Thursday, March 7, 2013
My gramps died on Tuesday.
You see, Gramps had a really, really hard childhood. I truly don't think he knew happiness until he met my grandma. They really were like two halves that made a whole. They worked together. They played together. They complemented each other perfectly. When she passed, he really struggled. He was kind of grumpy. :) And I don't blame him. When you feel like crap, and when you're depressed, you're grumpy.
I prefer to think of him before Grams passed - a great, roaring life force. Always playing tricks on people. Always bellowing and tickling and teasing. Building stuff. Tinkering with stuff.
Whenever I walked into the room, my whole life, Grandpa would sing at the top of his lungs, "There she is, Miss America!!!"
I loved that.
He and Grams had a winter home in St. George. His health was declining, and he decided to sell his home and come back up to I.F. My mom and her siblings went down and helped him pack, then drove him home on Sunday.
On Monday, he decided to quit dialysis. He came home to die. The plan was that Ben would go over Monday night with my brother-in-law and my dad to give Gramps a blessing. Then, when Ben came home to take over with the kids, I would go over to spend time with Gramps. My time to say goodbye.
But Monday afternoon, something kept nagging at me - "Go see Grandpa now. See Grandpa right now. Go see Grandpa now." I realized that the Spirit was nudging me. So I went over to his house. I called my sis before and warned her that I had to bring Micah with me, and if she could keep him in the living room and quiet, then I could spend a moment with Gramps in his room.
He had reacted very, very angrily to people visiting him that day, which made me nervous. Brianna warned me to prepare myself for him to yell at me and tell me to leave. So I walked in, expecting the worst, but he was okay.
"You didn't come over just to see me, did you?" he wheezed.
"Nope," I lied. "I was in the neighborhood and just stopped by."
"Oh, good," he sighed. "I don't want to be a bother." He seemed to relax a bit. "I want to roll on my side. Will you help me?"
So we rolled him onto his side. Then he wanted his heating pad between his shoulder blades, and he wanted his blankets pulled right up to his ears. Then he asked me to switch his pillows, the one on the bottom to the top and vice versa. So I got him all settled.
And then we held hands. He held my hand very tightly. I stroaked his forearm and his hair. He still had a full head of beautiful, white hair.
He closed his eyes for awhile, but then opened them and looked right at me. I said, "I'm glad you're home."
"I'm happy," he said. And then he started to drift off.
I leaned over and spoke into his ear (he's hard of hearing). "Ben, Pete, and Dad are coming over tonight to give you a blessing. I love you so much." And then I kissed his temple and let him fall asleep.
Later that night, after Ben had helped with the blessing and come home, and I went over, he had fallen asleep, and I didn't want to bother him. I peeked in at him. And then I stayed just to be with my mom. He never woke up again. He slept soundly until the next day at 4 p.m. He started stirring and moaning, and it was time for his hospice nurse to give him some more morphine, so she did, and he went back to sleep. And he died five minutes later.
So I never would have had a chance to talk to him if I hadn't gone Monday afternoon. I'm so glad I listened to that prompting and had that sweet moment with him before it was too late to say goodbye.
He didn't want a funeral, the little stinker. Just a graveside service. So we're doing that on Saturday. But we are going to have a nice dinner at my parents' afterwards, so Brianna and I have been scrambling to put together a binder to display for everyone in our family to look at, and we're making CD's of pictures of him, his parents, and his ancestors to give to everyone. So we've been reeeeeally busy. Scanning pictures, typing stuff up that he wrote, etc. He took to writing poetry during the past year, so I'm going to type those up.
It's strange. An entire lifetime, gone in just a few days. But this I know - right now, he is with my grandma and with his parents. There is a joyous reunion going on. He's seeing his mom for the first time since she died, when he was only six. My sis, Nat, says she keeps picturing Grandpa and Grandma on a porch swing, just swinging and holding hands. I'd like to think the swing looks like the one they had on their porch at their cabin, which overlooked Palisades lake.
I'm going to miss you, Gramps, but I'm overjoyed that you are with your soulmate again. And I'll see you on the other side.