So, one of the many reasons that I have not posted for over two months is that my very beloved grandfather, Gary James Chelson, Sr., passed away on July 2. I flew from Austin to Portland to be with my family for the funeral service and the celebration of Grandpa's life. Rejoicing in conversation and song with a whole herd of extended family is a great way to recognize the wonderful posterity and legacy that Grandpa left behind.
The whole family was able to be there except for the two kids on missions, and Andy, who couldn't get out of work. It was great to have everyone together again. The last time that we had all been together was for a very different occasion- my wedding. That's when the family was last together, and we were all laughing and happy and rejoicing in the forging of a new family. Once again we were celebrating the bands of familyhood as we remembered Grandpa and his influence on our of our lives.
I, being one of the oldest grandchildren, remember a lot more about Grandpa than a lot of the younger children. Grandpa is very tall, a giant! And he has very, very large hands. His hands are strong, but very loving. Grandpa loves to serve, and he loves the gospel. He loves his Savior.
Grandpa played lots of games with the kids before his diabetes got worse. He would bounce us on his knees, and tickle us. He'd stick his thumb in your armpit and wiggle it around while demanding the return of his finger, while you were begging for the cessation of tickles. He would drop a dollar from up high, and you could keep it if you could catch it before it hit the ground. He would give shoulder rides. As his diabetes got worse, he lost one of his legs, his vision became poor, and he was not always lucid. But he would always say, "Hello, pretty girl!" when I came to visit him.
Grandpa has a wonderful bass voice. He sings very low! I think of him when I hear beautiful songs like "Shenandoah," which is one of his favorites. I'm sure he's back to singing again up in Paradise, meeting with all of his loved ones who passed on before him, including my aunt who died when she was four. It must be nice to see her again.
Though it is strange to think that Grandpa is not over there in Portland anymore, it is comforting to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a true gospel, and that families can be together forever. God be thanked for the gift of his Beloved Son, and the wondrous Plan of Salvation and Happiness.