My sweet grandpa rejoined his sweetheart on February 8, 2012. The very next day we loaded up the kids in the car and headed to Utah to attend the funeral services. My grandfather's four children, all 20 grandchildren, and about 60 of the 72 great grandchildren were in attendance. The sheer gathering of this family from all over the country was amazing. Each individual making adaptations to their busy lives to pay respects to a man we all love. He would have loved nothing more than his posterity all in a room together rejoicing in our knowledge of the gospel and the eternal principles that bind families together forever.
For me, there isn't an event more deeply spiritual than a funeral. There is a connection you feel as your loved ones pass from this life into the next that cannot be explained, only felt. When you die at age 96, after a long, happy life, there is much to rejoice! And while we are sad to lose him, we know our time apart is temporary. What an amazing blessing it is to have this knowledge!
I thought my kids would be a little worried about attending the viewing and funeral. A casket can be frightening. But they all handled it so well. They were curious but respectful knowing that Grandpa's spirit is alive and well in heaven, free from all pain and ailments. The sacred moments of the final family prayer, closing the casket, and prayer at the grave site were deeply moving and comforting. It is difficult to explain, but I was so grateful to have those moments with my family as we said goodbye, I can't imagine doing it any other way. I know those services are for us, for the living, to help us as we continue on in our journey on earth. I needed that and felt so blessed to be a part of it.
And what a gathering it was! The section of the church reserved for family was actually 3/4 of the entire chapel! At age 96, there aren't many of your friends still around able to attend your funeral, so the congregation was made up of his posterity and genuine supporters of those people. It was wonderful! To be in the same room with some cousins I haven't seen in years felt more like a party than a funeral. The funeral services were as expected; wonderful, beautiful and heart-felt. The talks were moving, the music was tender, spiritual and uplifting (including a grandchildren choir with all of us...simply amazing!).
Our family at the viewing. What a blessing for my 2 oldest to really know their Great Grandpa Dalley! We saw him at least once a year for the last several years.
My sisters, mom, and I. Thanks to our husbands who took the kids so we could go out to dinner with my parents afterwards.
Addy and Paige at the grave site.
The casket bearers, all 9 grandsons.
The four siblings. My Aunt Jane, Uncle RJ, Aunt Merilyn, and my Dad. My Aunt Merilyn and Uncle Dee took charge of a majority of Grandpa's care for the last several years and in their own home for the last several months. They are incredibly self-less people who took amazing care of him for which the family is very grateful.
Carson and Ty
All the grandsons.
All the granddaughters (minus Erin).
My dad. I can't imagine losing one of my parents, even at age 96. My dad gave an incredible talk at the funeral. The respect he feels for his parents is evident in his words and actions. He too sacrificed much to care for my grandfather, especially since my grandmother has been gone. Visits a few times a week, phone calls, taking him on fishing and other trips, and genuine love and care in true honor of his parents. My dad carries on much of my grandfather's amazing qualities.
One of the last pictures I took of him from this past July. I will always remember the half and half he had on his cereal, the salt he piled on (apparently neither affected his longevity!), how cool I thought he was for loving Dr. Pepper, his sweet chuckle, his generosity, his sincere love of people (and ability to find someone he knew in any situation), his incredible memory, his love of family, and his life long devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As my cousin said, it wasn't by accident that his posterity continues to grow as a group of followers of Christ, doing their very best to raise good families as they enjoy the blessings the gospel brings...it was because of my grandparents devotion to the gospel and their incredible examples of righteous living. I know for certain that I have been blessed and impacted by their choices and example. And I pray I can continue that example with my own family.
Now reunited with my Grandmother. What a joyous reunion that must have been!
Love to you, Grandpa Dalley. Until we meet again.