My dad called me yesterday afternoon, from his cell phone.
I knew something was up as soon as I saw it was Dad calling, especially from his cell phone.
He started off like he always does:
"Hi Janelle, what's going on in Texas?"
"Nothing much, Dad. What is going on there?"
I'm thinking, come on Dad, I know something is up...
"Well...I just wanted to call and let you know your Grandpa Mel just passed away about an hour ago."
I knew it was coming, but it is still sad. Even though he is 86 and has lived a wonderful life, it is still sad to see him go. My world felt sad today, knowing he isn't here anymore. How grateful I am for the knowledge that he is in a better place with people he loves who passed on before him. And someday we will see him again. I will give him a big hug and he will say "Hi, Beautiful." The thought makes me smile...and cry. :)
As I have been reflecting on the many memories I have of my grandpa, I have been feeling especially blessed simply because I have so many memories with him! How sad it would be to have him pass away and leave me feeling like I didn't know who he was. Thankfully that is not at all the case!
Grandpa was cheerful, hardworking, patriotic, and a very loving husband, father, and grandfather. I always loved when he would tell Grandma how beautiful she looked. She would roll her eyes and "Oh...Mel!" him, but you couldn't miss the sweetness in the exchange. He would always thank us for coming to visit, and especially for bringing the kids by, because he knew how happy it made Grandma.
I loved to listen to his stories about growing up in Hyrum, UT and about his time in the Air Force. It seemed like he could remember everything! Dates, names, places, it seemed that he knew it all. Until he started to forget some things...it was kind of hard for me when I realized he couldn't remember where I lived or why we lived here. But he was still Grandpa, sweet, and still throwing out that occasional joke.
I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with him alone in June when I was home visiting. He had just been released from the nursing home/rehabilitation center after 3 or 4 months of recovering from hip surgery. Although, while he was there, he had pneumonia and broke his pelvis, so he didn't come home in very good shape. He wasn't able to walk on his own, so he couldn't be left alone. I went to sit with him while my mom took Grandma to a graveside service. It had been an especially hard afternoon: he had fallen while Grandma was trying to get him to the bathroom. Grandma was sad and frustrated; I could tell she put her whole heart into caring for him, and it was really hard on her. She was crying as she left with my mom and Grandpa noticed. He turned to me and sadly said "This is really hard on Mom, and I don't know why." My heart hurt to see him wanting to take care of her like he had in the past, to fix what was hurting her, but not having the memory to realize that it was his health problems that were making her so sad. He loved her so much!
We sat and talked about things in the news for a bit, and then we just sat in comfortable silence. I liked being there, just me and him for a few minutes. I was so grateful to have that time with him and to witness the caring and love between Grandma and Grandpa. I couldn't help but think that this was true love.
As we have seen his health decline over the last several months, I have been secretly hoping that when he passed away it would be at a time when I could go for the funeral. My doctor has already told me that I can't travel anymore starting in a month or so, and I was worried that he would pass away at a time when I wouldn't be able to go and be there with my family. We already had a trip to Utah planned for this week, one last hurrah before school starts and then the baby comes. We get to Utah later this week and the funeral will be while we are there. I am so grateful that I will get to be there to celebrate his wonderful life, and to be there for Grandma.
We love you, Grandpa! We will certainly miss you, but we will see you again! Until then...