Over this last weekend, my Grandpa (Dad’s side) was found in his home unconscious sitting in a chair. He was brought to the hospital and it was determined that he had a brain aneurism, and the damage was too great. He never would return to consciousness again. Last night after 10pm, he passed away.
Fortunately, we have been up in Minnesota visiting family for the past few weeks. Just over two weeks ago, we had a little family gathering to which he drove himself. He seemed to be in great shape, and I was able to sit and talk with him for a while. That is my last memory of him outside of the hospital yesterday, and I’m glad I got to see him. Right before he left, I decided I wanted to get a quick picture with him (above). I’m glad I did.
Grandma, his wife of many years, passed away a few years ago, so he was living by himself for a while. It had never been the same since she died. He would often catch himself saying “we” (referring to grandma and himself) and sometimes correct himself back to “I”. We certainly didn’t ever care one bit if he said “we”, and I remember telling him that once. It was something he never got used to. But, when you’ve spent the last 60 years being with the same person, that is very understandable.
My wife and I used to love going up to visit with them. They were always so welcoming, hospitable, and fun to be around. Grandma was the talker. Grandpa was the dry-humored, man of few words comedian. Both were very funny. They loved playing games. A popular staple in their home was a game they called “Zilch”, to which much of the rest of the world knows as Farkle. In our home, we have a ZipLock snack baggie with six dice, and a photocopy of the rules which Grandma had handwritten. It was always really fun to watch either of them take a risk on rolling the last one or two remaining dice.
In the latter years of Grandma’s life, she needed a lot of assistance. Grandpa was a workhorse around the house. He took care of their yard and landscaping, and took good care of Grandma. He was always in a servant mode, especially for her. If he was ever tired of it or burdened by it, we could never tell. He just kept going and unwaveringly took great care of his bride.
They were very faithful to their church. I think it was probably very rare if they ever missed a Sunday. Even after Grandma’s death, Grandpa still faithfully went. Talk about God was not uncommon when with them. Though I always thought it was cheesy, every Christmas Grandma would make a birthday cake for Jesus and have the family sing the happy birthday song to him. They truly believed in him, and that was very evident.
They greatly cared for their family. Never once did they ever miss sending a birthday card to me, my wife, or our three kids. They always made it a point to have the family over to their home for Christmas or other special occasions. They were always welcoming and you could always tell they loved seeing you. They even highly welcomed my wife’s parents and made them feel like part of the family.
It was interesting being at the hospital last night. There was a good bunch of the family there. Including Grandpa, there were four generations present. Had Grandma and Grandpa not gotten together, none of us would have been there. All of us were a result of the family that they formed together. But now they are gone from this life. We loved them greatly, and we will miss them both. Goodbye, Grandpa.