Friday, March 31, 2006

Memories of Grandpa

It's been quite the week...I've been doing a lot of personal reflection and dealing with a whole lot of tears and turmoil, as I reflect on what needs changing and how I will accomplish that. I've been thinking a lot about my grandparents, both those who are still here and those who have already left this world. They are all an inspiration to me and sometimes going into thought about them and who they were helps to bring some clarity to some of the situations I'm going through. It also gives me perspective on what's important in life...it reminds me to turn to God and fix my eyes on Him, as He's always here with me and even through tests in this life, He'll never allow one too hard for me to pass. I've always come out of tests and valleys stronger than I went in and this current one will be no exception. I thought I would post this...it's been sitting in the box, waiting for me to press publish, so here it goes!

In the fall of 2004, our family dealt with an extreme amount of stress and trial. My uncle had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in the spring and was going downhill fast. My mom's site in her arm for receiving dialysis was full of infection, ready to burst and would make her very sick if that happened. She was scheduled to go into hospital for surgery...the day before she went in, my Grandpa (her dad) became very sick...my parents spent the night by his side, as he wanted everyone with him that night. She ended up having three surgeries in 6 days...during that time in hospital, I was called to come home, as my Grandpa wasn't going to make it.

I watched him be near death and hardly breathing, and then sit straight up in bed to say hi and shake someone's hand. It was as if he was waiting to see everyone he could...to say goodbye...once he had seen everyone he could, he began to let go. My sister and I were with him, comforting him, as he took his final breath. Then we travelled back to be with my mom and to help my dad break the news to her. The day my mom was released from the hospital, we found out my uncle had passed away as well. At my Grandpa's funeral, all six grandkids were pallbearers and each wrote a part of the eulogy. It's funny the things you forget to tell your kids and how kids can make a really sad situation a little lighter. As we lowered my Grandpa into the ground, my kids whispered really loud, "Why are they putting Great-Grandpa in that hole?" It made for some giggles by the mourners and brought smiles to our faces in a really hard time. Afterwards, we packed our kids up and made the journey one province over, to attend my uncle's funeral the next day.

I found my part of the eulogy and thought I would post it, with some minor changes...my Grandpa was my "hero"...he overcame so many obstacles in his lifetime...he had a stroke two weeks before I was born and wasn't expected to live, but he did. He came home, was able to walk with a brace and a cane, ride a three-wheeled bike and eventually got his driver's license...he was a truly amazing man!

As I was thinking about what I would say today, the words we said to our kids as we told them about their Great Grandpa “echoed in my head”. Our kids were sad about not being able to see Great Grandpa anymore and we told them that the best way to remember their Great Grandpa was by the memories they had of him.

The boys said they’ll remember the fun they always had taking Great Grandpa for rides in his wheelchair, even though they tended to run into the walls a lot! The funny thing was that Grandpa didn’t mind—he would put his hand out before they ever hit the wall, and if we tried to take control of the pushing, he would tell us no. Because he was so proud not only to be Grandpa to six adoring grandchildren, but also to be Great Grandpa to nine adoring great-grandchildren, and anytime he got a chance, he was proud as pie to be able to “show them off”!

“My hero” is a fitting description of my grandpa. I was always so proud to tell people everything my grandpa was able to accomplish. I remember seeing grandpa out riding his three-wheeled bike when I was out for recess at school or driving his truck—an accomplishment and dream he was so excited to have been able to make a reality!

Grandpa enjoyed going out driving and would just laugh when Grandma complained about his “heavy foot”. Sometimes we may have made it to our destination quicker than we should have, but it was always safely! Truck rides were always a fun time with Grandpa and Grandma, as it meant we were going out to the cabin, to the Garden Market or simply to the mall to go shopping.

As I was writing this, the many memories of Grandpa and my grandparents were going through my mind. One, which sticks out, is one summer Saturday night when my uncle gave my sister and I a frog and told us to give it to Grandma as a present. We liked frogs and didn’t see any reason not to share our find with Grandma and Grandpa. Well, I don’t know which reaction was funnier—the fact Grandma screamed and jumped a foot in the air or that Grandpa almost fell out of his chair in tears, because he was laughing so hard!

I read a poem yesterday which reminded me of Grandpa and what I think his wishes for us would be and I wanted to share it with you:

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough “hellos” to get you through the final “goodbye”.

Grandpa was a kind and loving man, who loved his family more than anything! I will remember him for his courage and his perseverance in all that came his way, but especially I’ll remember his smile and his booming laugh, as I saw these every time we were together. I know if each of us can carry even a little of these qualities with us, we will be better people for having had Grandpa in our lives.

7 comments:

Poll said...

hello !!

Good blog !

Corry said...

Your grandpa was a remarkable man!
You were blessed with him and he was blessed with y'all.

God's Grace.

Kc said...

Your thoughts on your grandfather are a wonderful testimony to his life. I was blessed with two wondefful grandfathers and miss them both. They never knew my girls but I've passed down my memories. I hope one day to be the grandfather that my children will remember fondly but mostly that they can say he loved the Lord. ;-)

Jackie said...

Grandparents are a wonderful gift! When it comes right down to it our families are all we have in this world. No matter what they love us. It sounds like your Grandpa was a wonderful man.

audrey` said...

Your Grandpa was a very remarkable and wonderful gentleman :)

Pia said...

you're blessed to have a grandpa like your grandpa. =)

Christopher said...

i see my "papa" in myself quite often (some good and some not so good). . . do you see your family in yourself?