Who are you thinking about this Memorial Day? Every day my life is blessed by family and friends and even strangers who have come before me, built communities, schools, churches, created resources, invented useful items, and left me this amazing world.

Here is a little introduction to three people I remember this Memorial Day.

My brother, KEVIN

maleah and kevin


  1. His enormous hug. Wow, I look forward to being wrapped in one of Kevin’s hugs again.

  2. His smile and how he greeted me by saying, “You look bea-ut-i-ful.”

  3. The way he cradled each baby niece or nephew as if they were the richest treasure on the planet.

  4. The way he blessed the sacrament. I would love to hear his voice offering the sacrament prayer again.

  5. The expression on his face on the day of my wedding when he came into the room to watch me get married.

What I got from Kevin:

  1. A zest for life.

  2. A love for keeping a journal. Kevin would always go back and write things that happened last year, because he wanted to keep his journals up-to-date.  He was always about a year behind in his journal entries. Yeah, that sounds like me, too.

  3. A love for classic TV shows: Andy Griffith, The Brady Bunch, The Addams Family, The Monsters, Mr. Ed, and Gilligan’s Island

How I hope I’m like Kevin:

  1. I hope I have a portion of his heart—the way he could wrap everyone up in his love and give you a taste of what heaven must feel like.

  2. I hope I can develop a deep character and a greatness of spirit like Kevin.

  3. I hope I have his immense love for God, family, and the scriptures.

My Grandma EVELYN

1995 August Evelyn Winward Maleah Day Mission FarewellMemories:

  1. Grandma Evelyn wore a dress every day. I never saw her wear a pair of pants.

  2. Each night she rolled her hair into loops and secured the twists with hair pins around her head so that her soft, white hair would be wavy the next day.

  3. She kept a few treasured toys in her kitchen cupboard that we would beg to play with. Our favorites: the Little Red Riding Hood doll, the Tinker Toys, and the Lincoln Logs.

  4. Everything about her was soft: her hair, her voice, her lap, her hugs.

What I got from my Grandma Evelyn:

  1. My name. While my mother was pregnant with me, a Hawaiian girl named Melia visited Grandma Evelyn’s Primary class. Grandma shared the name with my mother; otherwise, this website might be called “momElaine” which doesn’t have the same ring.

  2. My love for writing. Evelyn was the editor of her school newspaper, and I was, too.  Evelyn had an “office” next to her kitchen long before home offices existed. I remember her desk, her typewriter, and stacks of paper, folders, and binders where she housed her projects. She collected and wrote family stories which I still read and treasure.

How I hope I’m like her:

  1. I hope I will have snowy-white hair just like Grandma Evelyn

  2. I hope my grandchildren will feel as soft, as safe, and as loved in my arms as I did in Grandma Evelyn’s.

  3. I hope I work and sacrifice to accomplish hard things. Evelyn graduated in 1939 with a four-year college degree—a rare accomplishment for a woman of her era.

  4. I hope my kids and grandkids stay close and love to be together the way Evelyn’s offspring does.

My Grandma LAVERNE

1930s Laverne Day in Bib Overalls with Mother WillieMemories:

  1. I never met Grandma Laverne. She died of a sudden heart attack when my dad was in college. Her only daughter became the woman of the house at age eleven, cooking and cleaning for her dad and five brothers who worked long hours on the farms and in the local coal mines.

    I look forward to having a real face-to-face conversation with Grandma Laverne. I want to know what her voice sound likes.

  2. From pictures I know she prepared meals for her husband and six kids in what we would consider a small kitchen. There was no separate dining area. The table sat smack in the middle with the stove, fridge, sink and counter circling around. I would go crazy tripping over everybody while trying to cook. I suppose it made cleanup faster.

What I got from her:

  1. My love for listening to choir music and singing in choirs. She conducted an all-women’s choir for years. She also conducted children’s choirs and taught music.

  2. My love for education and reading. Grandma Laverne taught elementary school and I have some of the books from her classroom.

  3. My love of horses. I’ve always wanted to have my  own horse, just like she did.

How I hope I’m Like Her:

  1. I hope I have her steadiness and her work ethic.

  2. I hope I live, love, and  serve the way she did for her family, church, and community.