Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Sweet Grandpa

My Grandpa Harry is such a sweet man. He is also, extraordinarily humble, generous, kind, forgiving, incredibly intelligent, patient, - the list could go on and on. I chose sweet in my first statement because that seems to be the prevailing characteristic in our conversations lately.

Some of my earliest memories of Grandpa are of him putting one hand on top of my head, and one hand under my chin and he would tilt my head and plant a scratchy kiss on my cheek. Then he would chuckle just so and pat my head twice. He's done it every time I've seen him for the last 30 years.

Grandpa's memory is amazing and having lived through so much, he has incredibly detailed stories to tell of WW2 and life in small town Idaho. I am currently transcribing a memoir of his about his experiences and the experiences of many of his friends from WW2. What an incredible project that has been for me.

He came from humble beginnings, but he's a hard worker and has accomplished much with his life. He went to college and became a pharmacist, eventually owning his own drug store in the small town where he and grandma raised their four children and lived for about 35 years.

Grandpa has served faithfully in many callings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Including as a missionary in Mongolia - at the age of 70.

Grandpa has always been the picture of health to me. He's always taken such good care of himself and is very independent. He's always chopped his own firewood for their wood burning stove and he's had a season ski pass at a local resort up through this last winter, at the age of 83.

This winter might be a different story...

At the beginning of August, I got word that Grandpa was being taken in for some tests because they thought he may have had a stroke. After several tests and scans and you name it, it was determined that he has a melanoma the size of a softball on his lung, as well as several small tumors on his brain. He underwent some pretty aggressive radiation treatment for the brain tumors and went through a round of chemotherapy for the melanoma, but has had some other health issues (blood clots, low sodium, etc.) that have made the treatment more difficult for him. After a close shave last night when he became unresponsive for a time, he was reevaluated by his oncologists and they have decided to stop his cancer treatment for now - until medically, he is strong enough to deal with it.

Grandpa, however, is adamant that without some quality of life, he'd rather move on to whatever is waiting for him on the other side.

I don't know what the future holds, but I'm so grateful to have Grandpa Harry in my life. He's such a good, good man and there is so much about him to admire. I guess I'm hoping some of it carries on to my son, grandpa's namesake, Jackson Harold.


  1. Oh, Michelle! I wasn't expecting to cry first thing this morning. What a sweet tribute to a sweet Grandpa.

    Your grandparents have always treated me as if I were there own. Your whole family has, actually. I hold the Allsop family on a pedestal!

    I was just wondering how Grandpa was doing the other day. In fact, I was thinking about him just yesterday, I believe.

    Grandpa has lived a wonderful life and for him, it will only get better. Lets just hope that if the Lord calls him home, he will pass in as little pain as possible.

    I'm sure that little Jackson will get his great qualities. Just like I'm sure my little Ashley Michelle will get yours!


  2. What a sweet post Michelle. Jack definitely has some big shoes to fill. He really is AMAZING! Wish you were closer. Love you!

  3. Well Shelley, today Grandpa promised me he'd still be here when I come home for Christmas. I hope the Lord will allow him to stay with us until then, but only if he can have the quality of life he desires. I take comfort in knowing that he has not suffered one single bit to this point. He has had no pain or nausea or anything. He is such a spiritual giant and I have been filled this week. I gave him a big hug for you and he wanted me to tell you that he loves you and he's so proud of you. I love you too big sis! Thanks for being so great.