It would have been this Grandpa of mine’s 100th birthday last week.

I have never met him, yet I feel such a closeness to him. I always have. Oh I have heard many stories about him so I know that’s had a part in creating the bond. But I feel like I have a connection with him that is more than just that. I am touched to tears almost every time we talk about him.

He and my Grandma had a beautiful love story. He wrote in a journal so we have the sweetest lines about the two of them falling in love. Their love reached beyond the fact that he dealt with some health problems. Problems serious enough that they both knew he may not be around long enough grow old with her. But they forged forward and had a family: four boys followed by one little girl. When my dad, the oldest, was fifteen, his father passed away. I have always felt such sorrow that my dad lost his dad at such a young age…that this family was left without their father.

Love them all so much, and grateful for the lives they have forged on to create. I like to think of that loving father surely watching them and loving them from Above.

This past week in remembering that dad of his on his 100th birthday, my dad started an email chain with some memories of him. He shared the letter his dad wrote to him shortly before he passed away. That letter is precious beyond rubies, so filled up with love and faith, and makes me cry each time I read it. This time around, I was so touched by a few of the phrases I decided we should memorize those lines as a family. I mean, we carry around the “impossible” journal entry from my Grandma (back HERE), we should carry around a piece of this grandparent too.

So I printed it out and had it ready to go for this week.

Fast forward to yesterday.

Claire’s friend passed away after complications from a serious car accident. My heart is SO HEAVY for his family. The two of us had a teary prayer for them, huddled together pleading for them to feel so much love at this time. Feeling like the world should just stop for a while to take in this huge loss. My heart reaches out for them, a family I don’t even know who are so filled up with grief right now, and trying to understand. Perhaps I never will. Life just doesn’t make sense sometimes.

My heart aches for Claire and her friends too. This is the fourth friend to pass away in less than a year. How can this keep happening? How does a teenage heart deal with this? It can make or break them I think. As I grappled for words of comfort, I remembered the letter from my Grandpa printed out to share more deeply with my kids this week. I pulled it out during dinner and read it, trying to keep my voice from choking up, and somehow, some way, my Grandpa said the perfect things to Claire (and to me) at that moment all those years after he wrote that letter.

Thank you, Grandpa.

Claire headed out last night, puffy-eyed and splotchy to go to the temple grounds with her friends.

I’m so grateful that’s where they chose to go and look for peace.

So many prayers going out for this family trying to wade through thick sorrow. And so much gratitude for my Grandpa and the tangible love he left behind. How I hope that this family will find some things, like this letter, to help them stay connected. That they can hear that son of theirs once in a while in the wind, through the trees, feel his love and goodness in their daily lives.

Similar Posts


  1. First thing I thought of when I saw the wedding picture & before I read your post was: Claire looks so much like her grandma!
    I’m sorry she had another loss of a friend. Life can be so hard, especially this past year. She’s so blessed to have a wonderful family support system.

    1. I never thought of that but now that I look at it, I do see some similarities between Claire and her “Grandma Great.”

  2. Sending love and prayers for comfort and peace- for Claire, her friend’s family, and other friends suffering this loss. I got teary eyed when you mentioned they chose to go to the temple. They know. That fills my heart. I once heard it said if you are missing a loved one, don’t visit them at the cemetery- visit them at the temple.

  3. I absolutely love old pictures! One thing that stands out to me in those old photos you shared is how tired your dads mother looks in that photo with her kids. She looks so serious compared to her smiling children. I could just be reading into that wrong but as moms we do all we can to make our kids happy – especially during hard times. She obviously had a lot more to carry as a single parent in that photo and look what a great job she did with all those smiling kiddos!
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. That’s exactly what I think when I look at that picture. I’m so sad she had to lose him so young, and he was so sad to leave, but together they created such a legacy and I love them so much!

  4. Are you able to share some of the words from your grandfather that spoke to your heart? Understand completely if they are private, but wondered if they would also comfort others in hard times

  5. Love this Shawni! I agree that Grandma looks soooo sad and heaviliy laden in that picture. Love that you are paring up these wonderful thoughts from Grandparents. Dad and I are devastated that Claire has lost another friend! That is astonishing and so very sad!

  6. I’m so comforted that you feel connected to the grandpa you’ve never met. My daughters are 3 and 5 and have already lost both grandparents on my husband’s side. Part of our grief has been around our daughters never getting to have them in their lives, but it sounds like they could still share a special connection, too. Thank you for sharing, and I’m so sorry for Claire’s loss.

    1. I think they will. Keep telling them stories about those lost grandparents and they are bound to feel more connected. I’m so grateful for all the stories my parents have shared. I think they are what sparked so much more love from me. But there is something even deeper with this Grandpa. So grateful for him and the message of love he left for his family. And for me.

  7. I am so sorry to hear of the lost of another young person in Claire’s life…1 is too many and multiples are just heart breaking. As a teen I went through the same thing….an ex boyfriend in a late night car accident just a week after I broke up with him….and then another boy that I only dated once…but still a friend..and a few more…I think of them on the anniversary of their deaths~even though it’s been more than 40 years ago…praying still for their families and the missed moments and memories. Pryaing for Claire that her faith is stregnthened and that she feels the prayers of many who are lifting her up through your blog.

    1. Oh I’m so very sorry for those losses. That is so tough for a teenager, especially as close as you were to them. I love that you still pray for their families and hold their memories close. Thank you for the prayers and love, we are sending so many to this friend’s family who I know are mourning so deeply.

  8. Sending love and prayers for comfort and peace- for Claire, her friend’s family, and other friends suffering this loss. I got teary eyed when you mentioned they chose to go to the temple.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *