Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

There's a reason why this holiday is called Memorial Day. It is a day set aside to honor those who have gone before. It is a day for memories.

My memories are many-fold today. First of all, I'd like to pay tribute to John Kammerman.

John passed away only yesterday, leaving a huge hole in the lives of his loved ones. His passing seemed sudden...and he seemed far too young to make that journey into the next life. We will miss him!

Here is how he is related to me:
This is Jill

She is hugging on our son whom she's been married for 15 years.
We loved Jill from the moment we met her. She feels more like a daughter than a daughter-in-law.

Her parents are John and JoAn Kammerman. (I hope I spelled JoAn's name right!) Here I am with JoAn in Andy and Jill's back yard when they lived in Georgia.

We have loved JoAn and John like family ever since our kids hooked up. We have seven kids, they have seven kids...we love music, they love music...we adore our family, they adore theirs. On and on it could go.
Darwin and John in deep thought, trying to solve a Sudoku puzzle together...

When John became ill this spring, we were very concerned. We prayed for him and thought he would recover from this last, very serious set of problems. But as did the Kammermans, we left it in the Lord's hands. He evidently thought it was time for John to be called home because he was all finished here. John had fought the good fight. But what a void he left behind. He was a big man in every sense of the word...his heart was bigger than his whole body. What a gracious, kind, giving man.

I don't have a lot of pictures of John, because we've never lived in the same area. I want to share a few that I have.
John and little Tate Gifford in the Kammerman's yard in Georgia. His grandkids adored him.

John taught the kids to work right along side of him. This is Tate and Gavin Gifford. (Grandkids we share!!!)

He didn't just work with the kids, he always had time to play with them, too! Gavin and Blythe Gifford

Jill, Andy and Seth Gifford at Seth's baptism.
When the Kammermans and Giffords moved back to Utah, it was far easier to visit.

We went up to Springville when Seth was baptized. We met with the extended Kammerman family for a picnic lunch. I snapped this pic of John carrying his sleepy little grandson to lay him down--it's a tender shot that says a lot about John and his relationship with his grandkids.

When Andy and Jill's last baby was born, we were so thrilled that she was a girl...Blythe would finally have a sister! This is a shot of the Gifford and Kammerman grandparents at Grace Lolene's blessing. (Yes, they named her after ME!!!) John was in the process of recovering from surgery at that time, so he was pretty vulnerable...but still a trooper.

Here's the whole Gifford family with their Kammerman grandparents.
(from left to right, top row: Gavin, Blythe, Andy, Jill, Seth; bottom row, Hunter, Grace, JoAn, John, and Tate)

Farewell, good friend. You leave a legacy of love and family behind. We will miss you...until we meet again...we will celebrate our memories on this Memorial Day.