Last Thursday my Grandpa on my Mother’s side passed away. He had been very sick for over a year, had faced many medical issues in the past 10 years, and had a stroke the week before where they were sure he would die. However, he held on until he could talk to all of his kids and then slipped away quietly surrounded by the people he loved.
My grandfather was a good man. He served in the Army during World War II, and was honorably discharged. He served a mission for his Church in Texas, and had a Master’s degree and worked to help farmers through the Department of Agriculture. He was a framer himself, and had a huge, beautiful garden that I remember well. He had six kids, a lot of grandkids, and even more great-grandchildren. He was married to my Grandma for 61 years, and they served two missions together, and then worked in the Manti Temple for several years. My Grandpa was a sealer in the Temple, which is a very special position, and he married many of my cousins and siblings.
When I was young we visited my Grandparents A LOT! It seemed like we spent every holiday, most of the summer, and all vacations there. I know we also went other places on vacation, but it seems like they were there for many of those as well. My memories of childhood are not really clear, but my happiest memories are with them.
My Grandma taught me to cook, quilt, sew and crochet. I am the oldest Granddaughter (for all intents and purposes) and I spent hours by her side. I loved helping her prepare meals, and learned most of my homemaking skills from her and my mom. They both live in beautiful, clean, uncluttered, organized and peaceful homes. They are also always cooking. 🙂
My Grandpa took us to the mountains. They had a cabin in the nearby mountains and we would go there and cook scones, and shoot guns, and play. We frequently went to Fish Lake, where we would fish, boat, hike, and again cook food and play. In the winters, my Grandpa would take us to find Christmas trees, and we would go snowmobiling.
When I was young they lived in a tiny house with one bathroom. The adults would get the bedrooms, and the cousins would have sleepovers in the living room. They had the scary basement full of canned food and other interesting objects, and a garage that stored all the camping and snowmobiling gear. There was a huge tree with a tree house that I don’t think we were ever allowed to go up into, and a clothesline where my Grandma dried all their clothes. The had a huge garden where they grew everything. My favorites were the tomatoes, raspberries and apples. I loved helping my Grandma turn those garden treasures into food for the family and helping her can, freeze, and otherwise store them for later.
When I was a teenager they built a beautiful house that was large enough for all their kids to come and visit. It has a fabulous basement where the boys sleep, and play. We would set up quilts, and she made quilts for all of her Granddaughters for when they got married. We each got to pick the pattern and they were then carefully sewn by my Grandma, Aunts, mom and older cousins. Mine is my bedspread in my Master bedroom. This house has a huge kitchen that I organized during the move. Everything is still where I put it. I could cook in that kitchen with my eyes closed. When I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant, it was really hard. My grandma always feeds us fresh vegetables and fruits, and has made sure that we are always well-fed despite the issues with allergies.
This house also has a garden. It has a large garage where all that camping and snowmobiling equipment went, an a four-wheeler that my son loves. We still went to the mountains a lot, but my Grandparents were getting older so we didn’t always take them.
The last time I saw my Grandpa was last Spring when my sister got married. We went and visited after the wedding. At this point my Grandpa had already suffered a series of strokes and was unable to swallow correctly and so he couldn’t feed himself. He was on a feeding tube. He had difficulty walking, and mostly sat in a chair and observed. My grandma would read to him, and was his primary care-giver. They were both unsteady when they walked, and my Grandpa fell a lot. He still went to Church, and there were many who loved them and checked on them. My Uncle lives in the same town, and works on the family farm. He has taken good care of them these past couple of years and has always been around to farm, garden, camp and spend time with them. My Grandpa told me he loves me, expressed concern over my son’s game playing, and wanted to see pictures of my sister’s wedding. He loved us, and was a frequent part of my life. Whenever they could they would visit and encourage us. They were at every major life event, and even came to some of my concerts and other performances as I grew up. I cannot imagine life without him.
I wish my life was different. I would love to have been able to be there more these past years, but finances, illnesses, and a car that wouldn’t drive made it impossible. I would love to be able to have my Grandma come and live with us, but she is happy where she is. I would also love to move to Richfield and live by her, but that won’t really work either. My only hope is that we get to go to the funeral and say goodbye to my Grandpa. My son knows and loves them. He wants to say goodbye. He frequently cries and talks about being worried that Grandma will die too. We’ve explained death to him as much as any 9-year-old can understand, and he is handling it well for the most part. I love my Grandparents! They were a huge part of my life, and a lot of what makes me the person that I am today. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know that he is safe and happy now. In this my religious beliefs are a huge comfort.
Thank You Grandpa for everything you did, and all that you taught me. I love you!