Today was the funeral for my dear Grandpa Forsyth. I was completely unprepared for the amount of emotion I would be feeling today. I admit that over the past 13 years, my relationship with my Grandpa has been sporadic, due to me living all over the country, his poor health, then him moving to Denver, and well, my lack of keeping better touch.
But today, as all the stories were shared at the funeral, I was hit by a wave of memories of him, and I was struck with the recollection of how involved he was with my childhood.
When I was in elementary school, my Grandpa and Grandma Forsyth only lived two blocks away from me. I would often walk to their house after school. Grandma and Grandpa would babysit me regularly. Later, Grandpa and I would have multiple paper-routes together. There were times when he would help me with my route, and times when I would help him with his. When I was in high school, he would frequently give me rides home because I would miss the bus due to debate or track or other extra curricular activities. I’ve only only described some of the mechanics of how he and I most often interacted, but let me next describe the attitude, example and spirit that always would pervade our encounters.
He was always cheerful. That is what I always remember about him. He liked to laugh. He was jolly. He was always smiling. He had a spring in his step. His life had just as many deep challenges as the next person’s, but he always seemed to be above the challenges in his life so that he was able to put on a happy smiling face. He’s one of the happiest people I ever knew, and also one of the hardest workers. I knew that he was not happy because his life was easy, but because he chose to be and because his faith was in God, who could truly deliver happiness to Him.
He used to be in my church unit (ward) and he would share his testimony almost every single month. (Once a month in the Mormon religion members of the congregation are invited to utilize an open microphone to share their feelings of Jesus and His gospel and the LDS church). Not only would Grandpa be the only one I knew to get up and share almost every single month, but he was always so full of Joy as he spoke. He would beam with joy as he shared about God’s goodness to him in giving him the gospel and his posterity and as he shared about other things that had filled his heart with gratitude.
Grandpa is truly one of my heroes. He was always upbeat. And he was so devoted to God. I remember about 5 years ag0, when his health arleady was no that great, he was the ward mission leader. I remember him asking my help to print something from his computer so he could fulfill his calling and he was so incredibly grateful to me that I helped him do that. Service to God and obeying God were paramount in his life and those things brought him great joy.
He took righteousness seriously and I remember that once he washed one of my brother’s mouths (or was it my mouth?) out with soap after one of us had said something truly innapropriate.
It’s amazing to me that he took such an interest in me. Technically speaking, I was his step-grandson. And it wasn’t just that he treated me like a true grandson, but as exhibited by
-the countless rides from school
-teaching me work through paper routes
-showing me the the power of optimism and having a good attitude
-showing me he loved me enough to correct me
and everything else he did for me, he truly treated me like a son.
I love my grandpa. I’m sure he was not perfect as I remember him to be because I know he was human. Perhaps doing so much right has the effect of helping people to forget the little that one has done wrong. I certainly remember him as perfect. There is surely so much more he did for me and so much more worthy of sharing, but the passage of time has left my memory mostly with his thematic impressions on my heart.
Below are some pictures of my grandpa during his last couple year, when things were really tough for him medically. You will notice that yes, he is still smiling. I miss him dearly, mostly because I want him here on this earth to be one more shining light to remind me how to live right. I love you grandpa. You are and always will be one of my heroes.