My heart has been filled to the brim the last few days. As my sister and I traveled up to Washington to help move my grandparents into my aunt and uncles house I can't help but feel a little sad. Mostly happy that my grandparents can spend their elderly years together but terribly sad that they no longer will be within "stop by and say hello" distance. I love my grandparents. Actually I think a better way of putting it would be to say I'm in love with them. They are pretty top notch. The last few years have been rough seeing my sweet grandma slowly slip further and further away in terms of her memory and physical abilities but seeing my grandpa care and look after her has deepened my belief of eternal love and they are are shining examples of how to love someone in an eternal way. I've been fortunate enough to spend the majority of my life within walking distance of them and to be states away from them now seems unfair (although it's probably the reverse, I guess my cousins should be able to be so lucky to live by them too). My grandparents have taught me numerous lessons like not to put water on wood furniture, always write your name and address in sharpie on everything you own (you never know when you need that Tupperware lid returned if lost!) and that you can always make a meal out of anything in your fridge and cupboards (which I believe is a gift learned only by those that have lived through the Great Depression). More seriously though the life lessons they've taught have been taught completely by example.
When I think of my grandpa I think of what it means to work hard. I grew to really appreciate the opportunities I had to work by his side. Memories like doing yard work, helping him build a shed addition to his house, shoveling gravel, trimming trees and pulling weeds, and millions if other tasks throughout the years. I think of the importance to connect with others. My grandpas ability to "chat your ear off " has been a family joke since I can remember but the truth is I've never met anyone who didn't enjoy the feeling of being the most important person in the room and that's exactly how my grandpa makes you feel when your talking to him, like he's known you for years.
When I think of my grandma I think of how unselfish she is. Raising five kids with a husband who worked long hours and served as bishop and stake president for many years is something that I can only imagine as exhausting and I can never recall her complaining about it, only being too happy to help in any way she can. I consider my grandma to be the queen of the kitchen. There wasn't a day that went by in my younger years where she didn't make a fresh loaf of homemade bread. I can vividly remember her on her swivel kitchen stool scooting around the kitchen and kneading bread everyday when I got home from school.
Together their examples are even more strong. The love they show for each other is more real and more deep than any love story I've ever read or watched (including The Notebook). They've been married 55+years and they still take every opportunity to hold one anothers hand and tell each other how much they love each other. I can and always will be able to hear perfectly in my head them saying "I love you Bob" and "I love you Kay" each in their own voice and I hope it never goes away, I hope I never forget it. The most important example they have set for me is their love and faith in the gospel. It's hard for me to even put into words how they have even been an example because a long running list comes to my head. Anything and everything you can come up with that entails what someone would do or qualities a faithful latter day saint would have, and they've done it and have those qualities. I love them for that. For throwing themselves into the Lord's work and being truly Christ-like. I wish them the best in this next chapter in their lives together and know that even though I miss them terribly, I'm really happy for them. I'm happy that my grandpa gets to worry less about all the day to day stresses of having a house and responsibilities and gets to just focus on spending time with my grandma. I'm happy that my grandpa can go to bed every night and wake up every morning next to my grandma. I'm happy that he's happy. I know my grandma may just be along for the ride since she might not remember exactly what is going on these days but I secretly think she's a lot more happy too.