Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In Honor of A Man I Love and Admire

This is My Baby Blessing Picture
April 1979

To those who did not know, I lost my beloved, sweet Grandpa West (my Mom's father) this last month. He will be greatly missed by me and others too. I wrote a letter in March to him because I knew his time was coming to a close here on earth and I wanted to share with him how special he was to me.

Dear Grandpa- March 6, 2009

You are a wonderful man. My life has been richly blessed because I was able to have a Grandfather of such noble stature and character. You are wise, intelligent, patient, thoughtful, kind, sweet, fun loving, giving, humble, self-sacrificing, selfless, and funny. What more could a girl ask for from a Grandfather and Father figure? I am so glad we mostly lived close to you growing up, so that you could be part of our lives. I have been thinking of all the fun memories that we have shared over the years, and what I have learned from you. Really, there are too many memories to write down, but I will always treasure them in my heart.

Some of my favorite things that I remember about you was that you always made me feel special. You always called me TJ or Tammy Jo, and I loved that you had special names for me. I also loved getting out of the bathtub and having you rub your big thumb on my arm and telling me that I was "squeaky clean". You also always gave me big hugs and rubbed your whisker face on my cheek, it was great!

One of the memories that sticks out to me the most happened one fall. You, me and my Mom got into your red and white car and went out by the old barn to the pumpkin patch. I don't remember the specifics, but it seems like we went out to get a pumpkin just for me. I looked, and looked while you stood patiently waiting. Finally I found the perfect pumpkin! We opened the hatch of your car and loaded the pumpkin in. Apparently I must have been standing in the way of the exhaust pipe and something blew out at my leg. I know it had rock in it and it was really hot and burned my leg a little bit. You picked me up and loaded me into the car and we went into the yellow bathroom and you and mom cleaned up my leg. Now, I'm not sure why that memory pops out so easily, but I think it is sweet.

Grandpa, you were always so kind to look after my mom. I am sure she had a special place in your heart, especially being your firstborn and a daughter. I know you were always trying to make her life easier. One thing you did for her, among many, is to pick me up for zero hour classes my freshman year. I believe I had to be at the school by 6:50 am. So, that means that you had to be to my house by 6:20, which means you probably had to get up around 5:40 or so. But, because you are you, you gave your time, sacrificed your sleep, and used your money for fuel. I appreciated the rides every morning, and I know Mom did too. I loved spending that time with you. I don't remember talking a lot on the rides to the school because I was still waking up at that hour. I do know that when we did talk you would ask me about school, and my home life, and took time to get to know me. I treasure those rides.

You are a great joke teller. I remember going to your house and you sharing joke after joke. Now, the jokes were good...I remember laughing, but better than that is the memory of you laughing. Your whole body moving up and down, your big smile and squinty eyes. Your laugh was contagious! Even if the joke wasn't so funny, when you started laughing, everyone else did too. I could always look forward to a good joke from Grandpa.

Along with your joke telling abilities, you were also a great story teller. I will always remember the story of little Grandma and the mountain lion. I don't know how many times I heard it, but I knew I couldn't get enough of it. All of the geneology stories, you told with such emotion. Sometimes it was with excitement, but a lot of time it was with tears of love or sadness. The love you have for the people you have linked together is tremendous. I hope someday that I will grasp onto the geneology bug the way you did. You are a tremendous example to all of us of what we should be doing in that way. I remember living with you and every Friday night, off you went to the geneology library, and that was even after a long days work at your office. But you would go without complaint!

Of course I can't leave out the memories of "Farmer Grandpa" there were always tractor rides, corn picking, corn husking, corn selling, and weed pulling. You were always so good to teach us work along with the fun we were having. Grandpa you are one of the hardest workers I know. Always working on some project. You never kept "idle hands" you were always busy with something...except when you were napping!

Grandpa, I think what I love about you the VERY most is how much you loved Grandma. I loved her very much too, but you and I both know that she wasn't the easiest woman to live with! From the outside looking in, it looked like you tried and tried to please her, but she was a tough one. She has no idea how lucky she was in the husband department. You were a WONDERFUL husband. I don't think a girl could ask for more. I loved that you would kiss Gram EVERY evening when you would get home from work, I thought it was so sweet. I think of that often.
Bouquets from you were always a favorite. Whether it be for a holiday, a birthday, or just to please the eye, you were quite the florist, and still are. I loved coming to your house and seeing your beautiful flowers outside, but also inside. After Gram stopped going out, you were always so good to bring TONS of flowers in so she could experience their beauty too. When I think of Grandpa, and flowers I will always think of your sweet peas growing along side the driveway on Locust Grove. They were always so lovely!

Last but not least I just want to share with you, that people LOVE Nathan Dennis West. You are such a hero to so many of us. Whether it be patients of yours, church going friends, neighbors, acquaintances or family, everyone loves you. I am always happy to say that I am Nathan West's grand-daughter. It is a label I can wear with pride.

You keep saying you are "winding down" and that may be the case. It is hard to think of life without you, but I know death is part of life and the eternal scheme of things. At least I know you are going someplace where there are plenty of people who will be so happy you are there. I can just imagine the lines of people who will be waiting to hug you because you did their geneology and got their names to the temple. You will be rewarded for your excellent work!
Grandpa, you will always hold a special place in my heart. You are MY HERO, and I am glad you were my Grandpa. I love you forever.

Dr. Nathan D. West 1925-2009 Dr. Nathan D. West, 83, of Meridian, passed away at his daughter's home in Verdi, Nev., on Sept. 10, 2009, after battling bone cancer. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009 at the Cloverdale Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located at 190 South Locust Grove, Meridian. The viewing will be held on Friday, Sept. 18, 2009 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Cloverdale Funeral Home, and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to service time at the Cloverdale Ward. Burial will follow at Cloverdale Memorial Park with a reception to follow back at the Cloverdale Ward. Nathan was born Sept. 18, 1925 in Roy, Harding County, New Mexico, to Charles P. West and Lila R. Sales. On Jan. 1, 1950 he married Connie Mitchell in Weiser, Idaho. They were later sealed in the Logan Utah Temple. Nathan graduated from Southern California College of Optometry in 1953 and moved with his wife to the Treasure Valley where he practiced for the next 40 years. He participated in the community as a PTA president and was active in Toastmasters. His passion was his family and his farm where he taught his children the value of hard work. He loved working on family history and served in his church for 13 years in the family history center. Nathan is survived by his children; Claude West of Middleton; Valerie (Greg) Monette of Verdi, Nev.; Robert (Jennifer) West of Boise; Jonathan (Marissa) West of Boise, Rebecca "Becky" (Dave) Niblett of Meridian; 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters; Vera (Bill) Rose of Nampa; Lois (Curly) Myers of Star; and Gloria (Steve) Butts of Newnan, Ga. Nathan was preceded in death by his parents Charles P. and Lila West; his "Dear Sweet Wife" Connie Mitchell West; his brother Luther Claude West; a daughter Natalie West Briner; two infant children and one infant granddaughter.


The Stoker Family said...

Beautiful letter...was a sweet wonderful memories you have. I bet he loved it. I am sorry to hear about your grandpa.

James and Chelsea said...

Grandpa West we miss and love you too! Thanks for sharing Tam!

Sarah Buma said...

What a treasure. You have a way of making my heart grow a few sizes bigger, a little like the Grinch. Hugs to your heart.