Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lessons Learned from Grandpa Merrell

A preface to any reader - My dad has cancer.  He had cancer a couple of years ago - pancreatic cancer.  He was miraculously cured.  It was a miracle because people just don't survive pancreatic cancer.  He was cancer free.  No sign of cancer.  Until this past spring, in a routine scan they found two spots on his lungs.  He is now on his second round of chemo. He is tired.  But he doesn't complain.  He doesn't let on that he is in pain or that things are bad.  But, he is, they are.  This is a letter to my children.

The point of this post is to let you know what a great man your Grandpa Merrell is.  If I can think of one word to describe him it would be generous.  He is generous with his time.  He is generous with his money (which he has very little of).  He is generous with his service.

Many years ago our family had part ownership in a couple of waterbed stores in California, when waterbeds were cool.  I sold the beds and Dad delivered them.  I remember he would do anything for a customer.  If they needed the bed set up that day, he would do it.  It was easy to sell beds because of the great customer service Chuck would provide.

When I was at BYU I knew I could call home anytime and he would send me money.  I was at the Western Union office picking up money orders so frequently, the guy who worked there eventually asked me out on a date.  My first experience at skiing - at night - Disaster!  But, I digress!  If I needed money Dad would send it.  I'm sure I abused his generosity as only children can, but he never complained.  Looking back I am certain it was a hardship on them.

Dad has always been ready to serve - anyone.  He has a happy, willing heart.  I'm grateful for his example.  

His positive attitude - even now as he is so seriously ill - has always been an inspiration to me.  I remember one time I was with a bunch of my friends.  I don't remember the details, we were on an outing and things weren't going well. Everyone else was complaining and whining.  I offered a positive outlook and one of my friends said, "You were just like your Dad just then."  I don't know why that one particular experience has stuck with me.  Maybe it was because I wanted to be like him so much.  

Dad comes from great, hard-working, simple Arizona stock.  I have always loved the heritage I can claim from his side of the family.  I wish you could have known his parents, his brothers and his sisters.  They were amazing people - just like your Grandpa.  

I would challenge each of you to spend what time you can with him while he is still here with us.  It's easy to get busy with our lives and I know we will see him again one day.  But, you can learn great things from him NOW.  You can learn to be generous from him NOW.  You can learn to work hard and be positive from him NOW.

He would love it.  I'm certain you would too.

I love you. 

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