Thursday, October 24, 2013

Goodbye Grandpa

I can't believe that it has only been three weeks since that magical night when I sat with my grandpa, drinking tea and watching the football game.  I knew that our time together was precious and the moments were fleeting, but I didn't think that he would be gone so quickly.

I am thankful, however, that the kids were able to see him on one of his last good days - we showed him my IPad and he wanted to buy one on which to type his memoirs.  I thought it would be a great idea to buy him a handheld voice recorder - much easier than typing, but by the time I took it out to him, only one week later, he didn't have the strength to use it.  I don't think even he realized how quickly this terrible disease was going to take him Home.

He went into the hospital last Saturday (was that only five days ago?), and I had seen him Friday and Sunday, but the difference in two days was so noticeable; I knew there wasn't much time left.  However, I had a vision on Saturday morning (driving home from kickboxing, of all things!), and it was of my grandma standing next to Jesus, asking, "Can he come now?", but Jesus responded, "It's not time yet" and my grandma, being patient as always, just waited.

That was such a comforting moment, not because I knew we had a few more days with grandpa, but because I realized at that point how God's timing is perfect, and He has a plan, whether we understand it or not.  Some members of my family have discussed assisted suicide and how it would have been appropriate in grandpa's case, because he wanted to die, but he also believed in a God that is far wiser than we could ever hope to be, and he would have accepted whatever God was handing to him.

When I visited the hospital on Sunday he was somewhat coherent, squeezing my hand tight and asking for water when his strength would allow, and I told him that I had seen grandma with Jesus and she was waiting for him, but that Jesus said it was not yet time.  The last thing I said to him was, "Grandma's waiting for you, you'll be with her soon, you're the best grandpa I could have ever hoped for.  I love you grandpa," and he responded, almost in audibly, "I love you Jo."  He then fell asleep and we left the hospital shortly after.

I had thought about returning to the hospital, but I think I just wanted to have my final memory of my grandpa being that quiet little, "I love you Jo.", something to hold in my heart forever.

And the thought of his reunion with his beautiful bride makes my heart happy, for he will dance with his beloved for all of eternity.

I love you grandpa.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Moments in Time

We are on this planet for such a short period of time, and when we look back on our lives, there will be moments that we remember more than any other.  There are moments that, when you are experiencing them, you just know they are special.

I had one of those moments on Saturday night.  Elizabeth had a gymnastics practice in Sherwood Park, and rather than watching a bunch of people twirling and tumbling for two hours, I decided to go visit my grandpa.  I called him up, having to cut the phone call short because he couldn't hear what I was saying, but I did know that he was thrilled that I was coming over.

As I arrived through his front door, the first thing I noticed was his new chair.  Since he returned from the hospital, he has been sleeping in an old green recliner, the one that was in my grandparents' basement forever, because he was too uncomfortable sleeping flat on a bed.  That chair was old and hard, and I don't know how he slept in it (apparently, not very well).  His new chair, however, was like a fluffy cloud of comfort, and I could see the happiness on my grandpa's face, joy that I hadn't seen in a long time.  The chair has a remote control so that he can lie back or stand up with no effort, and he said he hadn't slept so well in years.

We sat in his little room and watch the football game, eating cashews out of his big jar from Costco, and I asked if he felt like a cup of tea.  He exclaimed, "I was just thinking how nice a cup of tea would be!"  I boiled the water, loaded the tray with sugar and a cup, and brought it over to his chair.  He sat and drank tea with a smile, and for a moment I forgot all of the stresses of the past year; it was just me and my grandpa having a cup of tea and watching the football game.

As I left, I gave him a hug as I always do, but this time he held me close for a long time.  He said, "Do you remember going to the Yukon?" (I didn't, since I wasn't yet three years old.)  He continued, "You sat in the back of the trailer and looked at me and waved.  I have so many good memories; I have lived a good life."

My grandma often had spoken about that day that we left for Whitehorse, how I just looked at them both as we drove away.  My grandma and grandpa both lived full and happy lives, their legacy continuing on with children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.  The moments that they are likely remembering are the moments that truly mattered in their long lives.

And I ask myself:  What are the moments that I want to remember?