(DOUG JESSOP’S UTAH CARING STORIES – ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) How will you be remembered. It seems like a universal question. In this episode of Utah Caring Stories, I had the honor to sit down with a man who’s Father taught him to laugh and to love.
Gary Heaton told me; “Dad grew up in a little town. Kanab, Utah Later became a band and choir director and a beekeeper. He was a lot of fun.”
Gary’s Dad, LeRoy Cox Heaton, lost an eye at the age of fourteen when a gun misfired. He recently passed away at the age of ninety-five.
LeRoy had quite the sense of humor and had fun teasing his band students. Gary continued; “He would entertain these kids by pulling his eye out and he would say I can comb the back of my hair or I can see around corners. They would say, it’s a good day when LeRoy Heaton pull out his eye and show it to us.”
The life of LeRoy and Esther Heaton is a love story.
Sandy Heaton beamed as she said; “I was not their daughter-in-law. I was their daughter-in-love. That’s what they called me. That’s what they signed on birthday cards. That’s what they told people. That’s how they would introduce me. This is our daughter-in-love.”
Gary told me numerous stories about the special things that his Father did. “Every year on Christmas Eve, he would write a love letter to my Mom. One time he took an old bee frame put a piece a cardboard on there and he wrote on both sides and hid it for her to find. And he did that every year.”
The pandemic has had all kinds of effects on families. What you may not realize is how it has impacted people in care facilities. Gary put it this way; “We love Yarrow Hospice because they went out of their way. Especially when COVID hit. We weren’t able to visit Mom and Dad, so we needed them to provide the extra care and love and my parents just loved the caretakers from the hospice.”
John Bell, C.E.O. of Yarrow Hospice got emotional talking about caregivers and who they serve; “It’s a calling for them. If you asked every one of them, they would believe it is a privilege, it was an honor to provide the kind of care that they do. Hospice isn’t about forgetting and letting go of that person’s life. Hospice is living and embracing the quality of life that is left in that family unit.”
What does Gary think his father would want people to remember and embrace?
He smiled and said; “He truly loved my Mother. And he wants us all to love our wives and treat them like they are Queens. Because she was his Queen Esther.”
I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
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