until we meet again, grandpa max

Yesterday, July 17, my Grandpa Max King passed away. It was bittersweet. He was 92.

On our way to Cedar City this last weekend (more on that later), we stopped by to visit Grandpa Max. He was sitting in a wheel chair, by the side of his bed with an oxygen tube near his nose when we got to the care center where he spent his final days. I introduced Blake to him again and they instantly made a connection. Max started saying "Boo" and "Hello" in a soft, weak voice. Blake would give him a open-mouth smile and a laugh, and that would urge grandpa to do it again. They played this game back and forth for quite a while, entertaining each other. It was a sweet moment, and the last time we really saw grandpa coherent. As a matter of fact, my uncle told us that this interaction of Grandpa Max and Blake was the most interactive my grandpa had been in days. I'm grateful Blake got to have that tender moment with my grandpa who meant so much to me. 

A few days later on our way back from Cedar City, we got word that Grandpa wasn't doing too well. We stopped for a final visit. This time, he was lying in his bed, with a full oxygen mask on. It appeared that he didn't know we were all there to say good-bye. But I know he could tell we were there. There were his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. These were the people that meant so much to him.

My grandpa Max was the only grandpa I knew. So for me, he was the epitome of what all grandpas should be. He had a farm in Aberdeen, Idaho. Boy, I how I loved visiting the farm. He would take us on tractor rides and taught me how to ride a horse. We spent many days out in the fields, harvesting potatoes in the fall. Against my grandma Ilene's will, he would take us driving in the old pick-up (even though we were far from driving age). He loved to fish and loved taking us out to the reservoir in the winter to let us watch the ice fisherman. He loved going to the town dump, to see what treasures he could find. He loved eating bacon and popcorn and orange slices (not all together, mind you.)

He was a jokester. He wasn't afraid of pulling pranks, and had a great sense of humor. One of my favorite stories of him was when he was in the hospital for one of his surgeries. The nurse came in to collect a urine sample. She left him with a cup and told him she would return in a few minutes. After she had gone, he took some leftover juice from his breakfast tray and poured it into the urine-sample cup. The nurse returned. As he handed the cup to the nurse, he paused, and said, "Oh, this doesn't look very clear. I should run this back through me." He took the cup and drank the juice. The nurse flipped out, thinking he had just drunken his urine. He then explained the joke and they had a good laugh, well, him at least.

Grandpa always wore a hat, and button-up shirts, suspenders, and cowboy boots. He was as determined as could be. He had multiple heart by-pass surgeries, and a few hip replacements. But that did not stop him from walking and doing the things he loved. He often used a crutch to help him walk, until the last few years, he would use a wheelchair.  He hated being in it and it broke my heart to see him not have a choice in using it. He was just so determined to not let anything stop him. And he never complained of pain. He was a tough guy!

He has been there been for all the big events in my life, and many of the small and simple ones. He was there for my baptism, high school graduation, and college graduation, my wedding, and Blake's blessing. After I graduated from college and was job searching, I spent the summer taking care of him at my Aunt Ruth's house. I would make him lunch, although I knew he didn't like the fact that he couldn't get lunch himself. I would watch lots of TV shows with him. He loved the news and BYUTV. Sometimes I would catch him watching Jerry Springer, but I was pretty sure he didn't realize that it was a terrible show. I would ask him about serving in the navy or his mission. He would always tell me the same stories...the one about him pushing Murphy into the ocean or getting to visit the mission in New Zealand.

He was a loyal friend. He loved keeping connected with friends from all eras of his life. Him and my grandma could travel across the country and know someone everywhere they went. And aside from being a good friend, he made friends so easily. In fact, he had made quite a few friends from being in the care center. He was never afraid to share the gospel and how much it meant to him.

My list of memories of him could go on and on. But I will save them for another day.

My good-bye to him was short and simple. I had a few minutes by his bedside alone and whispered a few words to him, "I love you. Thanks for being such a great grandpa. Tell my mother hello." I then kissed his cheek and said goodbye. I am grateful for the knowledge I have he is reunited with his wife, Ilene, my mother, his daughter Charlotte who passed away at childbirth, and the many others who have passed on before him. I love you, grandpa Max! Until we meet again, I'll keep the memories close in my heart and be sure to pass them on to my children.

{Photos: April 2008 (BYU Graduation),  August 23, 2008 (Our Wedding), August 2010 (90th Birthday Party, August 2011 (Michael's 19th Birthday), May 6, 2012 (Blake's blessing)}


  1. I know that we don't know each other, but it totally made me sad. May him rest in peace.

  2. i loved this post. it made me miss those summers we spent together at the farm, I could never get enough.

  3. What a touching post. Your grandpa was a great guy although I didn't really know him and only saw him once in a while. I loved the joke he played-if only everyone was light hearted like that. I hope he is having a great reunion in heaven and I'm sure your mom is happy to see him there. Your family is in our prayers at this hard time.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your Grandpa. I loved hearing about the tender moment with your grandpa and Blake. What a precious memory. Thinking of you.

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I loved your grandpa Max too. He was such a sweet man!

  6. i love the picture of him holding up the mustache. clearly a man with a sense of humor. how lucky you were to have had him in your life for so long.


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