|My cousin Colby <3|
I have debated heavily about writing this post, a part of me doesn't want to remember because it hurts. I've tried to explain to a few people who've asked, why this has been so hard...I don't think I've been able to articulate "why" effectively. I'm going to attempt to do so now, mostly because I want to be able to heal, but I feel it needs to known why the death of this young man has hurt so much.
|Irene Swapp Johnson|
|Sterling Lloyd Johnson|
The top picture is my Grandma Johnson holding Seth and the bottom is my Grandpa Johnson (and me with the dark hair and my sister Cara the blonde one). My grandparents were the best people, kind, giving, nonjudgmental, quick witted and loving. I am the oldest grandchild in the Johnson clan and have so many fond memories of spending time with them in Kanab and at the ranch in Sink Valley. I miss them both to this day.
When Grandpa passed away, I was 18 and was preparing to graduate from high school. He had been sick for quite some time, suffering with emphysema and severe asthma, and he knew his time on earth was almost over. We were the apple of Grandpa's eye and he asked that each of his grandchildren be brought to him so he could say good-bye to us each individually. I can't remember everything that he said, but I remember being devastated. All those memories of Grandpa filling our pockets with pennies and sending us to the corner store, of stopping at the rock shop in Rockville because he was a rock hound and loved rocks, of making sure Grandma bought us caffeine-free Pepsi at the store, of always calling Ramen noodles "noosle soup", would be just that, memories. By the way, I remember asking Grandpa when I was older why he called Ramen noodles, "noosle soup" and he told me it was because that what I called it when I was little. I still think of that when I eat it to this day.
My little brother Sterling (my Grandpa's namesake) was the first grandson born to the Johnson's and my Grandpa could not be prouder! 2 years after Sterling my cousin James (Julie and Jim B.) was born and 2 years after that Colby was born. Colby was the first child born to my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Sabrina, Jimmy being the oldest sibling, my Dad being in the middle and Aunt Julie being the youngest. Colby was Grandma and Grandpa's boy, hands-down. Jimmy and Sabrina lived in Kanab and were able to spend a lot of time with my/our grandparents. Growing up, Colby spent his time helping them tend their garden and accompanying them to the ranch.
I mentioned I was 18 when my Grandpa Johnson passed away, my cousin Colby was 7. Colby made sure my Grandma was being taken care of. "Grandma you're lonely, come and get me so I can spend the night with you", he'd tell her. He made sure her lawn was mowed and that she didn't get lonely. He came over and ate lunch with her even in high school.
Grandma Johnson passed away in 2004, I was an adult at the time going through a divorce and Colby was 15. Grandma passing away was rough on everyone, especially Colby and his family. This was a dark period for the family for several years following Grandma's departure from this life. Many things contributed to this dark spot, trouble with the law, a couple of accidents, divorce, drug abuse, and mental illness. Colby went to live with his uncle for a time and was able to help get his life turned around and get educated. He came back to Kanab and started a business and kept his nose clean and was able to get his life turned around.
Colby left this earth and was received into the arms of our beloved Grandparents and our dear Heavenly Father. He is doing what he was unable to do on earth, serving a mission and sharing the gospel on the other side. Out of everyone in the Johnson family from his dad on down (and even on his mom's side of the family too), Colby was the first to pass away.
Maybe this hit a little too close to home for me or maybe I can still see him running through my grandparents backyard with his mop of white blonde hair. He picked up the hose and toddled behind my grandma and sprayed her as she shrieked and he laughed so hard.
"Jessica, your kids make me feel old", he told me this summer at the Swapp reunion in Sink Valley. I laughed and told him they made me feel old too and then I looked at him a laughed, "It's you that makes me feel old, I changed your diapers." Now I just feel old because he died first.
Colby, know that you were so very loved here on earth and missed by us all. Please hug my Grandparents for me, I still miss them everyday.