Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I love you, Grandpa

The flag is at half mast. My grandpa died this morning. I guess you could say that it was expected, but that doesn't mean I miss him any less.

My grandpa was an amazing man. We were very close.

When my family lived in California my grandparents would come to visit us. They would ride Amtrak from Utah and would spend a week or two visiting. My grandpa would always walk to the elementary school to pick us up and would walk home with us. We always stopped at the grocery store on the way home where we each got to pick out a treat or toy.

When they were back home in Utah he and my grandma would send us 2 dollar bills. I remember thinking that they were the coolest things ever, and I wouldn't ever spend them because they were special, because they were from my grandparents. I still have a hard time spending 2 dollar bills.

Once or twice a year my family would drive from California to Utah to visit. My grandpa always took us to the 49th Street Galleria. We would mini golf. Every visit we did this, and I always looked forward to it. I think it was one of my favorite things to do in Utah. I think of him every time I drive by the old 49th Street Galleria.

Grandpa Ken served in WWII on a submarine. He was very proud of his service. I am patriotic because of him. I know how to properly fold a flag because of him.

He got his Silver Beaver in the Boy Scouts of America organization. He came out to California for each of my brother's courts of honor when they got their Eagles. I know a lot about scouting because of him.

I could always talk to my grandpa. In the last 10 years since my grandma died, I have spent a lot of time talking to my grandpa. Because his sight was failing, I would read to him. I don't know if he got anything out of those times, but I will always remember them.

When I was 12 my family moved back to Utah just 3 houses down the street from my Grandpa. I spent a lot of evenings with the "porch patrole," a group consisting of my grandparents and their best friends/neighbors the Becks. We would sit out there each night and just watch the evening pass. I wasn't allowed to move a lot because it would turn the porch light on via the motion detector. I spent a lot of time listening to my grandparents on that porch. After my grandma died I would sit on the porch with my grandpa.

He was always quiet. But I always knew he loved me. Even at the end when he had dementia, he always recognized me. We would have wild conversations as the dementia took his memory. He was always happy despite the confusion, which I am grateful for. I told him one day that he was looking thin and that maybe I should get on his diet (not eating), he told me to get on it. I talked to him about his "girlfriend" at the care center. He said he didn't have just one girlfriend. I told him that there was only so much dating that could be done in this world and since he had so many girlfriends I couldn't have a boyfriend. He laughed. We always laughed together.

When I was 10 I came out to Utah by myself to visit. I spent a lot of time with all of my grandparents. My grandma June made me a wonderful scrapbook, a copy for her and a copy for me. I now have both copies. At the end are the testimonies of both my grandma June and my grandpa Ken. I cherish this book. His testimony:

"Dear sweet, young Andrea Kay,
Just want to bear a special testimony to you of the Gospel in which we all believe. This Gospel has always been a very important part of my life and also important in the lives of your great grandparents, and your great, great grandparents.
I know this Gospel is true, and that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ did appear to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove. I know that it was through Joseph Smith that the Gospel, which had been taken from the earth following the death of the original apostles, was restored to the Earth. I know that through this restoration, we have the true authority to act in God's name here upon this earth. Further, this authority was restored to Joseph Smith by John the Baptist and then by Peter, James, and John who had recieved it from Jesus Christ while he was still upon the Earth.
I also know that we who have been baptized by this authority have the privilege (and also the responsibility) to choose for ourselves what we will do while we live here in this world. Those choices will determine what we will do after our mortal death.
Our families are so very important and we must always honor our parents and our families. Never do anything to discredit them nor the Church. The Lord promises great blessings to all of us - if we keep His commandments and always to good things.
I ask the Lord to continue His blessings upon you as you study and learn the Gospel, and pray daily to Him, being receptive to the Spirit. You are a special young girl - and we love you dearly.
Grandpa J. (signed)"

I cherish our time together. I spent a while with him last night. I just sat near him and talked to him. He didn't respond. I knew that the end was close and was glad to share more precious time with him.

For several years he has been too frail to make it to the temple, something he cherished all his life. I always wanted him at my wedding, but feared that he wouldn't be able to make it. Now he can.

I love you, Grandpa.


Liz Johnson said...

This is so beautiful. I especially love that testimony. I wish I could be there and give you big hugs. {{{{E-HUGS}}}}

Rest in peace, Grandpa. You are very loved.

Hilary said...

So beautifully written Andrea . . . a fitting tribute to a wonderful man.
Grandpa has a special place in my heart . . . I love him like he was my Grandpa my whole life. He was warm, kind and generous, and a true example.

A few times today, I've stopped and thought about him and the reunions he's enjoying with his wife and mother, and tears come to my eyes before I can stop them. He is truly happy where he is, and I know that as much as he'll miss all of us here, he's still part of our lives!

Kimberly said...

This is beautiful.

Buscando la Luz said...

Thanks for sharing these sweet memories. And your grandpa's testimony. What a treasure. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs and love...

Hilary said...

Oh, and yesterday when I was cleaning out a drawer, I came across my pile of $2 bills that I've never been able to bring myself to spend! :-) I still can't spend 'em either. Must be a good grandparent thing . . .

Diana and Marc said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I remember meeting him once and what a sweet man he was. He shared M&M's with me. You're lucky to have all those wonderful memories!

sa-rah said...

Andrea - you write so well. Thank you for sharing your memories of your grandpa. He was obviously a wonderful man and you are a fantastic granddaughter to tell us all about him. You really are so lucky to have so many wonderful memories with him!