On Monday, June 2nd, 2014, I received an email informing me that my grandpa on my dad's side had passed away that morning.
It was a beautiful day. Despite the tears and the sense of loss and longing I felt oddly comforted knowing I had gained a brand new guardian angel.
George Steve Sparhawk. The only way I can think to describe him is through my personal memories of him. I can remember countless boat shows and boating trips on many a sail boat and kayak. I can remember picking up the phone and being asked "Am I talking to a pretty girl? It sounds like I'm talking to a pretty girl!!"
Before I left on my mission my family and I took a trip out to South Dakota to visit him and when we drove up in the mini van he teetered out onto the front lawn with his cane greeting us with his usual enthusiasm. During that visit I was allowed to take his sky blue '67 Mercedes Benz out for a short test drive. A few days later when we were packing up to leave he promised me that when I came home from my mission he would take me out on a real joy ride in the Mercedes.
After I left on my mission, I had been out for about 2 months when I got this picture in an email. My grandpa and his wife were baptized! And my little brother got to baptize them! It was the sweetest email I had ever received on my mission.
The morning he passed away I was compelled to study the Plan of Salvation from Preach My Gospel. It was so comforting and strengthened my testimony that families are forever. I was also comforted knowing that my grandpa had made essential covenants in this life and that those covenants would allow him to live with our Heavenly Father again.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my grandpa is in the spirit world making everyone laugh and helping others come to Christ. He loved the gospel and he loved the missionaries he got to work with. I know that I will see him again and that he won't be held down by the diseases that held back his mortal body in this life.
I know that he will be with me for the rest of my mission. He will be here to comfort me and encourage me when I need it. And I am eternally grateful for that.