Saturday, April 25, 2009

A certain breed

There is a certain breed of human being that I have always admired.  The kind of people who will, without hesitation, set themselves to work.  The kind of leaders who pick up a shovel and join their workers; the kind of men who see a task and set themselves to its completion without question or complaint.  People with selfless devotion to service.
My Grandfather, Evan Allan Larsen, past away last Thursday.  He left quietly, in the hospital, after a brief bout with cancer.  His daughter, my aunt Annette, was at his side, while my grandmother, mother, and my aunt Emi were in route. 
Emi thinks that he left this plane knowing grandma was on her way, and chose to go before she arrived.  I can't help but agree.  He was always a man of service and action, and it seems fitting that he would choose to go in such a way.  In service to his family; to their feelings and needs.  
My mom alerted me to the diagnosis a few weeks back.  The expectation was that he would go sometime in the summer, and we were arranging to visit as a family.  But I can't seem to think of his quick and quiet exit from the stage as anything but a blessing.  This is a man who took pride in work; in doing.  He was the breed of person I spoke of before.  He was diligent in his work, charitable in his service, and compassionate to a fault.
  He was a carpenter.  He worked tirelessly, even in retirement making little (and large) additions to the home.  Always working, always bettering his environment.  That's why I'd rather not imagine him bed-ridden and useless; his spirit broken and body defeated.  No, it is better this way; that he go before the pain was too great and his body too weak.  
My grandfather understood the NEED to help people.  He always had a knack for uplifting spirits and helping others.  I remember once, as a small child, I made some now insignificant error and found myself in a worrying mood.  When I came to him with my little trouble, he related to me a little story, and a common saying I had not yet heard.  
"No use crying over spilled milk."
And there was no judgement in that saying.  It was simple; the past is the past, and there is no changing it.  So there is no use crying for it.  And while I don't remember the exact situation that prompted Evan's response, it has stayed with me for years.  Always look forward.  No use looking back.
But now it is time to mourn.  It is not only to show love for the dead that we mourn, but to share that love amongst our family and friends.  We all have memories of grandpa and it is best they be shared.  It is best the love for him grows and we can all feel that love.  Share in the love for someone lost.  Though ultimately not lost at all.
He was a good religious man.  And while I have certain disagreements with his beliefs, I have nothing but respect for his diligence and service.  
My mom related a beautiful story to me.  When he was Stake President in Maui, he was going to church once with the Hansen's disease patients on Kalaupapa.  There was a woman tending to the garden there, a woman with the disfigurements that come with Hansen's.  
He said she was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen.  He could see her spirit and it's strength.  He saw her tending to flowers, and saw so much more in her than a leprous woman.  And that is a skill to be praised.  He saw something of Heaven in her, and now I'm sure he has gone to see much more.
And while we can never know what comes after this little time we have, I can't help but imagine Evan in a large green field, walking with a smile on his face, a big black lab running at his side.  Off in service for someone in need.

Bye Grandpa, I miss you tons.  


No comments: