Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Memory: Grandpa Bud

Dan pretty much leaves the blog in my hands. Generally, I choose the topics and photos and he puts up with my random stories and the occasional embarrassing picture. But a couple of weeks ago he made a simple request that I can't refuse. "Wifey, maybe the second week of October you could write about my dad?" Okay Dear, for you, I can do that.

On October 9th, Dan's father, Byron Lenssen (known lovingly as Grandpa Bud) will have been gone from us for seven years. He died a year before Dan and I got married, and about two-and-a-half years before Lana was born. On both occasions, the very real hole left by a lost loved one was so evident it was almost physically tangible for Dan.

I only knew Bud for a few months before he died, so unfortunately my memories are brief and scattered. I remember how his grandchildren gave him sweet hugs and kisses when they'd see him. I remember him puttering around the yard and garden. I remember that he lovingly took care of the beautiful gladiolas in the flower beds.

Even though I wasn't technically "family" yet, I was invited to join all the Lenssens for a Labor Day Weekend get-together a little over a month before Bud died. Two of Dan's brothers and their families, along with Bud and Sue, made the trip to Post Falls, Idaho for a weekend of togetherness in the woods. This is the photo of the whole group from that weekend.

It is grainy, we're all a bit woodsy, and no one would say they look their best, but it is the last photo Dan has of his dad, and it will hang on our wall as long as Dan wants it to.

Bud wasn't feeling well most of that weekend and got around the camp with the help of a golf cart. By that time the cancer had stolen much of his energy and vibrancy, but hadn't taken his spark or affection for his family. The four grandkids that made the trip got plenty of snuggles and loves from their Grandpa Bud. I'm sure the youngest two don't remember, but I hope these two nieces remember at least bits and pieces of their time with their grandpa.

Sunday morning of that weekend, we had a unique church service on the bank of the river. We sat in a circle on benches and sang hymns and listened to a short sermon. I don't remember the songs or the talk, but I remember watching Bud. He held tightly on to his wife's hand as they worshiped together. I wonder if he knew that in a little over a month's time he would be worshiping with the angels? As he listened to the word of God being preached, I wonder if he was looking forward to soon hearing the voice of the author Himself?

It's been seven years. I think for Dan, there are parts of those seven years that have been easier than others. Dan is confident of his dad's eternity, but some days just really, really misses him. A certain amount of healing has occurred, but there will always be a unique dad-shaped hole on his heart that will never be completely filled with anything else.

Because I only knew him a short time, my memories of Bud are few and limited. I would love to know what others remember. Feel free to share. Comment here, on Facebook, or write us an email. I would love to know more about this man, and I'm sure Dan would appreciate recalling happy memories.
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rockin'_robyn said...

Besides him always saying hi and Lenssen Sundays, being interested in what was going on in my best memory of him was one time I was going shopping in Target & he was coming from a dr's appt nearby, he and Aunt Sue saw me in the parking lot and stopped me just inside the store..after a BIG hug he whispered softly in my ear--you look just like your Mom. Music to my ears since I lost her at such a young age.

patricia said...

Uncle of the many kind, gentle and delightfully opinionated Lenssen men. Bud was social, happy, and engaged with the entire family. He liked to know what was happening in your life and what you were thinking about. There is definitely a sad place left in his absence, along with the others that have made the trip ahead of us.