Last weekend I got to head up to Utah to celebrate this woman’s life with my family:…and the mark she made on the world through her life and her marriage and her children and her values and her faith.
We also celebrated the life she lived with that great man up there above and the love story they had, and that they finally get to be reunited after 53 years apart.
Sadly I couldn’t bring everyone, so since Grace was due for a little extra TLC, she got to come along to be the “record-keeper.” She was in charge of bringing all the news and reports back to our family here in the desert.So grateful for that girl of mine!
And for my family who welcomed her so heartily.
We had an MFME breakfast to start off the day after they picked us up at the airport.
While my siblings, parents and I had quite the reunion.
Including the most gorgeous hike up Toll Canyon…
…filled with beauty…
(I love Fall with all my heart I tell you, I even like when there are smooshed leaves in the dirt. We just don’t get enough of it here in the desert!)
Along with that beauty we soaked in, we also soaked in deep, deep discussions about life and all it’s intricacies.
My Dad even sat down to spew out some of his wisdom at the top.
How did we get so lucky to get to call these two our parents?
Just FYI, this smart, witty, talented, gorgeous youngest sister is available to date at this point 🙂…I’m just sayin’…her blog is HERE.
We had a feast together that night, complete with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that melt in your mouth. I’ll see if Saren will let me share the recipe for on Thursday 🙂
As we prepared the food we went through my Grandpa’s old journal, chronicling his love for my Grandma when they first met and how he tried so hard to earn her love.
…and had more great decisions as we ate.
We stayed up late, late, late talking and looking through pictures and finding out one of my brothers gets to have another baby.
Went to church together at my sister’s ward en route to Logan where the funeral was.
…but I only got pictures of the boys…
…and these pretty leaves Grace was working on some photography skills to catch.
Once we arrived in Logan we got to hang out with ALL my cousins on that side of the family. Every single one of them was there, but somehow we missed Patrick in this picture…
Boy I love them.
Sooooo many memories with these people I tell you.
The viewing was filled with memories. I LOVE these old pictures my Dad’s cousin brought along we had never seen before.
My grandma is on the front left on this one:
…and she’s fourth from the left in this one:
Dancing was her life when she was younger.
Here she is with her four young boys:
This one breaks my heart wide open…I think it must have been taken not too long after my Grandpa died.:Can you just see the anguish on my Grandma’s face? Makes me tear up just to look at it.
Here are all these kids she raised up to be such good people…these are their missionary pictures:They all served full-time missions and got college degrees…all raised below the poverty line through the help of that mother of theirs who worked her tail off for them and rationed out food and money to make things happen. She was amazing.
Here they all are at the viewing.
Here they are with their families (not very many of the grandkids’ spouses could come so these are just the parents and biological kids).
My Uncle Chris:
My Uncle Rawlin:
My Uncle Kevin:
And my Aunt Sherri:
We met so many wonderful people at the viewing.
So many cherished friends of my grandparents who had stories to tell, all hunched over with age and spilling out the sweetest stories and memories to share.
One of my favorites was the sweetest man who got tears in his eyes when he talked about how my Grandpa was his best friend.
Another favorite was Elder Cook (one of the apostles in our church leaders so it was really special to have him there), who came and told us stories about how when he was young he moved into the church area where my Grandpa was one of the leaders. His own father (Elder Cook’s) wasn’t very into church-going but my Grandpa took him right under his wing and he and my Grandma made him feel so welcome to everything. He sparkled with love as he told us a few stories and we held onto every word.
After the viewing we headed to my Grandma’s house and had the opportunity to share all kinds of memories. The spirit was thick as we laughed and cried together about that great woman.
A few of my favorite memories:
–spending time with her at the Joy School
–how she taught us to work hard…she always had a project going for us whether it was cleaning something out or setting the table or picking apples from her apple tree
–even though she lost her memory the last few years of her life, she never got grumpy. You could always feel her love so strong even when she would ask you over and over and over again who you were.
After that we each got to take one of my Grandma’s very cherished puzzles she made and used in the Joy School for oh so many years.
She was so particular about those things and kept the pieces all together for years and years and years.
Here are some of my brothers downstairs reminiscing.
We found some old love notes she and my Grandpa wrote to each other.
Heart-melters each one. Made me so happy to know that they finally get to be back together.
We went super-late-night to Wendy’s…have to have a pic of that because oh boy do I love to be with my funny family.
Grace and I split off on our own after that and had a little mother/daughter sleep-over.
We had poisoned Twizzlers and all. You had to be there to get that 🙂Love her so much.
Logan is so incredibly gorgeous this time of year. I couldn’t help taking pictures everywhere we went.
That “A” tower is where my parents got engaged when they went to Utah State:
See what I’m talking about?
The next morning was the funeral.
Complete with more great pictures:
…And more great visitors:
Elder Perry was in my Grandma’s same class in high school. He is four days older than her (91). He was so sweet to drive all the way to Logan and spend the morning with us. He’s the one who brought up the “Make Your Mark” thing in his talk at the funeral.
He talked about how my Grandma “made her mark” in life. Then he asked us all to think about how we were all going to make our own marks on the world. I wish I had a recording of it because it was so incredibly powerful.
And the funeral was also filled with the most beautiful music from my talented cousins. I’ll have to figure out how to post a recording of that because it was pretty enough to make you cry.
The cemetery was so beautiful we just knew our Grandma would want us to smile and enjoy it.
And record it 🙂
Grace gathered leaves to bring home to each of her siblings.
The church took care of such a great lunch for us. We loved hanging out with my Grandma’s sister who looks so much like her.
Squishy ride back to the airport.
Have I mentioned how much I love my brothers?
We dropped everyone off at the airport…
Then Grace and I continued our date for just a tad bit longer at Temple Square.
Got some new “ornaments” for our “travel boxes.“
As I’ve said before, I LOVE the quote that says “If you allow your children to touch the temple, the temple will touch them.”
Grace “touched” a few other temples in Utah in a more creative way as we drove around:
Yeah…there are a lot of them!
A very kind lady stuck with us a while to try to get a jumping shot, but this was the best we could do:
Love this place.
We had a sweet tour guide who showed us into the conference center where conference was just held:
Ran into a blog reader while crossing the street so didn’t get to say hi much…so HI! She and her family are dots down there:
Finished it off with a little dinner at the Lion House.
And headed home to share pictures and stories and love with our family.
Phew, if you made it through all those pictures you are a champ.
So grateful for such an opportunity, and to be reminded to make my own mark like my Grandma did through all those 91 years of living life to the fullest through the ups and the downs that she was given.
So grateful for my faith in the Plan of Salvation and that I’ll get to see her and my Grandpa again some day.