Thursday, September 26, 2013

Grandma June

Sweet girl,

The family reunion is just getting bigger up there isn't it? Like I've told many already.... I'm kinda jealous a bit. :)

Last week was interesting for sure. Last Sunday I went to church, then meeting after and right after that  I got a text from my sister saying that sweet Grandma June was passing away. My heart sank. I had just seen her a week ago. We jumped in the car to drive down to the hospital, unfortunately missing our opportunity to say our last goodbye's. Just like that, in a split second she slipped away from this life, leaving her husband of 60 years, 9 children, 38 grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

We had just celebrated their 60th anniversary with them a couple months ago, I'm so glad they got to celebrate that. I absolutely adore my grandparents and the way they treat each other. No one knows true love like the elderly that's for sure. The respect and gentleness my Grandpa Dean showed his sweet wife, so endearing and tender..... and it didn't stop at the hospital. He didn't leave her side. I looked at my grandpa with great respect and admiration as I watched him through blurry teary eyes as he non- stop stroked my grandma's hair; it was very clear to all just how much he adores his wife. Not much more inspires and deeply touches me to the core than a moment like this.

I'm so glad that you got to meet your Grandma June. Several times. I'm so grateful that we made it a point to visit them regularly. I absolutely cherish the pictures and videos and memories I got from those visits.

It was a hard thing to walk into that hospital room, seeing her lifeless body on the bed. Unwanted flashbacks of 3 years prior came to my mind as I remember anxiously walking into your room with the naive hope that you would survive. I had gotten to see my Grandma sooner than I did you, so she was still fairly warm, but the minute I touched my hand to her face, it's like I was shocked as I yanked my hand away and went to daddy's arms to cry, trying fiercely to push those memories into the back of my mind where it's been safely locked away. I replaced them with images of her giving you a huge hug and big huge kisses with lipstick left behind. Telling you how very much your mommy loves you and misses you.
I can imagine the great rejoicing of being reunited with family who's passed on before, including you, tears of joy and gratitude. I also imagine at least a little bit of sadness still? For those whom you have left here. I wonder, when my grandma hurried to give her baby boy the biggest hug, or when she went straight into her mother's loving arms..... did it make you cry at all wishing that was you and I? Because it sure does that for me. These arms are always aching to hold you again, sweet girl.

The funeral was beautiful, and once again it was like being at your funeral all over again, I tried to compose myself as best as I could. I grieve double these days.... little did people know that I was crying over you again as well as my Grandma. It hurts, so why do I put myself through such pain? It is hard, yes... but I know I can do hard things. I've already gone through the hardest thing, so I can do anything. And I would regret if I didn't attend important moments like these, moments you can't get back, so I force myself to be strong and pray for angels to strengthen me as I try to comfort and be there for others.

I want to share a few things that I love about my Grandma:

  • Whenever we would visit her while I was younger, she would give me a brush to play with her hair. She loved to have it brushed (didn't matter if it was pulled hard) and I loved to play with hair! I also love to have people play with my hair, I must've got that from her :)
  • She was ALWAYS happy to see everyone! I always felt important.
  • Famous Lipstick kisses. She would grab our cheeks and give us all a big kiss on the cheek, leaving a lipstick mark :) 
  • Always giving us compliments- "Isn't he just a doll!" or "You're such an angel!" etc
  • Always talking about her family, and how many grandchildren to keep track of- "so many blessings to count" she would say :) 
  • She would go hiking with us while I was younger, for many years.
  • She LOVED to sing. She was almost always singing. At family get-togethers she had everyone gather around the piano to sing. (it was usually at Christmas party. it was great fun!) She was a part of the Jay Welch choir for so many years. Beautiful voice. She was even singing and smiling on her death bed.
  • She loved to hear us sing and play the piano anytime we came over. She thoroughly enjoyed hearing us perform. 
  • I don't think I ever saw her have a bad day. She was a very happy person, always so kind to others, positive and upbeat; it was so refreshing to be around her.
  • Gardening was another thing she was great at. Both her and Grandpa Dean. They had an amazing garden, and I used to go back and help when I was younger. She was always always making a fresh, healthy salad from all her garden veggies. Very healthy eater. I am pretty sure I have her to thank for my love for a big huge salad piled high with veggies.
  • Loved visitors. We could tell every time we went to visit, her face lit up showing how thrilled she was to see us.
  • I had some funny moments with her too. When I was around 11ish, my dad had taken me to their house and I had been having a tooth ache. Grandma went straight to the cupboard and fridge, and before I knew it, she was pouring heaps of cayenne pepper and carrot juice into my mouth, saying, "here, this will help!" Wow, it helped... the heat of cayenne pepper and nasty combination with carrot juice completely took my mind off my tooth pain. I immediately threw it all up. to this day, I can't stand carrot juice. I have a good laugh now every time I think of it.
Here's her obituary:

March 7, 1935 ~ Sept. 15, 2013
Margaret June Wood Jessee, our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, friend, passed away peacefully September 15, 2013 at the IMC Hospital in Murray, Utah, surrounded by her family after suffering the gradual decline of Alzheimer's climaxed by a brief bout with pneumonia. She was born at Grand Junction, Colorado on March 7, 1935, the oldest of seven children born to Oral Edwin Wood and Winona Darlene Daley Wood. She attended schools in Englewood, Colorado, Spanish Fork, Mapleton, and Springville, Utah, and also Ft. St. James, British Columbia, Canada where her family lived for several years. Shortly after graduating from Springville High School, she was sealed to Dean C. Jessee in the Salt Lake Temple. Together they have been blessed with nine children. 
June enjoyed her callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having served in several ward and stake music positions, Sunday school teacher, and as Relief Society president. But her paramount contribution to humanity is reflected in the lives of her family. She taught them by precept and example the values of love and service. All who knew her loved her. June entered and left this world with a song in her heart. She loved music and willingly shared her talent as a singer in a wide range of church and civic settings. She sang with the Jay Welch Chorale during the entire twenty years of its existence and continued to sing with other choral groups afterward including the Utah Choral Artists under Brady Allred. 
She loved people especially little children and found friends wherever she went. She enjoyed her association with her husband's colleagues in the Joseph Smith Papers project and the Mormon History Association.
She was preceded in death by her baby son, Douglas; a great-granddaughter, Mikayla; her parents; a baby sister, Lois Marlene; and a brother, Kelly.
She is survived by her husband, Dean; her children, Lyle (Tina), David (Rose), Jeanine Ballard (Ron), Ron (Barbara), Teresa Cruz (Rob), Gordon (Sharon), Merrill (Sherrie) and Jonathan (Tamra); her siblings, Blaine (Carolyn), Nina Payne (Richard), Dennis (Karma), and Brent (Joanne); 38 grandchildren; and 37 great-grandchildren-all of whom June loved dearly.
A viewing will be held at the Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary, 4760 South State, Murray, on Wed. Sept. 18th from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral Services will be Thurs., Sept. 19th at 11 a.m. with a viewing from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the service at Twin Peaks Ward, 5235 South Wesley Road, Murray. Interment: Elysian Burial Gardens.
The family expresses sincere gratitude to the doctors and staff at the IMC hospital in Murray for their loving care and also to the staff at the Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary. 
In lieu of flowers please donate in her name to the LDS Church missionary fund. Online condolences may be shared at

SO much to love about Grandma June. I love her so dearly and am anxious to join the family reunion up there in at least 40 more years :)

Love dearly,