There is no delicate way to introduce this topic: My grandpa passed away last night. For the past twenty-four hours I have been grieving.
It came as a surprise, but I just had a feeling I couldn’t shake. Sunday night, when Zach and I dropped him off at home after dinner, I kept telling him over and over again how excited I was that this Sunday he was going to make roast for a big family gathering. I kept telling him and I just had this strange feeling. When Zach and I got back in the car, I cried. There were a few times yesterday when I had a feeling that maybe this was “it.” I didn’t want it to be so I just kept on going.
And then last night it happened and I was initially in shock. I didn’t even know how to digest the situation. I hate that feeling when you find out someone you love has passed away. It feels like you’re gripping to hold onto something that is gone, but you are just reaching–trying to hit the rewind button. Trying to just back up and make sense of it all. It was so surreal. At the same time, when the doctor gave us the news, I initially felt the room become less burdened. It felt like a rush of relief. I noted it, and went on with my family. Talking, crying, and making a plan for the next few days.
On the way home last night, I started to worry. You see, my grandpa has been mourning my grandma’s death for over three years…every second. He has missed her so very much. He truly talked all of the time about how he couldn’t wait to see her and he was trying to be worthy of her.
My grandpa’s body was worn out. Emma Bombeck said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.”” This is my grandpa.
He was sad and he kept going. He still made jokes, he still made friends, he still went to work, yet he was so heart-broken and sad. His body was tired and so very weary, yet he kept getting up in the morning. He got dressed and went to work or church. He went shooting or to lunch.
I felt that relief. The combination of his tired body and his tired soul finally finding the rest that he deserved.
But after a minute, my grief-stricken heart couldn’t verify if that feeling was real or not. I began to second guess myself. I started to worry. I told Zach, “My grandpa missed my grandma so much. I need to know that he’s happy right now. I need to know that he’s so so happy.” Zach assured me that he was. I received assurance from many people last night and today, but I was still having this hurt that would not go away.
I went into work this morning to finalize my lesson plans for the day. I got home and I immediately started bawling. I got down on my knees and I uttered one of the most desperate prayers of my life to this point. I asked for a few things but I begged and pleaded to know that my grandpa and grandma were together and happy.
I went about my day with my family. Writing the obituary, looking for pictures, making funeral arrangements, etc. There were moments of complete sadness and lots of crying at our great loss. There were moments of happiness as we remembered so many wonderful moments that include my grandparents.
I didn’t sleep well last night, as I’m sure you can imagine, and I was emotionally drained by the time I got home this afternoon. My mom, uncle, and aunt were meeting with my grandpa’s bishop this evening at my grandpa’s house. I decided I was not going to go. I didn’t feel like I needed to be there and I just wanted to fall asleep.
I came home and dozed for about fifteen minutes before Zach came home. I started talking to him about my prayer this morning and I cried. I then started explaining to him how peaceful my grandpa’s house was today. I told him how sad I was to lose that house. That home was my sanctuary from the time I was little. I grew up there. That smell, that feeling….there is nothing that soothes me more (aside from maybe Zach’s arms now). As I was explaining this to Zach I realized that after my grandpa’s funeral the house probably won’t still feel quite like that–it won’t feel the same after his body has been laid to rest.
With upcoming funeral plans, the next few days will be crazy. I realized that tonight was the night that I could spend one final truly peaceful moment in my grandparents house. I went.
We met with the bishop and made arrangements. After the church people left, my family stayed. We sat in the living room and talked. I curled up on my favorite couch and listened as my mom and her brother and sister told stories along with my dad. Zach and I laughed with them.
A few minutes into our family time I realized something. This felt whole. My grandparents were there and my grandma was so very happy to see us all together and laughing. I could feel it. I promise that I could. They. were. there. They. were. happy.
Even though I still shed a few tears this evening, my Heavenly Father showed his love for me once again by answering my desperate plea.
How grateful I am for a loving Heavenly Father and a plan of Salvation that promises that we can be together with our families again. How grateful I am for the grandparents that filled my soul with an abundance of love and joy.
I will mourn this loss for a while. I’ve taken this harder than any other. Now they’re both gone…both parts of the couple and that’s hard. It’s like he’s taking her with him.
My grandparents will always be missed, but I will never forget the moment I had tonight on their couch.