Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Unexpected Letter

College students tend to not get letters very often. So when I saw a hand written letter on the small pile of mail for my apartment, I sincerely hoped it was for me. I assumed, by the handwriting and "inform the sender of your new change of address" label, that it was from my Grandma Kathy. However, as I picked it up, it was from my Great Grandparents, the Prindles.

Now, when I was little they were my pen pals during their mission together. If my memory serves me correctly, then they have been on around 6 missions together as a couple, and have gone back around 8 or more generations in their tracking of family genealogy. Both were converts to this church. Several years ago, my Great Grandpa Prindle got Alzheimers Disease. His memory has been deteriorating ever since, as you can imagine.

Last time that I visited him, he was actually VERY good at covering it up. He told us memories he had from his missions, being a teacher, as a parent, and from growing up. He showed us his wood work shed, and things he had worked on. He went through photographs and told us about how he met my great grandmother. He smiled, laughed, joked, and made me feel as loved as they always have.
That's not to say that he didn't have his spacey moments, where he'd say something again, or just trail off and then have to ask us what he was talking about. But everyone has those moments. I was impressed by his keen mind, even while it was deteriorating from Alzheimers.

I opened the letter, kind of surprised to be hearing from them at all. It had been at least a year or more since we last wrote each other. I was definitely slacking in that field in my life. Normally, they don't initiate contact, because they are writing everyone else and can't remember ALL of their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
"Grampa found your letter you wrote us in 2010," Grandma told me, "and told me that I needed to write you back."

I was just so impressed by that line. Here is my great grandfather, with a deteriorating memory, reaching out and blessing the lives of others even with (if not because of) his Alzheimers. My great grandmother would not have just sent that letter. She was certain that they had responded (knowing them, she probably had). But my great grandfather cared enough about the discourses between his family members that he asked her to write me back.

The letter continued to update me, and ask me questions about how I am doing. She then also added that I should email her so she could send me updated letters like she did to all the family, and that she would respond to my emails about once every two weeks at the furthest.

However, even as I think about it, I am just so grateful for the knowledge I have of this gospel. Grateful for having the knowledge that my wonderful, kind, intelligent great grandfather will live again. Not because he has died, but because he lives in a body with a deteriorating mind when he is such a keen, intelligent, wise person. He will live again, with a perfect, sound mind, and knowledge a hundred fold as his memory is restored to him from not only this life, but from before this existence from the other side of the veil.

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