There have been a lot of tears in our home this past week.

The world has lost a very good, kind, compassionate man; and heaven has gained a valiant angel.

It came quite unexpectedly as Gramps was young, healthy, active and vibrant at the beginning of summer.  Even once the doctors found cancer they said it was slow-growing and treatable.  Then each additional update was more concerning. D was leaving for the airport to fly from Korea to Canada to visit Gramps when we heard he had died.

I didn’t grow up spending summers with Gramps on the farm like my husband did; but from the moment I first met Gramps, I was his family.  He was a protector and a nurturer.  He would bend over backwards to be able to help or support us in anyway.  We always felt loved and cared for by Gramps.

Last summer we went to “the farm” in Canada to visit Grams & Gramps and for our kids to experience all the things my husband enjoyed there as a child.

We flew into (Great Falls, MT), an airport about 3 hours from the farm.  And we arrived in the middle of the night.  Guess who was parked at the curb in his suburban waiting for us when we arrived?  Yep.  Gramps.  He had brought pillows, blankets, snacks and a DVD for the kids to be comfortable on the long drive.  He was worried about D and I being tired, so he drove the whole way.  I think we arrived at the farm around 4 am.

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Often there are quite a few family members at the farm, but it was just us, D’s mum and Grams & Gramps.  This was pretty special because it meant our kids spent all their time interacting and making memories with Grams & Gramps.

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21 Weeks Pregnant with the Twins

Gramps was the first person on D’s side that we told about the pregnancy.  We were outside the stable, readying the horses to ride and Gramps offered to saddle one up for me.  D said, “she can’t ride because she’s pregnant.”  Then Gramps stopped what he was doing and looked at me with a big grin declaring, “well is that so.”  He was doubly pleased to hear it was twins.  I told Gramps, “I’m sure you could tell just by looking at me.”  He generously said something along the lines of, “No, you just look like you’ve been enjoying a little ice cream after dinner….like we all should.”  (Gramps is a huge proponent of ice cream.  He had a deep freezer dedicated to it.  When you are around Gramps you always have delicious “double churned” chocolate ice creams. He also will make you a green smoothie every morning, with a huge straw so you can slurp up all the goodies like mini chocolate chips and sun flower seeds or pine nuts.)

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She was scared to feed the horse but Gramps gently, tenderly, patiently showed her how fun it could be.

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Eating Gram’s famous dough babies

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See that sad little girl in the above picture.  Normally she loves dirt in any form so her dad pelted her relentlessly with mudballs. She was not a fan (although surprisingly her brother who abhors getting dirty had a grand old time.)  While daddy and brother were laughing and rolling in the mud; Gramps put his arm around this little lady. led her into the water, and while she continued WAILING he pulled off her muddy shirt, rinsed it in the water, and with the utmost care and tenderness, gently wiped all the mud off her while telling her a story.  (Look at the splash in the right corner, D is still firing…)

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Every day at the farm, Gramps and Bradshaw would go out horseback riding for several hours.  They’d come in around lunch time, get some water and within minutes Bradshaw would be begging Gramps to go out and ride the horses with him “just a little more.”  Gramps usually would sit in his comfy recliner with the massage pad, take a quick nap, and they’d be back out on the horses.  Gramps sure made a cowboy out of Bradshaw!river bottom

the farm

Tonight B was crying that he will never see Gramps again.  He is so sad that he will never get to ride horses with him again.

We told B to not forget how he feels.  It’s hard when you love someone so much because then when you are away from them you miss them so much.  When we think of how VERY BADLY we want to see them again and be with them again we are motivated to work hard to get to heaven.

B:  but that’s SOOOO much work.  It’s too hard.  What if I can’t do it?  …then I will never see him again (he begins crying harder.)

US:  Yeah, It is hard.  It is work.  But it is totally doable. You CAN do it!  Jesus made it so that everyone CAN do it. Jesus made it possible.

B: I know.  … know if Jesus didn’t [make it possible], no one would be able to go there.  We’re pretty lucky he did that for us.