Every year in November we go to Bakersfield to enjoy Thanksgiving with Ben's grandparents, his Bakersfield aunts and uncles and cousins, and with his sister, Heather and her family who also drive down every year from Sacramento. With all the fun we have talking, eating, shopping, playing, watching movies, I am most grateful to be able to spend time with Ben's grandparents, and to have them be a part of our lives, in these closing chapters of theirs. I am happy knowing that my children will have memories of their great-grandparents. Brent and Rita Richards are in their nineties, very spry, funny and loving. I think we break something every time we are at their house, but they always welcome us back with open arms. Each time I say goodbye, I hope that I will get to see them at least once more.
Here is a part of a letter I recently wrote them:
I have really enjoyed living (somewhat) close to you and seeing you on a regular basis. I am so grateful for your examples and the influence you have on me and my family. I only ever had one grandparent, my Oma in Germany, who was really part of my life. Because I have not lived near her since I was a small child, I have not had the opportunity to spend as much time with her as I would have liked. I have sweet memories of her and the time I did get to spend with her is so cherished! Sadly, she now suffers from dementia and doesn’t remember any of her loved ones or those memories we shared over the years. That is partly why I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to get to know you and to spend so much time with you!
None of my grandparents are active members of the LDS Church or any other faith, and I am continually grateful for a strong gospel heritage through Ben’s family. I often think how blessed I am, how blessed my children are to know you, and more importantly, what kind of people you are, and I hope they understand the legacy you have left for them. Thank you for the faithful lives you have lead and continue to lead. I t makes such a difference to me, to Ben, and to my children.