Posted by: 1of10boyz | March 23, 2013

Ode to Family

I had a bitter sweet opportunity the 2nd weekend in March. I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the funeral for my Grandmother.

My Grandmother died on March 2, 2013. She was in her 94th year, so in China she would be considered to be 94 while in America she would be considered 93. She celebrated her 93rd Birthday on January 27, 2013. I spent much of my life near to her. Interestingly, when my first grandchild was born I was the same age that she was when I was born. She is roughly 43 years older than I am.

I moved about 200 yards up the street from her when I was 8 years old. After I was married I moved away but returned 20 years later and built my house 25 yards from her. I wanted my children to have the same kinds of experiences that I had growing up around my grandparents and great-grandparents. I spent lots of hours at her house over the years. I appreciate the time that I got to spend with her even more now that she is gone.

At her funeral there was an opportunity to talk about some of the things that we remembered about my grandmother. There were lots of her family that was there, she had a posterity that currently numbers at 184 and more than 2/3 of them were there. Many of these cousins I haven’t seen for many, many years.

It was nice to see these family members even if now we don’t have much in common. It was especially nice to see all of my siblings again. I am the oldest of my father’s children. I have nine younger brothers. This was the first time in 7 years that we have all been together. That is a huge amount of time when you consider the changes that happen in that time period in terms of how a family changes. My children have grown and moved away and begun to have children of their own, by younger brothers have all married and also begun their own families. There is no telling when circumstances will allow this gathering to happen again.

Considering how diverse our lives have become and how we have all become established in careers that take us all over the US and internationally it seems unlikely that it will ever happen again. Considering that it was the passing of my Grandmother that initiated this gathering, and there aren’t any more Grandmas left, the next likely event to cause this gathering is the passing of one of my parents or one of my brothers. A sad thought unfortunately that makes this event even sadder.

Of my Father’s posterity there were only 8 of the family that weren’t there, my Mother and Brother Isaac (both died in 1978), my sister-in-law – BreighAn (baby bed rest), my nephew – Keegan (died in 2008), my nephew – Aaron (entered the MTC bound for Mexico on Mar 6th), my nephew – Boyd (coaching a baseball team in Idaho), my niece – Brooke (playing basketball for BYU-H), and my niece – Dixie (playing basketball in Idaho). Considering the 60 or so family members in my father’s family that was a pretty good turnout and a fitting honor to my grandmother.

I am grateful to this woman, my grandmother. She did a pretty good job with the resources that were at her disposal raising her 5 girls. I know that my mother had a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She had a love of family that was passed to me and I have hopefully passed that to my children. I have a testimony of a restored gospel of Jesus Christ, it impacts everything that I do. That testimony was planted early in my life and was sufficiently established so that it has thrived through all of the challenges I have faced in life. It has made it possible for me to be confident enough to venture off into the unknown of China. I certainly feel better about what I am doing here in China because of the knowledge I have of Jesus Christ and what he has done for me and any that would look to him and live.

I am certain that I will see my Grandmother again in the future that is promised because of the sacrifice of a loving Savior and Redeemer. I look forward to that moment when we can be reunited with all those that have preceded me through the veil of death. I just hope that I can be given as much time as she had to watch my posterity grow and mature. That would mean I have another 43 or so years to go. I hope that I can live it with the dignity that she lived it over these past years.

Thanks Grandma for an example of what family should be about. I will miss you.

My Family

My Family



  1. Our morning walks will be tinged with sadness as we pass your grandmother’s place.

  2. Sweet post, Jerry. Grandma Slater will certainly be missed. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her these last 7+ years. Wish I could have been there to celebrate her beautiful life.

    • I realized that I forgot to include you as one of the missing. I guess I felt like you were there even though we had to stage your photoshop double in the pictures. I like how in this one, we can just steal your photoshop image from the other one and just stick in right back in the picture.

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