The flight home was long but pleasant. We arrived on Saturday afternoon. Ben and Courtney did a stellar job of keeping our house and yard in good shape. On Monday we drove to Logan to see my father who has been dealing with melanoma for the past few years. While in Jerusalem we learned that the melanoma had spread to his abdomen and then later to his brain. We consider it a tender mercy that he was still up and about when when we returned. Jake was in town from Illinois so we held a special Family Home Evening Monday night.
Mom and dad with their six children. It has been 18 months since we were all together. After a great dinner, Jake gave mom a priesthood blessing and then I gave a blessing to dad. It was a very tender moment. There was no promise of healing and long life, but rather of peace, comfort and not extended suffering. Afterwards dad expressed his love to all of us--which was almost the entire family. Only a few were not able to attend.
Later that week Marie's sister Jeanne and family came for a visit. Our kids had fun playing with their Tueller cousins for a few days.
Back to school. Sarah started seventh grade at Springville Jr. High.
Joel off to fourth grade
Will starting afternoon kindergarten
On Labor Day we drove to Logan to visit Grandpa and Grandma. In two weeks dad had weakened quite a bit. Each of the children took a few mementos from their year abroad for a special show and tell. Joel showing an alabaster obelisk from Egypt.
Will showing his olive wood cougar from Bethlehem.
Sarah showing her ancient clay pot handle that she discovered at Tel Azekah.
For my birthday we went to the first half of Will's soccer game and then to Joel's pinewood derby.
His car--Lucky 13--got second place. We were all happy that Joel's friend Colin got first place. For the past year he has been battling aplatsic anemia.
September was full of twice weekly soccer games for Will and Joel. Both did very well given the fact that they often played soccer in the gym with the BYU Jerusalem students. Most Thursdays I drove to Logan to visit mom and dad.
On Monday September 27th, I got a call at school that dad was not doing very well and would probably not last long. I canceled the remaining 40 minutes of my political geography class and hurried home while Marie went to get the kids from school. We arrived in Logan in time to see dad and to express our love to him. We sat around visiting and remembering. At one point the children and Marie sing "I know that my Savior loves me" which they had learned in Primary this last year and which Joel and Will had sung the day before in the Primary program. Dad had been unconscious and unresponsive for the past two days and so we were surprised when Bob and Mom noticed tears on his cheeks. He then opened his tear filled eyes and gazed upwards. Then after a few delayed breaths his spirit departed his worn out body. It was a peaceful, tender moment.
On Friday October 1, Dad/Grandpa was buried in the Logan Cemetery. We will miss his regular comments on this blog. He was a wonderful man and a loving father and grandfather. He and mom came to visit me in Jerusalem in 1982 and in Nazareth in 1989. I am grateful for happy memories of many happy times together. All of the grandchildren know the answer to the hard question: "Grandpa Emmet loves me." How grateful we are to know that dad's earthly departure is not a permanent separation. We know that the resurrection of Jesus in Jerusalem two millennia ago blesses all of us with the gift of eternal life and the opportunity to live together as eternal families. We look forward to that happy reunion.