Monday, December 17, 2007

Letting Go of Grandpas

I never thought that the year 2007 would be the year I'd say goodbye to both of my grandfathers. I realize that I am fortunate to have had all four of my grandparents living this long and even the pleasure of knowing and remembering some of my great-grandparents too.

This past July my mom's dad passed away. It was after a yucky battle with throat cancer and many other complications. We were glad that he wasn't going to be so uncomfortable anymore, but that didn't make it any easier. The saddest part for me personally was that I couldn't be there for the funeral. I was seven days postpartum with Jade and they live in Michigan. The timing of things just wouldn't allow it. Maybe it was better that way. I never saw him sick like that, so my memory of him will be of the last time they visited Texas...Thanksgiving of 2004 shortly after Lily was born. I always knew Grandpa K was a kind man...with the most beautiful pale blue eyes...but I never knew until that trip how much he loved children. You should have seen him with Lily and my niece, Avery. His face just lit up as he interacted with them and he enjoyed it so much...I had never seen him in that element. It was during that last time that I saw him that Avery took her very first steps across my kitchen floor...right to Grandpa K...I know Kelly will never forget that. I also have fond memories of visiting their farm in Michigan over the years. I went on the combine tractor with him, fed the pigs "slop", tended baby piglets, fed the barn cats, and on and on. On a comical note, one other thing I'll never forget learning from him was the term "birthday suit". I'm not even sure how it came up, I was really little, but apparently that is what he slept in, and when I finally figured out what he meant...well, let's just say it left a lasting impression!!
Grandpa and Grandma K on our wedding day in July of 1999

In 2004 shortly after Lily arrived
Avery hanging on to his finger after taking her very first steps!

Grandpa and Grandma M at our wedding
Grandpa with Lily after her baptism in February 2005

I got the call today that my dad's father passed away this morning. As I type this I still can't believe he is gone. I knew him much better than my other grandpa simply because they flew and my other grandparents didn't....and when you're traveling between Texas and MI or WI...flying helps!! I knew the call was coming...he had taken a couple of bad falls recently, and was struggling the effects of diabetes, etc. He had gone home to their little cottage in Green Lake, WI last Thursday and Hospice started visiting, so we knew there wasn't much time left. We are flying there over the holidays and were hopeful we'd make it in time for one more visit, but it just didn't work out. Once again, it is probably better that I didn't see him. My dad said he was just a shell of what I would have remembered him as. I have so many fond memories of Grandpa Robert....everyone called him "Bob". I visited their farm many times growing up...I remember playing in the corn crib, the milk house, the barn...etc. I remember letting the chickens out of the coop when I was supposed to be getting eggs! I'm sure that made him mad although he never let on. Grandpa M never knew a stranger....that man could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere, about anything! I loved that about him. I'm thankful he made it to his 82nd birthday December 1st and his 61st wedding anniversary December 11th. I'm also thankful he went so peacefully. He hadn't been responsive in days... no talking, and even very little eye opening, smiling...etc. My aunt went to check on him early this morning and noticed his breathing was more labored. She sat by his side and read him several passages from the Bible and then began to sing Silent Night to him. It's so special that after many unresponsive days, that he started to hum along with her as she sang...I can just hear my Grandpa humming it now...then he opened his eyes, gave one last obvious smile and went to sleep.

Silent Night, Holy Night,
All is calm, All is Bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child,
Holy Infant So Tender and Mild,
Sleep in Heavenly Peace,
Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Sleep Grandpa, sleep. Sleep in heavenly peace.

1 comment:

P & R said...

So sorry to hear about your Grandpa. I will be praying for you and your family. I am off work today around noon. I will try to catch up with you then. What a special time your aunt had with him singing "Silent Night". Love and Prayers - Rachelle

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