Friday, October 26, 2012
We recently made a trip to St. George because of the kids being out of school. We all jumped into the Queen Mum and we were excited to leave our routines behind us.
My mom and I were having our catch-up chat Thursday afternoon and she had mentioned that she didn't think my grandpa wasn't going to make past Thanksgiving. "He's stopped eating and he is unable to stand without falling," she said. With that, I figured I better see him.
My grandpa has been sick with Alzheimer for about 8+ years now. I said a mental goodbye to him years ago, while his physical body continued to remain with us. We would go to church with him when we'd visit and I loved to watch the kindness Becket would give to my grandpa. Becket would put his arm around him or hold his hand. Grandpa was always surprised, but gentle back and sometimes he would even tease him. Becket may not be as aware as I would like him to be in other areas, but he sensed the need to love my grandpa for who he was and that always brought a smile.
Becket and Grandpa playing at the family reunion
Friday morning, I went to see my grandpa with my mom. As I turned the corner to walk into the room, I gasped to see my grandpa lying there in a skinny state and looking very gaunt. He was sleeping. Months ago he did not look like this and this is what took me by surprise and made me deflate. I could now see my mom's concern and quickly took his bedside to carefully look him over. My mom left the room to talk to the nurses and it was just me and my grandpa. Nervous to hold his hand, not sure why, I sort of rested my hand on his arm. I was scared I suppose and trying to sort out this wicked long disease. Then the peace and spirit that was in that room talked to my head and filled my chest, the kind brands you. I knew I was sharing this moment with loved ones on the other side. Unfortunately, with all the squinting and looking around his room, my clothed human eye could not see them, but I knew they were there. At one point in our moment, he slowly lifted his arm as if he were saying hello to someone. Heaven was near and I'm glad to have I felt pinch of it. My grandfather passed away 5hrs later.
My girls started crying with the news and Becket started his interrogation. I stopped the car and paused. I explained to the kids that I'm actually not sad he's left us, I'm happy. Gretchen: "How can you be happy! He's dead!" Very dramatic-and yes I'm sad, but, the man has suffered long enough. I told them that he probably feels sorry for us that we have to stay here on earth. Heaven is where you want to be anyway. He's now with my Grandma. Mat and I joked that Grandma probably nagged him for the time it took for him to join her! "Bob, what took you so long!"
So, to celebrate his reunion with family on the other side, I told the kids that we were getting a frozen yogurt from Dixie Nutrition. This was a favorite treat of his. I would take him to get one when we would go on little outings to get away from all of the crazy nursing home people:)
After we bought our yogurt, I told our young frozen yogurt maker with tears in my eyes that my grandpa had died a few minutes ago and we came here to honor him by getting his favorite treat. His demeanor changed and he apologized for my loss. Embarrassed for giving him that cold puff of air to choke on, I apologized red in the face for not guarding my thoughts and keeping it to myself. I just wanted him to know how special his yogurt was to me, and the raspberry tart happened to be really good that day. I suppose it's these simple memories that we choose to remember our loved ones.
So grandpa, here are my memories I choose to remember you by: I will hide those Easter eggs in hard spaces --spaces that you won't find until years later, give my children physical wall/rope climbing challenges to stretch them a little further, enjoy my running and occasionally pick up trash when I see it (not as faithful as you were), give the kids moped rides in the warm Dixie sun, sing your little tune "haven't got a dime song" and love them as you loved me. Thank you Grandpa, and I'm happy for you.
Funeral is Saturday, October 27th at 11AM and the viewing is Friday, the night before from 6-9pm at Metcalf mortuary.
Also, sorry to hear about the loss of my friends mother, Jan Clark who also passed away this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Spencer family too.
Posted by The Harrises at 10:16 AM