Thursday, September 29, 2016

Celebrating Grandpa Part Three

We headed up Monday night to stay at my Aunt Jan's. Dad's burial service was on Tuesday at eleven in a beautiful cemetery up next to the mountains in Salt Lake.
When we pulled up half an hour early, we were both so touched to see the Honor Guard already in place, holding perfectly still in honor of our Dad. They didn't move until it was time to bring Dad over, and I was extremely touched as they saluted him and stood guard over his body. 
There really was a big turn out and that was neat. 
The service was very touching. Tony conducted and Steve Jr spoke, and then several people made comments, including sweet KJ, who told the story of last April Fool's Day, when Dad asked him four times what he'd done to his arm (he'd wrapped it as a joke) and then laughed joyously every time when KJ said "April Fools." He said how he loved his Grandpa. I was so proud of him. I said how much I'll miss my friend, because that it what Dad was for me -- my friend. The Double B just quickly told the story of the time he accidentally hit Dad in the back with a big log while cutting down a tree and then mentioned how much his Dad has changed over the last couple years, how much he had learned to enjoy little children and had started expressing his love more. We are proud of Dad. When the Honor Guard folded the flag and presented it to Mom and then played "Taps," my heart was truly touched. Dad really, really loved his country and was proud of his service in the military.
Benson just wasn't too sure of any of it, but it did help afterwards when he found his Emily. Emily really does make everything better. (The Double B's big brother Walt is in the background of this picture. He is the youngest son of Dad's older kids.)
My parents drove all the way up to Salt Lake that morning to attend Dad's burial, and I just thought that was truly amazing. My Aunt Jan and Uncle Dennis came and all my aunts and uncles sent a plant, which was so thoughtful. 
After the service Mom B was very sick and we rushed to get her home (as much as you can rush four and a half hours). She has a lot of healing to do, but I know she'll be able to do it with time and distance.
We are all exhausted on a cellular level but thankful for a tender experience and more thankful then we can say that Dad B was ours.
When we got home, I had 106 Benson selfies on my phone. 
And that is pretty great.

Celebrating Grandpa Part Two

During one stop at Grandma's, Benson quickly found Papa's cane, his favorite toy. He kept walking up to Dad's chair with it, so I finally put him on it for a picture. His little hand is resting on Papa's scriptures. What a treasure.
I decided I'd like a little memento and had all the kids get in Grandpa's chair for a picture.
Kate did hers Kate-style. Wouldn't have it any other way.
I couldn't be more thankful these kids come from such a powerful bloodline. 

Celebrating Grandpa Part One

The kids and I headed up to join the Double B on Thursday night. He had left in the very early hours of Wednesday morning and I don't think that time period between could have seemed longer. I was so worried about him that holding down the fort was almost torture -- I knew things needed to be attended to and not having to worry about the kids or anything at home was the best thing I could do for him. But I needed to know that he was okay or not okay or somewhere in between, and I couldn't REALLY know that unless I was with him. This whole experience has been interesting in that it has focused my attention again on how central the Double B is for me and how critical his happiness and well being has become for me. Marriage is a wonderful thing in that way. 
We played games that night at Aunt Sabrina's and it was really wonderful to just be together and laugh and laugh and laugh. We played "Mormon Bridge" and had a great time together. We even put our cards on our foreheads at the end of the round, just for Dad. Family is so powerful, we bolster and strengthen and entertain each other.
KJ was absolutely delighted to learn that he has now outgrown Aunt Megan. He could not have been any happier with himself.
Benson very much gravitated to Grandma and loved her snuggles. He was a little mystified by all the laughing, but it was seriously so awesome. I love these pictures of my favorite boy and his Mom.
It was a great crowd to be in. I also learned that my nephew Josh knows more jokes then any human being in the history of ever. He just kept telling more and more and more! I was truly amazed and entertained.
Here's BB and Mom retelling the story of the time Dad fell over in his chair during a scriptural argument. His feet apparently just levitated for a minute and it was so funny to watch them tell it. BB and I had been laughing all week about the time Dad fell over into the bushes and they seemed to swallow him whole, so this was a good memory to add on top.
We had the viewing the night before and my kids had a really hard time. Uncle Jonnie and Aunt Trina so graciously jumped in and saved the day and came over and took them home to relax with cousins, treats and a movie, and I so appreciate it. Trina even made the Double B his very favorite cinnamon rolls from scratch so he could have them nice and warm that night. They are the very best! At one point at the viewing our brother-in-law John and I were sitting together and he leaned over and said "You know what, B is amazing in lines. He is the absolute best line finisher ever. It should be his job. He's just so great with the people and he could make a career out of this. Honestly, he is a line champion." It cracked me up. John is so funny and it's nice to find things to laugh about in these moments in life. And darned if he wasn't right. The Double B really IS a line champion!
That night the siblings all practiced the song we would sing at the funeral "O My Father," and then the Double B gave such a beautiful prayer. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. We are all so thankful for this good man we got to call "Dad."
The funeral was the next day. All eight of Dad's kids talked and they all did a wonderful job. I was so proud of the Double B. He testified of the Savior and talked very lovingly and well of his Dad. 
There was a nice turnout, especially for someone who was almost 92! Dad was very loved. Even the Double B's old friend Jerry from Costco came. We were both touched by that. 
Life is good. It is hard, but maybe the hard is what helps make it so good.
I am so thankful that the Double B is my other half. We are a good team. This experience is teaching me many things, but one really is about the marriage unit -- how divinely it is designed. As we go through the good and the bad, as we get through the hard, we really do become one unit. As hard as these past few weeks have been, I know they have added another very sweet and tender layer to our life story together. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Grandpa

Our wonderful "Dad," "Grandpa," "Papa" went back to that God who gave him life early this morning. 
We are so sad, but so grateful to Heavenly Father for answering our prayers and taking care of him -- for taking him home. 
As I opened my scriptures this morning, I knew just where I needed to go. 
So much peace in that assurance. 
Although my heart is very tender, I am still. 
I am so thankful to have had the blessing of this good man in my life. I am so honored I got to call him "Dad." I am thankful for the good son he raised and the joy he felt in our children. I will look forward to that day when I will see him again. 
Until then, I love you, Dad.

New Calling

They released me from primary. It's true! I never thought I would leave primary again, but lo and behold, I did. I was called as the first counselor in the Relief Society, which is fun because that is my Mom's calling right now, too. I'm excited because I know very little about how the Relief Society operates and I'd like to learn, plus I've always wanted to be a counselor! I've had some amazing ones myself and would love to bless someone's life that way. Plus, I might actually meet some sisters and it is my JOB to befriend them. Anti-social Marie not allowed. I'm good at doing my job when assigned, so that will be helpful. I'm really excited! This Sunday everyone will be gone but me, so it will be a good adventure to figure it out fast, ha ha.
The kids and I are going to drive up to see Dad B on Saturday to give him all our love. Hoping it will be a good and peaceful day for my little ones and their Grandpa that they love so well.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Don Juan

KJ got asked on a date! 
It's true. 
Last week. His Dad had worked an early shift so was home when Kaje got home from school. We were both sitting on the couch and he swung in like king of the castle. "I got asked on a date!!!" He was so excited. 
The Double B and I were naturally very interested in this event! Here is how he said it all went down. 

Girl - I think you're kind of cute. 

KJ - Well, thanks! 

Girl - Do you want to go out sometime? 

KJ - I can't. I can't date until I'm 16. But thanks!

Girl - Oh. Well, do you want to be best friends? 

KJ - Sure! 

And... scene. 
He was so flattered. Heck, I was so flattered! It was fun to see him feeling so good about himself. We told him we were so proud that he is such a kind and friendly person, and proud that he remembered his principles. His closing remark on the conversation: "Make sure you write about this in your blog!"
It is definitely a momentous occasion. 

Worried Kids

Grandpa B and Kate the Great having a snuggle and sharing the same facial expression. Genetics at its best. 
The Double B's Dad is in the hospital. He is very sick and having some struggles and it makes us so sad to see him have a hard time. We love him and are worried about him. Things are looking like they are improving, though, and that is a happy thing if they keep going that way. He will be 92 in November and that is amazing! I know he is old and has lived a good life and wouldn't mind himself, really, if it's time to go. And I know it's such a hard job for Mom B to take such good care of him. But I just don't want to not have him with us. Of all the people I love, Dad B has a special soft spot all his own in my heart. I truly love him and feel a special bond with him. 
The Double B left last night to spend the rest of the week with him, to help in the hospital and hopefully relieve some of the burden for his Mom. We are going for a quick recovery, but we also know he is in the Lord's merciful and wise hands.