August 3rd, 2013.

This post is dedicated to my incredible Grandfather, Jonie Harley Lewis.  April 1st 1919- August 3rd 2013.

Gramps, passed away this morning at 11am.  94 years young.  (We all thought he was 96… but when you get to that age- who’s counting!) And it’s serendipitous to me because I came into the world at 11am- and I wouldn’t be here without him.  He’s the last male Lewis in our family (as we Lewis’s/ Pritchett say: “The last of the Mohicans”)

He had the most peaceful passing we could have asked for.  He was at home in his bed, surrounded by his family and loyal caretaker.  The sun was shining and jazz music playing.  As sad as it was it was unbelievably beautiful at the same time.  His spirit got to pass into the heavens surrounded by love, flowers and celebration of his incredible long life.

He was, and will always be- the most amazingly influential man in my life.  My Gramps.

From the captain of his football team, to a sergeant in the military, to marrying his beautiful wife, Shannon, and then on to an incredible teaching career at Santa Monica High School and running Shannon Travel with Gram.  Raised four children and two grandchildren and created a beautiful life with his gorgeous wife.

He is the most compassionate man I have ever met.  Patience and kindness was the way of his life.  He taught us all so many lessons and I am so grateful to keep on learning from them everyday.

I want to share a few of my fondest memories of gramps.

First off- “CHEERS TO WOMEN! WITHOUT THEM THE WORLD WOULD NOT GO ROUND.” This was his famous quote right after my gram passed when I was 18/19.  He said it over and over years since then.

The next best off- if you all don’t know, Gramps has had Alzheimer’s the last 8 years- so the last few years of his life every time I would see him I would say: “Hi gramps! I love you!” And he would say back “Who are you?” and I’d say “It’s me! Shannon! Your granddaughter!!!” and he would say “Oh yeah! I love you!!!” With a huge smile on his face shining those teeth he hardly had!

Gramps and I did everything together- We gardened, we bar-b-qued, we watched 60 minutes on Sunday nights and he even gave me my first Budweiser beer at about 10 years old- thanks gramps! And as he would always say “Cheers to lookin at ya ;)”

Gramps was a wise man.  He’s truly the only man that I was raised with that actually put me in my place. And I listened.  And I learned.  And I am so very grateful for those experiences and memories with him because of course he was always right :)

Here is just a little background of how close PJ and I are to our grandparents…

We have lived with them.  They raised us.  And in the end, don’t we all raise each other?  We have all together, and always will.  We are family- Hallelujah!

Gramps is the definition of love.  My mom is the definition of love.  For the past 26 years, and my sisters almost 35 years, they (and Gram) have been shining nothing but LOVE all around us.  Three little living angels that we are so blessed to call our family.

So this ones for you gramps…

Dear Gramps,

I love you! I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the fishes in the sea! I wouldn’t be where I am in my life without you.  You have inspired me and supported me through every stage of my life.  You are the strongest and most kind man I have ever known.  Through all the trauma and heartache over your years- you did nothing but be a rock and always pull through for all of us.

I want to thank you.  Thank you for being you and raising this family.  Without you- I wouldn’t have the most incredible mom in the entire world.  You raised a beautiful cowgirl that stands by her family to the end and shines ALL THE LOVE AND LIGHT IN THE WORLD TO EVERYONE THAT CROSSES HER PATH.  Just like you :).

Even though I cannot physically see you everyday- I can sure feel your spirit all around me.

You are finally with your soulmate up in heaven :)  Almost 9 years later- and together at last.

Say hello to beautiful Grandma, Jonie K, Jill, Harley, Rowdie, Pete, Buster, Maggie, Winkie and Captian Jack for me :)

I will remember all of our special moments together- Always and forever.

So rest in peace my precious Gramps, I will carry you with me always.  Thank you for being my guardian angel.

I love you!

Your little sunflower, Little Shannon.

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