Growing up I didn’t really know my grandpa. My interactions with him were limited to Hilton family events where he would preside. He was always kind and gentle, quick to offer tender hugs and a wet kiss on the cheek. He always, without exception, told me he loved me. Ultimately, I knew that he loved me. I knew that he loved grandma. And above all else, I knew that he loved God. In the summer of 2018, I was twice offered the honor of caring for my dying grandpa. The lessons of love prepared for me during this time are of infinite and eternal worth to me. I’m not sure I’ll be able to properly convey these experiences, but I will do my best.
Love is service.
I don’t know what Grandpa felt during the last weeks of his life. I don’t know the pain he endured. I don’t know what thoughts consumed him. I do know that as I served him, my love for him deepened. When I look at Christ’s life through the framework of service, I understand how and why he loved so freely. Service is love.
The service I provided was that of a grandson, who knew too well the physical pains of life, desperately trying to ease the suffering of his grandpa.
In turn, Grandpa served me by telling me over and over again that he loved me. He served me by showing me his warm smile. He served me by holding my hand and thanking me. He served me by being a conduit for God’s love.
Love is time.
“I don’t care what you tell me. Where you spend your time, effort, and money, that’s where your heart is.” My grandma said this to me while I was there. Using this quote as a metric, I can tell you with absolute certainty that my grandma’s heart was with grandpa.
Each night, after all the work was done and everyone else had left, I would turn off the light in the living room and lay on the couch next to grandpa’s hospital bed. Grandma would sneak out of her room, where she should have been sleeping, and sit on her walker next to grandpa. She would sit there holding his hand for hours.
This image, of my loving grandma, is forever burned into my memory and sealed into my heart. I truly feel like I was witness to sacred moments in my grandparent’s lives. Just thinking back as I’m typing this brings me to tears and fills my heart with love and peace. Make time for those you love. Small moments can become sacred memories. Time is love.
Love is family.
I was there when grandpa died. I was there with grandma surrounded by every single one of his children, my aunts, and uncles. All were present to witness the passing of this great man. A man who had dedicated his life to God and his family. One who had centered his teachings and interactions around love and commitment. The love in the room was palpable.
After he passed, I found myself in the hallway holding my mother as she cried into my shoulder. These few moments with my mom are some of my most sacred.
I’m so grateful that families can be together forever. I’m grateful that my grandpa was a good man who raised good kids. I’m grateful for my mother. I do not know a more righteous woman. I’m grateful for my sweet grandma who trusted me with the love of her eternity. I’m grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and his redeeming and perfecting atonement. I know that families can be together forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.