My dear, sweet father-in-law, Bruce Lynn Hanson, passed away early in the morning on July 5, 2012.
He suffered the pains and trials of Parkinson's disease for at least 10 years. He endured this trial with continued grace and optimism, rarely (if EVER) complaining about his plight.
He was a true example of a happy attitude, and always had a big grin and warm bear hug for me (and everyone he met!) each time I saw him.
I will always remember our first private moment together:
I had traveled from Salt Lake City to meet Brad in-person for the very first time. Bruce stopped me in the kitchen, placed his hands on my shoulders, and looked me square in the face. I admit, at first I was a bit startled by this action, but then with the sweetest look in his eyes, he said to me, "Thank you for making my son so happy! We love you."
At that moment, I was assured that Brad would be an amazing husband and father because he was raised by one!!
Brad and I had the unique opportunity of living with Bruce and Joann for the first year we were in California. This gave me a chance to observe their deep and abiding love for one another, and also to appreciate what kind and generous people they are.
Over the years, as Bruce's illness progressed, I witnessed Joann's endless loving service as she cared for him each and every moment. I saw her struggle with loosing her husband long before he actually died. But she never gave up on him -- never spoke an angry word. Only loved and showed me what long-suffering and unconditional love really means.
I am so thankful for their shining examples of following Christ.
I am thankful for Bruce's amazing ability to be happy at least 99% of the time. During that other 1% of the time, he was usually showing his stubborn side. :) And boy, oh boy, did he love sweets!
Bruce will be missed greatly by all who knew him. I'm sure I'm not alone in being grateful that his spirit has been set free from his mortal body, and is now able to do all the things he loves without pain or limits. He truly was the "salt of the earth." I am thankful and comforted by my knowledge of eternal families, and can't wait to meet him again in heaven!