Coping with Grief
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From Cindy Sawyer Mendive.
Dad was a great teacher, he and granddad starting me riding horses at the very young age of 2 years old, a leg on each side of the horn is where it all began. I remember the first time I fell off a horse. Crying, dad picked me up brushed off the dirt and said “Sis when you fall off you have to get back on. Every time I would hit the ground, I could hear dad’s voice telling me to get back on. The last time I got bucked off at age 55, hurting bad I gathered myself up and crawled back on. Thanks, dad, for teaching me a valuable lesson for life also. Dust yourself off and get back up and tackle whatever comes my way.
Dad was also my number one supporter during my Pee Wee rodeo years, queening and quarter horse showing and best off all working at the feedlots, sales yard and gathering cattle for his clients, long hours, in all weather. Some of my favorite years.
Dad loved his grandkids. When Tim was 18 years old, dad drove him to Eugene to test for large equipment school. This is one of Tim’s favorite memories of his time with dad.
Mom was one of the best coaches. I would complete a competition and she would share with me things I could improve on. She helped me write speeches, quiz me about current events and PRCA current standings. She could have been a queen contestant and probably kick our butts.
Mom was a very talented seamstress. She would spend hours sewing my queen suits. I was always one of the best dressed and very proud of the outfits she created.
Mom drove me many miles to compete, but she never mastered backing up a horse trailer. I would have to take over at that point. Thanks to dad for spending the time to teach me how.
Poor mom she would try hard to teach me to cook, she finally gave up knowing my heart wasn’t in it. She would let me go and I would run get on my horse. Many years later when I would invite her and dad over for dinner, they would thank me for dinner and mom would say that I must have been watching and listening. Dad would tell me that I cooked like my mom. The best compliment I could receive.
Mom and dad rest in peace, you raised two very strong kids. We will be OK. Love you both.
From Buck Sawyer.
Darrel Sawyer passed away on June 23rd, 2020. Bobby passed on September 23rd, 2023. They mandated there be no services or obituaries. But Mom and Dad, if you’re going to take off without leaving an adult in charge, then I’m making the decisions. They were born and raised in Emmett Idaho; depression era children of hard-working families that only sometimes were certain of where the next meal was coming from. The two of them eventually called Weiser home then lived their final years in Fruitland. We had mom here in Boise for the last few years. Darrel and Bobby had two children, Cindy and Buck—three grandchildren: Tim, Harry and Mali—two great-grandchildren Payton and Sawyer. Barb Peterson and Barb Phelps were pseudo-children that were there for the folks for decades, and to the end.
In thirty years of driving toward cow business deals Darrel clocked somewhere over a million miles on highways, dirt roads, and through sagebrush trying to run down badgers. I can see him commanding the ring at Weiser Livestock, in a down vest and silver Resistol, smiling in a down market and yelling while taking bids. I can hear him throwing open the incoming gate and yelling “More Cattle!” to a grinning Pat Palmer. I remember him putting three-year-old Harry on his lap and letting him drive pickups and tractors. He would push Mali in a swing for hours when she’d fallen asleep, because quitting would have woken her.
He took hard stands. He could back up with grace. I’d tell you he picked the right one each time, but he’d smack my head from above and say, “Oh bullshit. If you’re going to lie, at least make it believable.” I recall the night that we went to Boise to buy a used Chevy Blazer. He told the guy, “We’d like to take it with us, but you’re not going to want to take my check without calling the bank. Do you know anyone in the cattle business that you could call and ask if my money is good?” Driving away that night I realized that I’d just seen the fruit of living an honorable life. I’ve cried with him about his bad memories. We laughed a thousand times over drinks. We spent countless hours working side by side, silently competing over who could accomplish the most. He was there for me when I needed him and ignored me when others needed him more—that may be the ultimate example of love, loyalty and respect.
I still wear those down vests and silver hats.
One of my best memories is Dad commenting that what he missed most in retirement was getting on the road in September and going to Long Valley to ship cattle. He and I headed up there one fall morning. He poured out stories to go with every ranch and farm, from the canyon to getting lunch in McCall. We ended in Emmett, touring the ranches and farms of his childhood. With failing eyesight, he spied a wooden gate headed for a burn pile. His dad had built that in the thirties and my dad went through it morning and night to milk. It hangs in my shop; I see it every day.
Bobby Dill Sawyer’s father died when she was 16—a logger’s family lifestyle became poverty. Her mother opened the Washateria, taking in laundry. Wringer washers, clotheslines, and stove heated irons—it was brutally hard labor. It’s no guess as to where she learned her work ethic and thrift. Mom canned food. We gleaned fields. On her last day there were zip lock bags setting out drying after being washed for the zillionth time. When they built their house in Weiser she worked full-time at the Saleyard, went to see her mom in Emmett weekly and still sanded and stained every cabinet, trim piece, and baseboard in that house. I remember months of her painting and wallpapering, catching a few hours of sleep and then being at work the next day.
Last winter while Karyl moved her household from independent living to assisted, I brought mom up to the house. We put on music, danced in the kitchen, and made dinner. I got my love of cooking by watching her seat guests at the island—captaining her kitchen—bantering—turning out great food. Anyone care to guess what I do now? Making dinner that night I got coached. When that didn’t work, she pushed me aside. Alzheimer’s took away the details of cooking, but couldn't steal being in charge.
Her seven months in Assisted Living at Meadowlake were good. Living in her own apartment, she could sit with her beloved bronzes and other possessions in view. Mom didn’t choose to go for group meals, amongst ‘all those old people.’ In her mirror was a vivacious young woman, holding a martini and a cigarette, head bobbing to the music from a dance floor. Everyone on that fantastic staff had a “Bobby Story,” they loved her spirit. Caregivers said goodbye to her with genuine tears. A week before passing she was still giving me the finger when we’d banter. Cognitive decline shrunk the borders of her world; a blessing, in that case, that helped maintain quality of life. Within days of quality leaving—she left as well.
Never underestimate the power of a kitchen captain to choose when the party is over.
Arrangements were under the care of the Potter Funeral Chapel.
In lieu of flowers a memorial donation can be made to: https://hospicefoundation.org/Donate
Click this link to view additional details about Loraine's Services: https://my.gather.app/remember/loraine-sawyer