grandpa stanley

This is Grandpa Stanley.

He left this life on November 15, 2010. He was 94. I loved him very much.

I've been putting off blogging for a long time because I've felt I needed to write about him before I could move on to writing about anything else. And all my emotions are difficult to put into words, so I have just let time slip away without writing.

Grandpa was the most positive, happy person I ever knew. I never saw him frown. Never heard him complain or say a mean thing about anybody. He raised six girls {number 5 is my mom} in a tiny little house, and before that house they lived in another tiny house that he built himself and that didn't have indoor plumbing. He and grandma didn't have many worldly possessions, but they had each other and they had faith in the Savior, and that was all the treasure they could ask for in this life. They were so happy.

I remember every time Grandpa was around he would greet me {and everyone} with a big smile, a big hug, three kisses, and a, "Well, hello there, Heather!" He made me feel like I was the most important person that he'd ever talked to.

He let us pick boxes and boxes of apricots. Showed my kids the raspberries growing in the garden. Shared little green grapes and fat red tomatoes from his garden in the summer. He'd wave and wave as I'd drive away from his little yellow house until I couldn't see him anymore in the rear view mirror.

He was full of energy and life right down to the end. There's a picture of me riding on his back like he was my horse when I was three. There's a picture of him riding down a hill on skateboards with me and my cousins Joi and Lindsie. There's a memory in my mind of his voice singing with Grandma while playing his guitar, "It's June in January because I'm in love..."

Why didn't I go visit more often?

He became sick on October 24th, 2010, with an aneurism near his abdomen. He was in so much pain. Yet he cooked breakfast for Grandma that morning anyway. He took such good care of her. I wasn't worried at the time he checked into the hospital because he was supposed to live forever. He was mowing his own lawn and driving to the store for groceries and Diet Coke just this past summer. He wasn't going to leave us, not yet.

Then more complications arose while he was at the hospital. I took the kids with me to see him there and it was such a shock to see him in that way. He looked more frail and old than I had ever seen him. He was a little confused and our conversation didn't make much sense. But he held Olivia's little hand and he got to see baby Will. The nurses tried to help him stand up and he had such a hard time, "like a ton of bricks" he said.

I went to North Carolina with Mom and Erika, and Mom came home early because she was so afraid to not see him again.

The day after I got home from that trip, Dad called and said that they were taking him off the oxygen and it wouldn't be long until he was gone.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to be there. But then I decided to go. I sobbed and sobbed in the car. A chapter in my life was ending. My Grandma was losing her husband. My mom was losing her "Daddy." Life was moving much too quickly.

I missed him by 5 minutes.

Mom said that just before he passed away, Grandma went over to him and kissed his face all over. He was unresponsive at this point. But as she kissed him she said, "I love you! I love you forever!" Just then Grandpa raised his shoulders twice, as if he was trying to hug her. Then his last breath came with a single tear that ran down his cheek.

The tear was still there when I saw him.

I hugged Grandma and she said, "I'm lucky, because I had him for 72 years. Not many people can say that." That's for sure. They loved each other more than anything.

The funeral service was probably the best meeting I've ever been to in a church. My mom and each of my aunts spoke for about 5 minutes, talking about favorite memories. We laughed and we cried. I wanted to be a better person, I wanted to be like him.

I still think about him everyday, and I'm sure I will for the rest of my life. I love you Grandpa.

Glenn Foster Stanley in his blessing gown, 1916.
{I guess the boys wore them too back in the day!}

With his parents Loyd and Hannah Stanley,
his sister Ella, and little brother Lorin.

Grandma and Grandpa's band, the "Rythm Wranglers," 1946. Grandpa was nicknamed "Kurly" and Grandma {Elaine} was "Prairie Rose." They were the all time most popular radio show in Vernal, Utah. They built a dance hall and played there on weekends, and hundreds of people would pay to come and dance, and listen to their music.

Becky Jo {my mom} and Grandpa. Mom was 5 years old here.

Grandma, Grandpa, Becky Jo, Terry, Gail, Kaye, and newlyweds Harley and Carla.
Aunt Shelley wasn't born yet.

Grandpa with me and my cousins Joi and Lindsie, camping at Lodgepole for Swiss Days.
Grandpa was such a good sport!

Summer 2009