My brother Randall pins his boutonniere to my grandpa's hat at the cemetery.
Sorry for the late post today. I just returned from my grandpa's funeral in Idaho tonight and have been thinking on the drive home about what I wanted to remember — and share.
Here are a few memories that stood out:
- Grandpa Dean worked as a custodian at my elementary school, as I mentioned in this post, and my aunt shared this story during the funeral. One day as Grandpa was cleaning the gym, he saw a mouse scurry across the floor — and since no rodent was going to invade the school on his watch, he smashed the mouse with a quick stomp of his cowboy boot. A few minutes later, one of the kindergarten teachers came out of her classroom and said, "Mr. Law, our gerbil escaped from its cage. If you could keep an eye out for him, that would be great."
- Grandpa loved Beulah Lake in Yellowstone National Park, which can only be reached by a long, mosquito-infested hike through the woods. One summer, the mosquitoes were so bad that my grandma pulled out my Uncle Mike's cloth diapers and gave them to each of the kids to wrap around their heads so they could keep hiking — but they got lost going to the lake and never found it that trip (and the "diaperheads" and their parents made it back to the car only by a miracle).
- My grandpa was a poet (something I never knew until today), and wrote a poem for each of his kids when his son Mike was killed to tell them how much he loved them. He also wrote a beautiful tribute to my grandma that his best friend read during the funeral.
- Though he lived in Utah for 25 years, my grandpa was a true Idahoan and always proclaimed his love for his beloved stomping ground — and he instilled that love in my family and me. To this day, though I've been in Utah for several years now, I still cheer when we cross the Idaho border and feel pride in the beautiful state that I grew up in and still love (and always will).
- Grandpa Dean was a cowboy through and through and always said he wanted to leave this world with his boots on. He may not have had his boots on as he quietly passed through this life to the next, but I can picture him tromping through heaven leaving boot prints wherever he goes.
It was hard to say a final goodbye to my grandpa and touch his casket before they lowered it into the ground. But as I sang a song I've sung since I was about three years old at his funeral today, "Families Can Be Together Forever," I knew it was true: We will see our grandfather again, and we will be together forever as a family. That knowledge is so comforting amid the sorrow of a cold granite grave in a lonely Idaho cemetery.
My brother sang this song at the gravesite as a tribute to my grandpa, and I love the lyrics and the beautiful melody. He actually played it at a memorial service for my uncle last year and knew that my Grandpa liked it, too. I hope you find it as comforting as my family has.