Isn’t time the most incomprehensible thing? It’s been a year. It’s passed by so fast, yet so many of the days have felt so long. Today, as I’ve pondered on the life of one of my hero’s, I am brought to tears of both joy and of sorrow. 

This time last year, I had intentions of documenting a tribute, or rather record some of my favorite memories that I always want to remember, though the procrastinator in me got the best of me... or you could say that I chose to postpone sitting in the inevitable pain that comes from reflecting on what once was. 

Well, leaning into all the feelings that coexist, some of my most potent memories of my grampa are ones that demonstrated to me how patient and humble he is. When I was growing up, I don’t think there was a summer that passed by without quality time at my grandparent’s house. At the time, I think the atmosphere of their house is really what drew me in. I could let my hair down. I could run around and get dirty. I could be free. My grandparents worked hard to create this home, and it was the foundation we built onto as I grew older. I had those memories and I craved more, but as an adult my intentions started to become more and more about the connection and relationship. Spending time together as I grew older, that’s when I really started to see him. 

He claimed to be impatient, which in his minds eye is why he would wait and watch the water begin to boil, the food spin in the microwave, or the irrigation water creep up the lawn. But if you ask me, I’d say no impatient person could wait around as long as he did for those things.

He sometimes appeared skeptical and sometimes even stubborn; he came to see an animated film with me for my 24th birthday. He said to me, “Why are we seeing a kids movie? Aren’t you turning 24?” But, he saw the movie with me anyway. Following the movie he said to me, “You’re right, Mad, that was a good movie.” I have countless experiences like this. The time I was holding a fundraiser and he pulled me aside to have a conversation with me about what I would do if I didn’t raise any money; I could hear the pessimism in his voice, though I could tell it was coming from a place of wanting to protect my heart and keep me safe. Even with his skepticism, he still hosted that fundraiser, supporting me every step of the way, and yup, you guessed it, he followed that fundraiser with the words, “You’re right, Mad, that was a huge success.” Then, there was that silly time with enchiladas... I invited him to try my favorite enchilada recipe. He replied with a firm, “I don’t like enchiladas.” Sometime after dinner, my grampa approached me and said, “Mad, you made a believer out of me.” After further inquisition, I discovered that he had went back and tried the enchilada and ended up really liking it! This experience speaks volumes to me, because he didn’t have to let me know that he ended up trying it. I never would have known. He was always quick to admit when he was wrong. He may appear skeptical and even stubborn, but in my eyes the man is both loyally supportive and humble.

He has a soft spoken demeanor; I could tell when he was deep in thought and pondering about life, he was always so thoughtful in his delivery. A man of few words, but when he spoke you listened. A lot of my memories with my Papa Norm we’re enjoying our time in silence, usually outside; one night he woke me up to go outside and watch the northern lights from their back yard. I don’t remember if we really spoke, but I cherish sharing that moment with him. They add up. We had this running joke, he could sleep anywhere... I even wrote a book about it when I was younger. He is generous and giving. His laugh was contagious. He would do the silliest things that would always be a surprise, even though he was silly often; they still make me smile to think about. I have memories on hikes and relaxing around the fire. It was the perfect setting to recite what I assume was his favorite poem, the story of Sam McGee. He would say that he would recite it from time to time to keep his memory sharp. I hope to be able to hang onto these and many more memories and lessons, but the main take away from all of it is... I always knew that my grampa’s love and support was endless. And I love him too. 

When I decided to pursue a Master’s degree, I essentially knew that if I chose to move to Oklahoma that I would not be able to be by my grandparents side when it was finally time to say goodbye in this earth life. This was one of the hardest aspects of my decision, but with his nod of support, and his family united in love, I knew I could do it. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real, being so far away from home and the reality of his absence. Other times it feels too real to comprehend. But overall, I like to remember that nod of support and the countless memories I have of his love and hold them close. Thankfully that is something I have learned can transcend time and space. 

I miss you, Papa Norm. What once was, shall always be. 


October 17, 1937 - October 6, 2019

p.s. you pull off a vest better than anyone



Three years prior to his passing he had a stroke that changed his life, and the life of those around him. I know that to say it was a challenging three years is an understatement, and to ignore the unity that took place within my family over that time would also be a remission. My grampa’s love for his family was palpable, and our love for him has really united us. I couldn’t find a place this fit organically in the post above, but it’s definitely notable. Prior to his sudden stroke, I thought he was invincible. I will forever choose to live in the moment and soak up my time with my family. Assuming at least my mom made it to the end of this post... I forever love you guys 💕Grateful we’re forever.