When Ashley and I were younger, we saw our grandparents almost every single day. They would babysit us before and after school when our parents were at work. One of my favorite memories is being at their house early in the morning with the wood stove burning a fire, sipping hot chocolate and my grandma making waffles. This happened every morning we were there. We also slept at their house often and those days were no different.
Every single summer, until I was about 15, they would take Ashley and I camping at Lava Hot Springs for a weekend. We were each allowed to bring a friend but our parents weren't allowed to come. We would spend the weekend floating the river, swimming at the pool and watching movies in the trailer. It was something special that I looked forward to every year. I think they really enjoyed it too. My grandpa would book a campsite at the same campground months in advance to make sure we could go.
One of my favorite memories about Grandpa is one that I think shows just how much he loved his grandkids. When Ashley was in the first grade or so, her class hatched baby chicks and she got to bring one home to keep. I was SO sad that I didn't get one. Without hesitation, Grandpa took me to the general store where he let me choose my own baby chick to bring home. My parents were definitely surprised to come home and find that we now had two chicks! Grandpa just couldn't stand to see me sad. Eventually, the chickens got too big for us to keep at our house so my Grandpa asked one of his friends who had a farm to take them. He would take us back every few months to visit the farm so we could see our chickens.
I also remember when I was about 11 years old and he took me fishing. He loved fishing. It was just the two of us. We spent all day sitting by the lake and riding around in his truck. And although I learned that day that I do not have the patience to fish, I will always remember and cherish that time with him.
He was the most gentle and caring person I have ever known. He was a very strong, tough man but when it came to his family, especially his grandkids, he was so soft. He always loved the little children and usually had a baby on his lap. He was so selfless, and so generous. I don't think I ever left their house without at least a $5 bill. No matter how much I would tell him not to worry about it, he would insist. He always wanted to make sure we were taken care of and had everything we needed, but never asked for anything for himself. He would do even the little things like check the oil in my car, have a bag of potatoes from his garden ready to send home, and drive to our house to shovel snow from the driveway to make sure we were safe. Not only was he kind but he was fun, and funny, and could talk to anyone for hours. I loved hearing stories about when he was growing up, or when he was in the marines during WW2.
I will always picture him working in his garden, sitting on the front porch and watching the hummingbirds at the bird feeders he would fill everyday, or sitting in his recliner cracking peanuts or reading all the family birthdays from his calendar. He never once missed a birthday card with $25. He was always there for me no matter what it was. When I was in elementary school I slipped on the ice and needed stitches, he was the one to show up at my school and take me to the hospital. He was there with me the whole time and comforted me until my mom was able to get there from work. I remember hearing stories about when I was a baby and we lived at their house for a short time. When I would wake up in the mornings he would send my mom back to bed and take care of me himself. He would ask me "Who loves you? Who do you love?" And I would always respond with "Grandpa!". I was always called "Stephie Joe" by many people in the family, and sometimes still am. Even though I have no middle name I always considered Joe as my middle name when I was a kid and was proud of it. I felt special to have that connection with him. I have always said my grandparents are some of my very favorite people in the whole world, and I have always meant it.
I really could go on and on with all of the wonderful memories and what a wonderful man he was. I am so so sad that he is gone. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have that families are forever. More than ever before, I understand the importance of the resurrection, and the plan of salvation that He has in place for us. I have felt the Spirit so strong these last few days and have had my testimony strengthened. I have felt the Saviors love for me and know that he knows how deeply heartbroken I am. I know I will see Grandpa again. I am so happy for him that he is with his loved ones that went on before him. I am grateful that he no longer in pain. Losing him has made me more aware of the blessings I have. I have been so incredibly blessed to have him as my Grandpa and spend as much time with him as I did. I am so grateful that I had him in my life for almost 28 years.
I love you Grandpa and I will miss you everyday until we meet again.
|Grandpa and Asher|
|Grandpa and Grandma|
|Grandpa and Greyson|