up the mantle that she left. My Grandma was a prayer warrior. She prayed about everything! Everything! Big or small! She left it in God’s hands because that was the best place it could be. She loved everyone. She helped whoever she could whenever she could. She fed people, clothed them and loved them unconditionally. My Grandpa Wagoner helped people all the time. He gave people jobs, confidence and hope. He loved unconditionally as well. He stayed alive through the hurt and pain just to take care of my Grandma because he didn’t want to burden any of his kids with that.

Both of my Grandparents didn’t let sadness or problems doom them. They got back up and kept going. They wouldn’t want me to let sadness take over. They were true examples of what Christians should be. Now I try to love everyone unconditionally, even when it is hard and when it hurts. I try to show love instead of anger. I try to see situations through others’ eyes so I can understand. I believe that is what my Grandparents would want me to do. It is also what Jesus would want me to do.

I said all that to say this. Take time to grieve. However, don’t stay in that state. When someone you love passes away, pick up that mantle they left behind. Follow Jesus and love unconditionally. I have hope of seeing my Grandma and my Grandpa again someday. They were born again Christians and so am I. There is so much hope in that statement. Being a follower of Christ, we should try to live like Christ. It is easier to do if you have good, Godly examples to follow.

I pray for those who read this blog. I want you to know if you are hurting, God can help you. He can give you strength and carry your burdens.

Love in Christ!

Iva Mae

nickelsMamaw Nickels, Me, Kyle & Papaw Nickels


Memaw Wagoner, Me & Pepaw Wagoner

On another note I’d forgotten how much weight I’d gained before I got married! I’m down like 30lbs from that pic haha

4 thoughts on “Death…but wait there’s hope!

  1. Iva,

    I just wanted to say how much your blog has touched me. Death is so difficult to deal with in our human form, as we know we will never again be able to see our loved ones on this earth. However; we have hope! Those of us who are saved know that one day, we WILL see them again. This alone gives us hope. Like that song by Aaron Shust says, ‘My hope is in you Lord, all day long”. It’s true! We need not fear death, because we know where we are going.

    Your grandparents seem like wonderful people, and this posting is a legacy to them. Well written and inspirational.

    Thank you for posting!


  2. Dear Iva,

    You are wise beyond your years! I was truly saddened and depressed when I lost my Papaw, Herbert Wagoner, brother to your Pepaw. They were such wonderful men and as you stated, true examples of what Christians should be. My Papaw died on the same day my daughter was born. Talk about conflicting emotions. I had all but decided I would go pray him right out of the grave. But then God stopped me, for what?? He would have still been sick with cancer and suffering. It was at that point that I was able to let him go. And I understood that I was acting out of selfishness. If Mamaw was able to let him go, I should be able to as well. He died only months before their fiftieth wedding anniversary. I write this with tears as now they are together in Heaven. Doesn’t mean that I don’t miss them dearly and think of them daily. I see them in the trees’ gentle rustle, and in the sweetness of a new born baby’s smile. I hear them in wonderful old hymns sung by a choir, and in every sunrise and sunset. I see them everywhere I see God. And I am waiting for the day when we will be reunited. The memories come rushing back for me, as I’m sure they do for you, too! Mamaw Ivy, what a legacy of love and life she left!! What an amazing family we share! The memories of the farm in Kentucky nestled between the gentle rolling hills will forever hold a place in my memory like no other. May God be with you, as I can tell He already is!!



    • Tammy,

      I remember your Grandpa. I always loved his laugh. He was an awesome man. Your Grandma was awesome too. She was always so welcoming. I loved going to their house. I loved going to Grandma Ivy’s house too! I loved her hospitality and food. I don’t know if remember the lemon cookies she used to keep by the kitchen window but they were my favorite. We do have an awesome family! I am thankful to be a part of it. Thank you for sharing! 🙂


      Iva Mae

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