Rock Walks and Remembering Grandpa


When I was a kid and long before my parents built their house in this windy little valley filled with cottonwood trees, back when my great-grandparents owned this piece of land, we'd walk out into what felt like the wild, down to the little creek. We'd climb up the sandstone banks and collect pretty rocks and raw, bright turquoise clay to grind and use for art projects. It was a magical way to spend a lot of my childhood summers and practically every Thanksgiving (which is decidedly a DeWitt holiday).



Now when we come to visit my parents, I get to relive some of that magic when I take my kids out for walks to that same creek. They love to search for rocks and shells, to pet the horses that live nearby, to skip stones on the water (though this time the creek was frozen and Heather was brave enough to venture out onto the ice!)


Claire said to me yesterday, "Mom, we don't do things like this in the city and that's why I love Grammy's house." And I felt a little guilty. But also grateful we could come home for this bonus visit - a bittersweet time for all of us who loved Grandpa DeWitt so much.


He was a bit of a toughie, but mostly a softie. A war hero, a perfectionist, an amazing violinist, a great hugger, a teacher and advisor. He had a twinkle in his eye that just wouldn't quit and an incredible gift for making every person he knew feel like they were his favorite (I totally was though). Also, he was pretty much the strongest old guy around. He could arm wrestle a twenty year-old with what seemed like ease back when he was 70. And even at 90, his strong body was determined to hold on longer than his heart wanted to. It makes me endlessly happy to think of him now reunited with my grandma, his life-long sweetie.


He loved this sweet little town called Snowflake, and all its windy, quirky beauty. He loved his family most though, and all of us have a hole in our hearts the size of a cottonwood tree.


Love and miss you Grandpa.

53 comments:

Jessica said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute you've written to him.

Jared and Megan said...

What a lovely post, and such a beautiful picture of your grandpa. My grandparents used to live in Snowflake but since they moved when I was still pretty young I haven't been back. This reminded me of exploring around the home I grew up in though, and reminds me so much of my own grandpa. Thanks for sharing this with us. I know you're right - he must be with his sweetheart now.

Laurie said...

Sounds like he was a great man and what wonderful memories.

kstyle said...

Beautiful post Jenny. Am so sorry for your loss. My first husband, a writer wrote the following poem just months before he passed away. I try to share it when I can as it keeps his memory alive for me and often comforts others. It's called

When Petals Fall
by Ed Lusch, 2006

Death the final notice?
Or kindling of fond memories.
Ashes to Ashes?
Dust to dust?
Or rebirth of spirit:
A soul set free.

What comes must go:
Everything on its way,
To someone, somewhere,
As alive as song and laughter.
Unconfined to this place,
Unencumbered by this time,
Eternally bound by understanding:

The rose knows
Not to weep
When petals fall to earth.

And we can learn,
What the rose will teach
When our petals become garlands-
forever after

k

pve design said...

What a wonderful remembrance of your Grandfather.
My sympathies to you and your family. May the rocks serve as a reminder of his strength and beauty.
pve

Naz said...

A beautiful tribute to your grandfather. May his soul rest in peace.

Denise Laborde said...

Jenny

I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting such nice memories of your grandpa. I am fortunate to have both of my grandparents today, but I know that won't be the case forever and reading your post reminds me what a special people grandparents are for everyone.

Bises
Denise

Cheyenne said...

What a beautiful homage to your grandfather. It's so special to have them for any length of time but wonderful to thing of them with the people they've loved who went before.

Hugs from a girl from Payson (AZ).

Nancy said...

Oh Jenny, I feel your pain. It is so hard to lose such a pillar in your family and in your life. It hurts, no other way around it. Im so sorry but Im glad you got to be with others to share in the love surrounding him.
xo Nancy
Powellbrowerhome.com

Crystal @ 29 Rue House said...

Such a lovely post Jenny - what a special man. So nice that you're still connected to that place that has so many wonderful memories for you to share and make new ones with your girls.

MeMoBaby.com said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandparents and family at large. You should feel proud that you are fostering strength and the importance of family in your own girls. Blessed are you.

Ferndale Lane said...

A lovely tribute to your grandfather, it brought a tear to my eye. My husband's grandfather just passed away Jan. 13, and our family is going through the same thing. I've only seen my husband cry twice, when both grandfathers passed. It's so wonderful your girls got to know and love him!

Jessica said...

That is really, really beautiful. So evocative.

Jessica said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. When my beloved grandmother passed, I felt the same: my grandparents, separated sixteen years by death, were finally reunited. One of the blessings of faith is knowing that this life isn't all there is. May he rest in peace.

Angie said...

I am so glad you were able to gather with your family and celebrate the life of your grandpa. His funeral service was beautiful, and he will be missed by so many of us that loved him and also felt we were a special "favorite." Truly an incredibly loving man with a wonderful family that has blessed my life in so many ways. One of those blessings is getting to read your blog and be inspired by not only the incredible projects you do, but the admirable life you live. Thank you.

Heather W said...

Grandpas are the best. Isn't it amazing how strong men are as they age, its like they keep getting stronger! My grandfather was the same way. Hold tight to the memories...

pinkredandblue said...

i'm so sorry for your loss. beautiful tribute to your grandfather.

Lynn said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. You have such a lovely family and I'm so glad you plan to share more of them with us.

My Notting Hill said...

This is a lovely, loving post. The photograph of your grandfather is like a portrait, beautiful.

Lauren {Stylized Existence} said...

So sorry for your loss, Jenny. Grandparents are such special people.

Elizabeth Downie said...

What a nice tribute. He sounds like an amazing man. And I love the photo of him. What a handsome man!

hachtmans.blogspot.com said...

I can see the twinkle! I just hope there is a baby born somewhere today that adds as much greatness to this world.

Carrie Turner said...

Really beautiful Jenny. What a blessing to have those wonderful memories for yourself & your girls too. xo

Jessica C. said...

this is lovely. thank you for sharing.

Ms. Bright said...

beautiful, such wonderful memories!

Miggy said...

What a lovely tribute.

I had a grandpa I was especially close to and when you talk about yours being a toughie, but mostly a softie I know exactly what you mean. I don't even think our generation has any IDEA what the word tough really means... and those are some great childhood memories to treasure.

katieokeefeblog said...

This is so beautiful. Friday was the one year anniversary I lost my grandfather. There's something special about these men in our life, never to be forgotten.

Erin Goodchild said...


What a sweet post - your words are poetic. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Shannon Valderas said...

Thank you for sharing such a nice story of your family. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Jennifer said...

I've never posted before, but I read your blog almost daily. Thank you for this sweet post; pulling back the curtain to reveal bits of your life and family is brave and bold, and it sits so well with me and I'm sure, so many of your readers. I'm sorry for your loss Jenny.

Annie Vincent said...

What a sweet tribute. Grandparents are amazing and yours seems idyllic. love and prayers for you and your family at this time.

Martha said...

such a sweet tribute.

Amberly said...

This is beautiful, Jenny. It made me feel so much. Such lovely photos as well.

Your grandpa sounds like he was a great man and I'm glad that you have such wonderful memories. I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope that you are able to get lots of quality time with your family during this time.

Elisa of Fancy Free Me said...

Thank you for sharing, this was so sweet. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Sketch42 said...

Beautiful. Everything...

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Chelsea said...

this is such a wonderful tribute. thanks for sharing your feelings with us!

jajincmom said...

So sorry for your loss, but it looks like your family is extremely blessed with a rich heritage from your Grandpa. What a precious tribute.

Amber said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I had a special grandpa too and it was a hard loss for me when he died. Your grandpa sounded like a great man. Beautiful tribute.

Laurie Jones said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, your post was absolutely beautiful, thanks for sharing it with us! I hope he's enjoying his time with his love!

Molly said...

your grandfather sounds like such an amazing man. i'm so sorry for your loss. grandparents are one of life's greatest blessings, how special your children got to know them.

Bamily said...

So sweet, Jenny. Thanks for sharing. I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandpa

Jilly said...

I remember visiting your grandparents at their home with the big violin mounted on the wall outside their front door. They were wonderful people, and what an amazing family they created together. Thinking of you and yours at this difficult time.
xo,
Jilly

little lady said...

Hauntingly beautiful. I just lost my grandfather as well, and they sound a lot alike. I'm sure he's kickin' it somewhere in the great unknown with your's and your grandma. Thank you for sharing.

My Crafty Home Life said...

Beautiful post. Celebrate his life.

Sarah said...

This makes me miss my pop pop so much. He spent most of my life in AZ and he also was tough but a huge softie inside, a perfectionist, a war hero, advisor, eye twinkle, everything you said. He started a rock collection for me too. Thank you for making me remember him in extra detail today. Just when I think I can't love your blog any more...prayers to your whole family and your beautiful grandfather.

Liz said...

You've written this in such a beautiful way, makes me wish I would have known him!

Cass said...

Such a sweet post. Your grandpa sounds like an amazing man. Love that last pic of him.

Erin said...

This was so sweet! My grandma grew up in Snowflake too (well, technically she grew up nowhere, on a ranch outside Snowflake), but I have such a soft spot in my heart for that town.

Your grandpa sounds like an amazing man and I'm glad you could be there to honor him.

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

Awe this made me think of my own grandpa who passed away last year. My deepest condolences Jenny. What a beautiful family you have!

The Furry Bird said...

What a lovely and honest post, and what a tribute to your grandpa to refocus and open yourself.

C.B. said...

I'm sorry for your loss. My mother raised me along with my grand father and I loved him to bits. He was my favorite human being and it broke my heart when he past away (I was only 15 years old at the time). I'm not religious but I like to think that he's watching over me.....

Katie said...

I'm from Snowflake and I just read this post. It brought a tear to my eye. What a sweet man. Love your blog! So excited to follow you and your new renovation.

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