Sunday, August 10, 2008

Out West, Back East

My grandpa Olson passed away in Layton on Monday. Neil and I went to Utah on Wednesday and got back last night. You can read a bit about my grandpa's life here.

It was nice to see so much family during our trip, but it was painful that my grandpa wasn't with us. I kept feeling like he might just come around the corner into the room, meeting our astonished faces and questions with "I was just right over there," pointing behind him. Even if it was just part of getting used to grandpa not being around, it was nice to feel like he was close in that way.
I'm not a good writer, so I can't do him justice here -- I wish I could convey the memories and thoughts I have about my grandpa. He was always so sweet and kind. I am looking forward to seeing him again one day, and it is another comfort of my testimony in the gospel to know that I will get to hang out with grandpa again. I am trying to imagine what he's doing right now. I know he is with loved ones and he is comfortable, healthy and happy.
A few memories of my grandpa:
My grandpa was quiet and had a big heart. My grandma is more talkative and while she told a story, he would sprinkle in a detail or clarify a point here or there. When I was little, I'd sit by him and he would rub my feet while everyone visited. Our pets especially liked this about him -- he would sit there and pet them and scratch their heads tirelessly. Up until I was about eight years old, my grandparents lived near us in Burke, Va. It was fun going to visit them and having them visit us. Once, my grandpa and I went to the store and he said I could get any candy I wanted. I came home with a 1/2 lb. bag of M&Ms. One time grandpa took my sister and me on an errand to Hechinger (similar to Home Depot). My Dad used to take us there, too, and as little girls, we weren't very excited about going to a building supply store. Hearing our protests (i.e. whining), Grandpa read the slogan on the front of the store: "Hechinger: The World's Most Unusual Toy Store." YAY!!! The place had been magically transformed! Unfortunately, I couldn't read, and when we went inside there were no toys. Hechinger was actually known as The World's Most Unusual Lumber Yard. About 15 years ago, when my grandparents came to visit us, my grandpa busied himself with completely organizing all the many, many boxes of stuff (treasures? junk?) and food storage in our basement. No small task, especially for a man of his age. But that was just like my grandpa, seeing something that needed doing and doing it.

More recently, grandpa did the most important thing anyone could for me in this lifetime. Six months ago Tuesday, he sealed Neil and I together in marriage for time and all eternity. He and my grandma traveled from Layton, Utah, to Virginia so grandpa could perform our sealing in the Washington, D.C. temple. It was special for so many reasons, one of which was that my grandpa was a sealer in the D.C. temple before he moved to Layton where he worked in the Ogden temple. I am eternally grateful my grandpa wanted to do this for us. I wish we could have visited grandpa again, but I am glad we were able to attend his funeral services and as a family share our loving memories of such a kind, generous man.

8 comments:

Stephanie J. Robertson said...

i'm sitting here crying my eyes out to the computer :) but it's a good cry because that was a sweet and fitting tribute! i wish i could have been there with everyone, but glad to hear everything went well and that neil was a palbarer (sp?) too- how wonderful! anyway- love you.

modestmuse said...

Sorry to make you cry, but glad I conveyed some of what's in my heart. We did miss you, but everything went well and was so perfect under the circumstance. Jonathan is an amazing pianist! My Dad and Linda had such touching words relayed in each of their unique ways. Such a talented family. The flowers were gorgeous, and I think I will write a "thank you" to the mortuary -- they were so great. Neil even said my skirt matched the curtains there, which was a compliment to them, right?! Love you, too.

modestmuse said...

oh, p.s., grandma gave the mortuary a selection of photos from grandpa's life, and they made it into this AMAZING, touching dvd slideshow set to really nice instrumental music. They even made a dvd box for it with some of the photos on the front, back and inside. Definitely try to get a copy for the great-grandkids, I'm going to!

Lincs and Ali said...

I am so sorry for your loss! Your grandpa sounds like he was an amazing man!

Stephanie J. Robertson said...

that would be great to have- will do!

mel said...

I'm so sorry... :( buy you lunch?! soon!!! loves. xx

Taralyn said...

It's so hard to lose an awesome grandpa. It was so amazing to see him seal you and Neil. It was apparent he is a man of few words, but his words mean a lot.

Shauna said...

I'm weighing in on this SO LATE, but I guess I wanted to see what you has said about the whole funeral experience, because I'm still not "over it" yet myself. It is so weird to miss him so much -- since I normally would only see him about once a year, and I did see him back in March. But I do. And Taralyn hit it exactly -- a man of few words, but his words mean a lot!! I just keep wishing for a few more words.