Sunday, January 13, 2013


We went to the funeral of Rustin's grandpa this last Saturday. Though Grandpa Geisler was technically Rustin's grandpa I think of him as mine also.  I spent more time with Grandpa G than I did with my own grandparents.  We lived near them in Pocatello for five years and we spent a lot of time at their home.  I still have their address and phone number memorized.

So many experiences will stay with me:

We usually did our laundry at their house.  To get to the laundry room I would walk past grandpa's impressive workshop of model airplanes. If I ever forgot and left a load in the dryer I would find it neatly folded or hung in the laundry room.

Grandpa planted carrots in a big plot on the side of the house.  In the fall he would cover them with leaves so we could eat carrots out of the garden even in the middle of winter.

We crashed their house for many a Sunday dinner. Grandma would serve us slices of slightly frozen fruitcake with pecan  ice cream.  It was the first time I learned that I love fruit cake.  Actually I think I only love Grandma's fruitcake...

One year we had to make a pinewood derby car for a college ward activity.  We went to Grandpa's to borrow one of his many tools and he warned us that the jig saw probably wouldn't be strong enough to cut through the wood.  We tried it anyway and broke the blade.  I'm not sure we ever got a new blade.  Sorry about that...

When we found out we were having twins we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house and told them before we called any of our family.

One year just before we moved to Tennessee our car had to have a door repainted.  We took it to grandpa and he fixed it right up.  He did that for a couple of our cars... He was always working on a car or a model airplane.  When we got to Tennessee we sent them the $60 or so dollars that the supplies had cost.  A week later we got the money back with a note that they thought we needed the money more than they did.  At the time $60 was several months worth of flexible spending money.  It was a huge blessing.

The kids remember one Sunday afternoon when we stopped at their house on our way home from Franklin and we sat and visited in their living room.  Grandpa told us about how he and Grandma used to go dancing. There was another boy who wanted to take grandma home so he and grandpa went outside and had a boxing match to see who got the honor.  Grandpa won.

One of my most vivid memories was last year.  Grandma and Grandpa were at our house visiting and I was sitting on the floor with grandma and grandpa on the couch in front of me.  Grandma asked me if I had heard their news: Grandpa had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  We talked about what they had been told to expect (which wasn't much--no one knew how fast the disease would spread...) and I asked Grandpa how he felt about it.  As we talked I could feel the sorrow and fear and sadness pour through his words.

I swallowed back a horse sized lump in my throat the entire time.  I wanted to weep.

How painful and terrifying to know that you are about to lose yourself?!

And grandpa was so worried about grandma.

But both of them expressed their knowledge that they knew the Lord would be with them and that this would be just one more trial to get through.  Grandpa didn't often talk about spiritual things so this was special.  The spirit was so strong and sweet.  I feel like I shared a moment that will be recorded for eternity.  At least for me.  Faith in the face of fear and sadness is such a great example.  I feel so privileged to have been able to talk to grandpa that day.

Grandpa passed away just a few months later.  He did begin to get more and more confused and I know it was hard for Grandma.  One day he broke a little porcelain bird, and being the fix-it kind of guy he always was, he glued it back together.  Only he glued the wing to the table! How funny and tragic at the same time!

Another summer afternoon when we stopped by we went out on the lawn to fly the airplanes that Grandpa always had for the kids.  He went to sit down in a lawn chair but he was fully four feet away from the chair he thought he was sitting in.  Rustin caught him in the nick of time.  A few months later it was a fall that quickly lead to the physical decline of Grandpa.

We are so grateful that the end went as quickly and peacefully as it did.  Grandpa passed away with his wife and kids at his bedside.  He left us with a heritage of hard work and love and commitment.  I'm so grateful for the temple covenants that put grandpa on my own family history chart.  I'm thankful my husband was nurtured by his grandfather and I know that the lessons he learned have been and will be passed on to our own kids.   I know we will have a smiling face to greet us when we complete our own earthly journey.

1 comment:

sariah said...

Thanks for sharing those tender memories. It actually made me tear up. He was a wonderful grandpa!