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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lessons From a Life Well Lived

This past week my mind has been full of thoughts and ideas. All of these thoughts and ideas have been spinning around in there and I wanted to write them down. In my head, they will all come out in a beautifully written inspirational message. This is what I imagine, the reality will probably be much different, but I will try anyway. This past week was a difficult one for my family, my Grandpa Bogus passed away. While this was no great tragedy, he was 87 and had lived an amazing life, he is gone from us now and that does cause some pain. Pain, and reflection. I consider myself very lucky to have had my Grandpa in my life for this long. The only Grandparent James has ever know is his maternal Grandmother and she lived in England and he was only able to see her a few times as a child. My Grandparents live in Provo and I was able to spend lots of time with them. They had always been there for me, and as I got older, it seemed like they just might live forever. So my Grandpa's passing brought to light the fact that, no, they won't live forever. The thought ran through my head that I would imagine many people have when someone dies: if I had known the last time I saw him was the last time I would ever see him, it would have been different. I am so grateful to still have my Grandma, and being able to spend time with her during all this was very special. Thursday night was the viewing for my Grandpa. It was nice to be able to see so many Aunts, Uncles, and cousins, some that I haven't seen in a long time, but most I do see and talk to often. This was another great blessing that came from this. I realized how lucky I am to have so many Aunts and Uncles and cousins in my life. We grew up together and when we all get together as adults we tell all the same stories of our childhood and laugh and laugh. I love it. My cousins have spouses and children, and I am so lucky that they are a part my life too. At the viewing I made my way over to where my Grandma was sitting and knelt down next to her so I could talk to her. She leaned in and spoke right into my ear. I'm not sure what I expected her to say, something about my Grandpa I guess, but that's not what she said. She reminded my of some health issues that my Dad, her son, is having. She told me I need to make sure that I talk to my Dad about it and make sure he is taking care of himself. The thought struck me so hard, that at her husbands viewing she was not talking about him, or even herself, but about her son. Even at 87 years old with her son in his 60's, she was still a mother, concerned about his health. As a mother this meant so much to me and when I really thought about it I realized that I will be the same way. No matter how old your children are, they are yours and you will love them and care for them no matter the circumstance.
My brother, some of my cousins, and I were pallbearers for the funeral on Friday. I was really happy to have a part in the funeral and this job created an amazing opportunity for us. After the funeral service all the pallbearers rode with my Grandma to the cemetery so we would be ready to carry the casket to the burial sight. During the drive my Grandma told us all stories of my Grandpa and of our parents when they were young. Stories that I hadn't heard before, one was this: When my Grandpa was a boy his family lived in Carbon County, during the summers he and his sister would stay with a friend for a week or so in the next town over. My Grandpa and his sister, Clarice, would walk, following the train tracks, the whole way to theirs friends home. My Grandpa was in charge of carrying the suitcase full of the clothes they would need for the week. Grandpa would dawdle along and his sister would end up going on ahead of him. When they reached their destination it was discovered that none of Clarice's clothes were in the suitcase, Grandpa had taken them out one by one and discarded them along the tracks, but left his clothes alone. The drive to the cemetery took us past BYU campus and Grandma told us that Grandpa, an electrician, had been in charge of all the electrical work for several of the buildings on campus. Grandma also told us of slippery sliding in her back yard. My Grandparents yard has this amazing hill that is perfect for the slip -n-slide. As kids, my cousins and brother and I spent many summers sliding down that hill on huge sheets of plastic our dad's would get for us. Apparently, us grand-kids didn't invent that activity, our parents had been doing long before. Grandma said she about 40 years old and was out on the slippery slide with her kids. She told us that her neighbor was looking out her bedroom window at my Grandma sliding down the hill with her kids and asked her husband what he thought of a grown women slippery sliding. He said it looked like fun and she replied, "go get my suit". Grandma said that now as she looks back on that experience, 40 seemed so very young. I thought about my own life as a mother, I am closer to 40 than I am to 20 and I hope at that age I am still getting down and playing with my kids. The drive to the cemetery also took us right past Grandma and Grandpas house. There is a park right across the street from their house and as we passed Grandma said, "For years the only thing up that flag pole was my boys. I don't know how they did it, but everyone of them managed to shimmy themselves up to the top." Being in the car with my brother, cousins, and Grandma, seems like such a huge gift. Something so special that I got to experience. I will remember that forever, and I am so thankful I was there.
Last of all, this experience has renewed my gratitude for my faith. I am so grateful for the things I know to be true, I know where my Grandfather is and how happy he must be. I know I will see him again. I am so grateful for the spirit that guides me in this life, that comforts me in times of sorrow. I love my family, every single one of them and I am grateful for the lessons I have been able to learn this week. I hope to become an old granny, telling my grand kids awesome stories and seeing the life I have lived spread out before me.

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