Where do I start? A couple of months ago my grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It hit with a vengeance and Grandpa Thompson passed away last Tuesday. I have been so blessed to have had all four of my grandparents throughout my childhood and into my adult life. I guess I took it for granted that they were always around because I have learned so much about him in the last week since his passing that I just never knew before. For example, while I was aware that he was an extremely talented musician, I didn't know that he played his violin in the San Francisco World's Fair when he was nine years old. Also, I did not know that his work for Boeing as an engineer included helping with the lunar lander and assisting with the engineering that fixed the oxygen problem in the Apollo 13 mission. I also learned this week that the violin my mom plays was originally my grandfather's and that he gave it to her when she was big enough to play an adult sized violin, rather than the child-sized one on which she had learned. I knew my grandfather was an avid family history buff, but didn't know that he had a chair in his back room that was covered in a sheet that came over on the Mayflower. I knew my grandfather loved the outdoors and had been involved with the Boy Scouts for most of his life, but I was not aware of the extensive reach his scouting activities and projects had. I am so grateful for a grandfather who accepted the gospel and grasped the iron rod firmly with one hand, while clinging to his family with the other. He was a pioneer in the gospel and I thank him for the testimony he instilled in my mother so that she could in turn instill it in me.
I am glad I had the opportunity to get some pictures of my grandfather with Liliana with my grandfather at her blessing back in March, while he was still healthy. I will always remember how much Grandpa Thompson loved babies and let us all know that they were the real reason he attended all the family functions (though we knew he loved seeing us too). Though Liliana won't remember him, I know his life has laid a great foundation for her and the generations that will follow.
I am sooooooo thankful for the Plan of Salvation and for my knowledge of it. It has made this temporary separation from my grandfather bearable for my family because we know that we will all be reunited on the other side. Grandpa has simply gone on ahead and will continue in the Lord's service on the other side. I love you, Grandpa, and told you so many times. And even though you weren't the type to openly show affection or emotions, I know you love me too.