Grandfather’s Funeral

My grandfather’s funeral was beautiful.  All of his 19 grandchildren were there and 49 of his 52 great grandchildren were there.  It was mostly just family because when you are 95 most of your friends have gone before you.  So it was a family reunion of sorts.

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After the graveside prayer my family walked across the cemetery to my dad’s grave. We had some time just us together and it was peaceful.  Much different than a year ago when we were there.

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I got home later that night and slept for 12 hours.  It was an emotional draining day.  But still a good day.

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Facebook post Sunday February 16:

Today is a sad but joyous day. My 95-year-old grandfather passed away early this morning. He was the kindest man with a quick funny answer to anything you said to him. He was a great example and raised some of the best men I know. One of them being my dad. Love you grandpa.

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Additional Facebook post the same day:

I wanted to share a funny memory of my grandfather. Last Memorial Day we had a nice dinner before we went to the cemetery. We sat down to eat and I got an apron out for grandpa to wear so he wouldn’t get his white church shirt dirty. I said to him “Now grandpa this apron says Utah State Aggies on it. You should feel really special to be wearing it.” without a second of hesitation he said “Well you better turn it inside out. We can’t have that showing.” (He’s a huge BYU fan). He ate the whole dinner with it on inside out. Funny, especially since more than half of his grandchildren went to USU.

I have mixed emotions about his death.  I am so happy for him.  He has wanted to go for so long now.  But it feels like we just did this.  A year doesn’t seem very long in terms of going to another funeral. It reminds me a lot of those feelings a year ago.

It makes me miss my dad.

After dropping my son off at school yesterday at 7am I was driving down the same street I drive everyday and on the side of the road was an old man.  He had white hair and was dressed in suit pants, a white shirt and tie.  He was waving at everyone as they drove by and smiling.  He’s NEVER been there before.  He didn’t have a coat on.  (It was 30 degrees outside).  As I drove past him he looked me right in the eyes and had the hugest smile and waved. He looked so happy. I cried the rest of the way home. He reminded me so much of my grandfather.  Later when I left for work  the first song my iPod played is the song from my father’s funeral “Never Alone” by Lady Antebellum.  Ok, this song has NEVER been in my shuffle selection on my iPod EVER.  Then the next song after that was “Beautiful World” by Bon Jovi.  Really????  Let me add that my drive to work is all but 8 minutes from my house.

Do I believe in “signs” from the here after?  Coincidences? Not usually.

But yesterday I did.

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After – 1 Year

Today marks the one year mark of my dad’s death.  A year ago today my mom, sister and I were waiting and wondering how much longer we could sit and watch my father hang onto life.  He had been in a coma for 6 days by this time.  For 6 days we talked to him, slept by his bed on the floor, held his hand, and made sure he always knew he wasn’t alone.  We told him it was ok to go, that we loved him and he could let go.  Finally at 9:30 pm on that very snowy cold night he did.

Like I have said in previous posts I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about those few moments.  They are special to me.  It was an experience that was horribly sad but also probably one of the most, if not THE most, spiritual experiences I have ever had.  The love and peace I felt in those minutes were overwhelming.

I woke up this morning and actually didn’t remember that today was “the” day until I was in the shower. I decided that I wasn’t going to be sad today.  I wasn’t going to mourn my dad’s death, but celebrate his life instead.  I was going to spend the day thinking of how lucky I was that he was my dad with happy dad memories like these:

He taught how to drive when I was 14 in a big huge blue truck. The stick shift was probably as big as I was at the time.  We spent hours in a big parking lot starting, stopping and parking.  He probably was so frustrated with me, but never showed it.

Or the time he and my husband decided to prune my pear tree.  Tony out there holding the chair (we didn’t have a ladder) as my dad lopped off the whole top of the tree.  Every time I look at it I laugh.  It is hideous.  I still don’t know why he did it.

Or all the times he teased me about my university’s football team and how BYU was better.  How BYU was better in everything for that matter.

Or how he made up silly nicknames for everyone.  He called me frog and Heather berry since I can remember.   My sister is toad.  My brother is squeaky squirrel.  My oldest is Jer Bear, Jonah is bug. I could list a thousand.

Or how he taught me to love nature.  Even though I don’t love it much now, I do respect the beauty of it.  I could survive in a zombie apocalypse if I HAD to because of all he and my mom taught me.  But I would never choose to go camping for fun.

Or how he taught me how to catch, gut and cook a fish.  Again, I would only do that if I HAD to, but I could do it.

Or how he taught me what happily ever after was.  How he loved my mom.

Or how he blessed all my children when they were babies.  All the blessings he gave me growing up.  The faith he had in God.  His faith he had in me.

Or how he never judged me and all my mistakes I made and just kept on loving me.  Helping me.

Or all the times he hugged me and told me he loved me.

I could go on and on…

The last “conversation” I had with dad was a week before he died.  My mom had gone to pick up my sister and he and I were alone in the house.  He didn’t like any noise at that point, it just agitated him, so we sat in the quiet next to each other on the couch.  He was to the point where he was sleeping most of the time so he was dozing in and out.  But every few minutes he would wake up and turn and look at me and ask me “Are you ok?”  and I would say “Yes dad, I’m ok.  Are you ok?”  he would say “Yes.” and nod off again.  We did that for over an hour.  Him always making sure I was ok.

Yes dad, I am ok.  I love you.  I miss you terribly.  But I am ok.