Monday, February 8, 2010

Grandma's Boots

My Grandma Hilton, my dad's mother, passed away last June from Alzheimer's. It was sad to see her go, but with Alzheimer's...loved ones leave much earlier than when they actually pass on. It is a cruel disease because you don't get the chance to say goodbye...they kind of just fade away before your eyes.
Grandma was a very mannered and proper woman. She loved to try and teach us manners and etiquette too. She had her pet peeves...things that just drove her crazy! Things like people wearing sandals, even casual ones (she especially hated flip flops!) without nylons. She did not like to see people's knees...she said they were too ugly to be seen! She hated it when leggings came into style, especially lacey ones! She loved to say things to me like, "I hope you don't wear stuff like that, it's very un-ladylike!" I never front of her!! And then later in my teenage years, I did do it in front of her to prove to her that she could not tell me what I could and could not wear...I do have rebellious streaks in me for sure! We did not always see eye to eye, but I know everything she did because she cared! I remember having a sleepover at her house and seeing her trying to put up drapes on the curtain rods and hearing her swear for the first time...I really thought it meant the world was ending!! I absolutely could not believe my ears!! It's funny though, I seem to be one of the only grandchildren who ever heard her swear...I must have just brought the best out in her!

Grandma was raised on a farm by good parents who were very inactive members of the church. Her dad could swear with the best of them! She loved going to church though and she would often walk there with just her brother or sometimes she would go with the neighbors. She married grandpa in the temple. He was called on a mission after they got married and before their first son was born. He saw him for the first time when he was 18 months old. They sacrificed over and over again for the church. They served several missions in their later years and were as strong as steel in their testimonies. Grandpa is a sealer at the temple. He has sealed so many of his grandchildren to their spouses and almost all of the adopted children in my own family. (There are 6 adopted children between me, my sister, and my brother's kids!! It's not a strange thing to be adopted in my family!!) The legacy Grandma and Grandpa have given their family is one of strong faith and devotion to Heavenly Father and to our families. I am sure we will never quite realize the total impact that they have left on our lives. We are eternally grateful for their examples.

A few weeks after Grandma died, we had a reunion in Bryce Canyon with my dad's side of the family. It was strange to see Grandpa there without Grandma, but you could tell that he had a great sense of peace about him. We always hold an auction at the reunion where we auction handmade or baked items...and sometimes just even crazy things we find around the raise money to pay for the next years reunion. Grandpa brought several things from home that were Grandma's to auction this time. He auctioned some of her beautiful silver pieces and things she had made. They were things that just reminded us of Grandma. One item that he auctioned really caught my eye, it was a pair of black and gold cowboy boots that I had never seen before. She wore them in the parade on the 24th of July up in Granite (above Sandy) when she was the Grand Marshall with Grandpa when he was the Stake President there. The boots looked just like new. They were super cute and now, 39 years later, they are totally back in style!! They are a size 6 1/2...I ran up and tried them on, they fit perfectly, we must have had the same size feet!! I bought them. I love them.

After the auction, I asked Grandpa to tell me more about them. He said that he bought them for Grandma and she did wear them in the parade, but she rarely wore them after that...I really think they were too flashy for how conservative she was! My uncle Joe came up to me after I bought them and told me that he has memories of them sitting at the front door and that he would put them on when he was a kid to run outside for a minute. They still had a little dirt on the sole of's special dirt, it's from the Wasatch Resort at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon where they have lived forever!! They live in Wilford Woodruff's summer home...really!

I shared some very special moments talking to Grandpa about those boots. At one point, he took me over to his new Jeep Cherokee (his very favorite kind of car...he has had several, all brand new!) This one has the in-dash navigation system. He told me that he had my uncles put pictures of Grandma throughout her life on the hard drive in the computer on the dash. There was one of her as a young woman...signed, "Love, Ruth"...she was GORGEOUS!! He had one of their wedding day, one when the kids were young and some of her from about 20 years ago. He showed me his favorite picture and told me that he often drove down the road looking at her beautiful smile and talking to her. He said that they have had so many great conversations. He loves her so much and can't wait to be with her again.

I asked him about the last minutes of her life. She died in a hospital bed in their living room. Her kids that could make it were by her side throughout most of the final hours. During the last hour, it was just Grandpa and Aunt Su...their youngest daughter. He said her breathing was labored for a long time and then it just stopped. He ran to her and kissed her and hugged her and said, "Are you gone?" and then he kissed her again. When he looked up at her face again, he saw a tear roll down her cheek and he knew she had gone home. He said, "What a tender mercy from the Lord it was to see that tear fall." It really was...she was at home again and she was finally at peace and free from the Alzheimer's.

Grandma was a very special woman. There weren't many at the auction who could have fit into her boots. I felt like they were they were the perfect thing for Grandma to leave me. I know she would have wanted me to have them. It felt good to wear them to church was very special and sentimental to me. I will wear them for years. They are amazing quality...Grandpa would have nothing less for Grandma. They almost still have that new leather smell. I love that they are black and pointy-toed. I love that the gold flashes through the black. I love that she left them for me. It felt so good to be in Grandma's boots.

Written December 13, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Joe's family with Grandpa Hilton

I loved this beautiful display of pictures from Grandma's life! Each photo displayed what a wonderful, vibrant life she lived--what a great legacy she has left with her posterity!

Our very own Hilton family baby boom!

One thought that seemed prevalent and sure the day of Grandma's funeral was that she has left an amazing legacy for us all. It was wonderful to then see all of these new babies! And there are at least a few more not in this picture that have also been born this year. Mindy missed the picture with her new baby Zachary and Kim's new baby boy Kenyon was not released from the hospital until the day after the funeral. Are there other new babies that have been born this year?

Poor little Elizabeth, Rebecca's baby, is quite alone as a girl among all these baby boys!

Post-service Luncheon

Carter and Shane as we head into the luncheon in the cultural hall.
I loved that the tables were decorated with some of Grandma's favorite things -- Boston Baked Beans and Red Vines. Also, on each of the tables was a card with a memory of Grandma. The card at our table said Grandma was remembered as a "true & faithful disciple" by a member of her study group.

Gathering Together Outside (after the service)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mary's pictures

It had been almost 8 years since all of us siblings have been together.

It's too bad not everyone could be there.

I brought my old camera, and the pictures didn't turn out so well. After a few picture I gave up, so please share your pictures.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Allen's Talk for Mom's Funeral

(You will need to insert your own tears and blubbering.)

The last time that I saw Mom was in St. George two weeks ago with Dad. As they were leaving, Dad said, "We need to go this way." as he pointed the way. Mom said "I don't want o go that way." Dad leaned over and they shared a kiss and left arm in arm.

(As a side note: While Mom was in the office, she kept telling my receptionist that she wanted to go through "that gate at the end of the path" but pointed off in funny directions. Of course it made no sense at the time that she didn't want to go to the door Dad was going through. I believe that it was Mom seeing into the gate she needed to enter.)

I am sure Terry greeted Mom and gave her the biggest bear-hug welcome ever.

5-Minute talk:

Mom was a perfect nurturer. She lifted and blessed everyone she could. The way she differentiated in who received service was whether you would accept her ministrations or not. She didn't hold back, she didn't change the requirements, she just kept on giving. She just loved to serve. Mom found joy in service.

Randalin is a perfect example of how this worked. Randalin married Mom's oldest son, who she worried about. Right away Mom began to love and nurture Randalin. While living in their home for the first month of our marriage, I went to ask Mom to pack me a lunch. She told me that it wasn't her responsibility anymore, I would have to ask Randalin! I was embarrassed but much later learned how thankful Randalin had been to be allowed to function as my helpmeet. Mom continued in that first month, and thereafter, to teach Randalin why she, Mom, loved to serve.

Mom continued to nurture Randalin and her other daughters in both small and great ways. Mom was so service oriented and often said how wonderful it was to do the meal preparation to feed and physically nurture her family. She was happy to do the laundry because she was serving in a way to help her family be clean and smell good. She found joy in many acts of service whether cleaning, vacuuming or caring for a child.

Mom was a blessing in the lives of her grandchildren. While tending our Steven one time, he was having trouble settling down to sleep. Mom explained to him and gently kissed his eyelids so he would have sweet dreams. It became a part of his necessary nightime pre-sleep ritual. He always called her The Spoiler, because she was attentive to his needs and loved him so.

Each of the children loved to talk to Mom. She always had a kind and listening ear. No recrimination, no judgemental posture, no hidden agenda, no quessing, just love.

Mom was a tremendous example for good in the world. She taught us. Sharing, Knowledge, Truth, Love of God, country and fellow men.

Mom taught me to share: Always making extra to share with the neighbors. Bread, cookies, meals. In Lehi, Sister Crab was an old sister who lived across the street from the church. I remember being sent to take her a loaf of bread or a meal. Mom wanted me to learn to serve and it seems to have worked in the lives of all her children.

Mom loved: Dad, us, life, laughter, outdoors, country.... well did she love.

Mom gave me unconditional love: she didn't criticize but complimented me whenever she saw a way to do it.

Mom taught me to love reading: she read both spiritual books and novels out loud. She often read to us while we went to bed at night. We didn't fall asleep but were riveted. I remember the scripture stories from then as well as on trips. On one trip to the Grand Canyon, Mom read "Brighty of the Grand Canyon" to us. I remembered the story as I have since hiked the Bright Angel trail.

She loved the Gospel and did her best to live it. She loved to read the scriptures. She was not preachy but people sought her counsel through her example and soft loving manner.

May we all learn from her loving example to serve and love each other as purely as she did, I pray in the nme of Jesus Christ, Amen