For as long as I can remember, my Grandpa had dementia. He often said silly things and was usually incoherent. But I loved him deeply. I loved Grandpa for being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ and for dedicating his life to service in the church and in his family. He and Grandma eloped to the Swiss LDS Temple and he was fiercely loyal to her and his children. He worked as a dentist for many years. He served a mission as a young man and later two more with Grandma. Grandpa was a kind-hearted man and he knew and loved the scriptures.
Three years ago, on Christmas eve, I was in Santa Maria with my family. We kneeled to say a prayer, me right in front of Grandpa. Being a Patriarch, he placed his hands on my head and asked for my name. We explained to him that we were only saying a prayer. He seemed flustered but continued to pronounce a beautiful blessing upon me and my family. After the blessing, my uncle offered a prayer and we went back to whatever it was we were doing.
Grandpa invited me to the corner of the room to talk. In complete coherence, he gave me very specific and personal advice about what I needed to do to be happy. He told me he loved me and soon after fell back into his normal Grandpa ways. I will never forget the advice he gave me and the love and respect I felt for him in those moments.
Grandpa passed away on November 3, 2015. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Santa Maria with my family and hear more about the life of the man who made my life the way it is.