Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sterling Stuff

I've mentioned that after Grandpa retired from farming he became a bus driver for BYU. Well, after he retired from driving bus he became a farmer again. He and retirement were not friends. When they moved to the 'big city' (Provo) they kept their home in Fountain Green because Grandpa never wanted to get too far from his roots.

Once or twice a week Grandpa would drive to Fountain Green and tend to his garden. He would pack food for an overnight stay and would work from sun up to sun down. He didn't have a phone so when we needed to talk to him we would call Grandma Lucy and she would walk to the fence and tell Grandpa to come over and call home. Convenient that the properties bordered each other right?

After my grandma got sick Grandpa couldn't go to Fountain Green as often as he would like to, and he could never spend the night. However, twice a week Grandpa would bring Grandma out to Mom's house and we would take care of her so that Grandpa could get away for the day. He loved those afternoons.

Before too many years Grandma got to the point where she didn't recognize anyone. And I think the day she realized that she no longer made sense when she talked was the day she quit talking. She never made a sound, except for an occasional cry of pain or fear. Grandpa's life must have been so lonely.

It was during this time that I learned to love my Grandpa. Up until then, he was always in the background. But watching this man care for the woman I loved more than could I not love him?

I knew without a doubt that Grandpa loved my Grandma, and this is how: every time he left, up until the time she died, Grandpa's routine was the same. He would lift Grandma out of her wheelchair, and into the chair in Mom's living room. He would put a blanket over her lap, and then he would lean down and kiss her and say, "Goodbye. I love you." She never responded, and never acknowledged that she had heard him. She just sat staring straight ahead. He never wavered though. It was always the same: "Goodbye. I love you."

One time I read a quote about one of my ancestors. It said something about her being made of 'sterling stuff.' Grandpa was made of that same 'sterling stuff' and I want to be like him when I grow up.


Tia said...

That post made me cry! I loved it!

Manda said...

Yes...I cried as well. One of the only memories I have of Grandma is when Mom told me to play the piano for her and after a minute or so she told me to stop pestering the dog...the only other memories are vague ones of her sitting in her chair...