Monday, July 14, 2008

My Grandpa Shumway

One week ago yesterday, Sunday July 6th at 10:15 p.m. my sweet, beloved Grandpa Jerry Shumway passed away in his sleep. We were gone to Greer and didn't even find out until Wednesday that he'd passed. He was 92 yrs. old and very ready to go. He had cancer, pretty much throughout his body, and he'd declined rapidly in the last few weeks. So, though I am sad, because I loved him so; I'm also very happy for him. I'm happy that he's free of pain, free of a failing body and mind, and that he's home where he belongs.

My Grandpa was the ONLY of all my grandparents that I really had a relationship with or cared a lot about. He's the only one who ever made a strong effort to ALWAYS be involved somehow in his grandkids life. He lived in Pennsylvania my whole life, until 2 years ago when his kids brought him back to AZ to take care of him. But, even though he lived thousands of miles away, I NEVER felt like I didn't know him, or he didn't care. He sent a birthday card to every single one of his 36 grandkids, and even many of his great grandkids, never missing. I could always count on that card and $1.00, until you turn 8 or 10, then you got $5.00 until you were 18. He sent money for my mission, he came out for my wedding, because I insisted. He was in his mid-80's, and it was hard, but he did it. He was also a writer, he spent most of his days writing and corresponding with his many, many grandchildren, in-laws, friends, etc. His letters were hysterical, he had such a dry wit ahd humor. He never thought he was anything special, but he was so wrong. He was a wonderful, funny, warm, brilliant, loving man.

He was born in PA, raised a devout Methodist. Just before my Dad was born, he and my G'ma joined the church. It was very difficult, their families disowned them for a time. But, they persevered, eventually moving out to AZ to work on the dairy farm of the young missionary who baptized them. My Grandpa was a very hard working man. He was a dairy farmer his whole life, and on that piddly monetary existence, he raised 8 children, lived the gospel, and succeeded in having a great family. He and my "crazy" G'ma divorced when my Dad came home from his mission. In about 1970 or something, he decided to move back to PA and work on his families dairy farm until retirement. But, he still made it out to AZ at least once a year to visit his family and love us grandkids. He could spell any word backward, he was fabulous at Scrabble. He started writing in a journal and never missed even one day for over 30 years. I will miss his sweet little smile, his twinkling eyes and his wry sense of humor. But, I'm so grateful for the 35 years I had to spend with him, to know him and to love him. I'm thankful for his bravery in joining the church, in spite of the obstacles. I'm grateful for his life and example, that I could be where I am today. I'm grateful to be able to call him Grandpa.

Goodbye Grandpa...we'll see you on the other side. Play with Max for me, give him loves and send him down when it's his time.

Love you,


Tara LaRue said...

My prayers and condolences are with you and your family. How wonderful that he was a journal writer. You'll give to live and re-live your grandfather and his life over and over again. What a wonderful legacy!

Mel said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. My Grandma used to send us a card on our birthday with a dollar in it. She had 40 or so grandkids at the time of her passing. A few years later, I found one of her cards with the dollar still in it. I will cherish it forever.
He sounds like he was a pretty awesome guy. :)

LanaBanana said...

Why'd you have to go a make a post like that? I'm sitting here bawling and all messed up. :)

Jamie & Gina Adams Family said...

Sorry to hear that Allyson! You are always in our thoughts and prayers, but we'll make it a little "extra". Wonderful that he leaves behind such an amazing family that have been influenced by his life. True blessing!