As soon as we got home from the trip Mom called and said Grandpa wasn't doing too well. It was looking like he would probably not make it too much longer. After Ellen left for home I immediately started working on the portrait of Grandpa that I had been working on so that I could hopefully get it done by the time we had to go out there for the funeral. Ellen left on Tuesday the 22nd, on that Friday I was having a little playdate/birthday party for Sanna since her birthday was on our trip and it was during that party that I got the phone call from my mom saying that Grandpa had passed away. My initial reaction was relief for him to be finally free from the pain. My uncle works for Delta and so he got the kids and I some buddy passes and he urged me to leave the next day since buddy passes can be unpredictable with flights. Brent was working that whole day so I got all packed and the painting all packed up with all my paints and Saturday morning we left at 3:45 to head to the Memphis airport.
The airport is a whole huge story and luckily I already covered that on Instagram.
When we got to Utah I wasn't very social. I spent most of my time down in the basement finishing the painting. This is how it turned out by the time we left Utah:
The viewing was on Monday and Sanna was asleep in my arms during the whole viewing so I sat on the couch and luckily siblings, cousins, and friends kept me company. It was hard seeing Grandpa at the viewing, I kept losing it. I was starting to feel a lot worse about his death and was having trouble hiding my emotions.
The next day was his funeral and I was even more of a mess during the family viewing as we got ready to shut the casket and couldn't stop crying. The tears continued through most of the first part of his funeral which was very frustrating because I was to give a short talk and sing with my mom. During my mom's talk however I started to feel calmer and was blessed with some peace. I wish I could record on here the talks my family members all gave, they were all so wonderful. This is the talk I gave:
We had the chance to live with Grandma and Grandpa for 7 and a half years. I got to be quite close to Grandpa and saw first hand the awesome man he was.
Many have seen what a hard worker he is, and in the years leading up to his illness he worked pretty much full time still and he would come home just beat. Though he was tired he’d take the time to play with my kids if we were upstairs. Chico would often sneak up the stairs when Grandpa was eating lunch and he would pull Chico up on his lap and share his food with him. When my babies were learning to walk he’d take them walking all over the place with his big strong hands holding their tiny little hands. They always loved it and he had quite the endurance for it, it seemed he never got tired of it.
He liked working in the yard too, my kids loved to grab a garden tool and work out there with him. When we got the garden going a couple years into our marriage grandpa would observe and watch and wouldn’t tell us what to do unless we asked him. When we asked his advice he’d give it in a humble way, he knew so much more about gardening than we did but he never acted that way, it’s just the way he was. He COULD be pushy though… when he wanted you to eat watermelon! It was hard to say no when he looked at you with a big smile and his big brown eyes twinkling and watermelon juice dripping all over the floor.
Grandpa had a testimony. You could feel it radiating from him, especially when he prayed or when he heard the hymns. His simple yet immensely strong faith is precious to me and would often bring me to tears when I’d hear him pray and feel his faith.
There is no one in the world quite like my grandpa. He was one of a kind. We’ve lost a wonderful man and Heaven has gained a spiritual giant.
He must be rejoicing to have his mind clear again, free from the cloud of dementia. He is probably singing with the angels of heaven right now. We got a little peak of that singing in the weeks leading up to his death. It’s something I’ll never forget.
Grandpa was a man of few words, sometimes he’d just say one word or phrase to try to get you to know what he was trying to talk to you about. So in that same spirit I compiled a list of words or phrases that whenever I hear them, I will think of Grandpa, All of you have your own words and phrases you could add to this list and when we hear those words throughout our lives we’ll think of Grandpa and he will live on in each of us.
Here is my list…
Bar J Wranglers, Corn on the cob, Dancin’ with Woofs, Jackson Hole, Bronze, Clay, How Great Thou Art, Snake River, T.V. Dinners, Watermelon, Sack a potatoes, Upholstery, Torlet, Black Socks with Sandals, and the phrases he’d say like: “I suppose”, “Give me big Loves”, “Take a look a here” and
“It’ll feel better when it stops hurting”
I hope so Grandpa, it’s still hurting having you gone, you can’t come and tickle us behind the ear or give us a back massage anymore to help the hurt but I know that the Spirit can comfort us and we will see you again and it will feel better when it stops hurting.
Chico was quite emotionally distraught. What a sweet tender soul he has. My sweet big boy sat next to me though and we cried together during a lot of the funeral. After I got done singing "His Hands" with my mom Chico whispered in my ear, "Grandpa was a lot like the Savior". That touched my heart that he recognized that from the song. It is why we sang that song.
The graveside service was at the cemetery near Island View Park which made me really happy. Every time I visit Centerville I can easily go and visit Grandpa's grave now. It was a beautiful grave side service as well with the military honors being done as well.
The day after the funeral I went to the temple. I thought of Grandpa during most of the session and cried a lot of course. I thought of how grateful I am for the choices he made in his life that have so affected his posterity of which I am a part. It just overwhelmed me with gratitude to be part of his posterity and helped me feel recommitted to living righteously for my posterity as well. I sat in the Celestial Room after it was over and started feeling peace about him in my heart. In my brain I had known he was in a better place but it hadn't quite reached my heart to feel okay about him not being with us anymore. As I sat there I started to come to terms with it and finally felt alright and felt happy for him where he was. Since that time I have felt peace about him and all those sad resentful feelings of wishing he didn't have to get sick and die are gone now and I just feel at peace about it. Of course I miss him still, he was a wonderful Grandpa. I'm just grateful I had such a good relationship with him.
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."