We have had so much happen in our life lately, I don't know how to post about it all! I do however need to post about our wonderful Grandpa Delton Robert Hawker. Today, at age 86, he passed away. Almost 12 years ago, my grandpa passed away. Shortly after, we went to visit Grandpa and Grandma Hawker. Grandpa made me feel so loved. He reminded me so much of my grandpa who had just died that I just completely let him feel the void of having lost my last grandparent.
All of Ben's grandparents have been AMAZING grand and great grandparents. I love them all so dearly, yet Grandpa always held this special place in my heart.
Today as we sat in Sacrament meeting, I felt Grandpa Hawker so strongly. My mind suddenly flooded with all the times we went to visit him. His sweet, loving hugs and his "we sure wish we could see you more. We love you" said with his scratchy, deep voice. A few moments later we received a text message we knew was coming soon...Grandpa had passed away.
It is a good thing. He has been in pain for a long time. He has been stuck to his chair in his home for far longer than he wanted. He loved to be out doing. I am so grateful that I got to have him as my grandpa for almost 12 years. My children are so lucky to have had him as their Great Grandfather.
Grandpa shared stories of the war time with me. He shared his love for his donkeys with me and my children. Grandpa had a dog named Pup. Until he died, Pup went everywhere with Grandpa (even on the 4 wheeler).
Grandpa loved airplanes and passed that love on down to all his sons, grandsons and really all his grandchildren. All his sons have pilots licenses, many of his grandsons do and I have heard many of his great grandsons and grand daughters talk of the day they will get their licenses.
Grandpa LOVED John Deere. He loved John Deere anything! He collected pocket watches, and his favorite was the John Deere. Grandpa had replicas of all the different John Deere tractors. He could tell you what year each replica was made of and what was great about it. He should have been a John Deere tracker salesman cause he had a pure love for them...and he shared that love.
Grandpa loved his grand children and his great grand children. One of Ben's cousins was born with spina bifida. Grandpa learned that it could be good for Ben's cousin, Cory, to ride horses. Grandpa had lots of land. He went out and got a Donkey named Shasta so Cory could ride her. I am not sure how often Cory rode Shasta but I know that Grandpa sure loved that Donkey. Each time we went to visit, Grandpa would take us out to see his donkeys (he later adopted another donkey, which was pregnant and so Grandpa ended up with 3 donkeys at one point).
Sometimes Grandpa drove his little silver truck down to the pasture that held the donkeys, but most of the time you would find him on his 4 wheeler driving down. He would put the great grandchildren on the 4 wheeler with him, Pup would jump on the front or run beside the 4-wheeler and off we would all go for the adventure of seeing the Donkeys. My kids LOVED it!
I will never forget the time we went up and Grandpa climbed down on the floor (this was before his knee replacement surgery and when he could get up and down). Katy was down playing with toys and Grandpa climbed right down there next to her and played along side her. Oh Katy thought she had struck gold. That memory is a treasure. I tried for a long time to see if I could find a picture of it, but I don't know if I actually took a picture or if I just etched it into my brain so strongly I thought I had a picture of it!
On a visit a couple years ago, Grandpa sat talking to us for hours about his love and worry about his children and grandchildren. I really started to understand how tender Grandpa's heart truly was. It broke his heart to see his children and grandchildren suffering with life. He shared his concern for his grandchildren with disabilities and his complete love for all of us. He had to put on the gruff exterior to protect his loving, fragile and tender heart.
Grandpa always had an opinion and he would share it. I remember one time about 8 or so years ago, Grandpa was talking to his neighbor and his neighbor mentioned something about loving his dogs as much as anyone could love their children. Grandpa thought the guy was off his rocker and as the guy was talking about how expensive dogs were and kept comparing them to children, Grandpa finally had enough and he turned to the neighbor and said, "When you have sent your dogs through college, then we can start comparing." LOL That line still cracks me up (and I think of it often as people talk about being "pet parents"...that line always comes to my mind).
As a side note - the picture at the very top of this blog post was taken about a year earlier than the pictures below...however Grandpa was in his same shirt, in his same chair, with the same John Deere Tractor blanket on it...I just love it!
Grandpa loved and served everyone. I always felt so much love and acceptance from him. It took me years to feel loved and accepted by Ben's family yet with Grandpa...it was instant! I am so grateful for that. I am so grateful to have gotten to known such a wonderful, kind hearted man. He had a gruff exterior...I think that was to protect his soft, kind heart inside! Grandpa Great will be sorely missed!