It’s hard not to think back to last year at this time. The memories have a way of floating to the top even if I wish they wouldn’t. They aren’t bad memories, but they do make me sad. At this time last year my grandpa was in the hospital. He had entered the hospital just after Thanksgiving with pneumonia and later discovered some serious heart issues and infections. At first it looked like he was going to be fine, but as things progressed it became obvious that he going to be with us for very long. I knew his health was frail due to being on dialysis, however, I didn’t expect him to pass away so quickly. I wrote my grandparents a letter over the summer letting them know how much they mean to me. After losing Jeremy’s grandpas so suddenly, I didn’t want anything left unsaid between my mine. When I composed that letter I assumed that I still had years with my grandpa. Turns out, I only had months.
I can still remember the last time I saw him. I had been trying to make it up the hospital as much as possible even though I lived over an hour away. My parents had called me that day and I left work early so I could spend a couple hours at the hospital. It was hard to leave that night. I told him good-bye and continued to wish him well on getting better. I told him I would be up again tomorrow to see him. Inwardly I knew that I wouldn’t see him the next day. I knew that I was saying good-bye. I remember smiling at him as I left the room. There was a heaviness as I had a late dinner with my parents and headed home. That night I put my phones on silent – something I normally do so I can sleep in on the weekends. I had a feeling I would get a call in the night, but I didn’t want to take it. I knew if I answered the phone I would feel the need to head up to see my grandpa as he passed away. I’m not really good with death. I didn’t want to see the life leave his body. As I expected when we got up in the morning, there was the message that grandpa had passed away in the night surrounded by family who all got to say their good-byes and be there with him.
I was good at first. Grandpa was no longer suffering and was with his Savior. Not a bad deal and I was happy about that. I went into help the family mode. As long as I could do something I was good. Shortly after the funeral, I started having stress dreams. There was nothing more for me do, so I dreamed about having stuff to do. I would dream about funeral planning and about the funeral a lot. It was strange for me to go from being so good with things to being stuck on repeat. Over time the dreams did pass. I was back to being “good”. Around October I noticed that I was starting to really remember a lot of the last year and started to feel a lot of sadness again. It took me by surprise. The last couple of months leading up this week have been harder as I remember a lot of things that take me back to my last days with Grandpa.
I still miss him… a lot. I know I probably always will. I’m sure it will come in phases where I feel fine at one time and not so much at another. It’s strange that he isn’t sitting in his spot on the couch at family gatherings. I miss hearing his laugh in the background of conversations. I miss him calling me “Amos” (he was the only person I would let get away with that). He was such a good grandpa. He loved his family. I didn’t get a chance to live as close to him as the other grandkids, but I knew I was loved. I have a favorite picture from my wedding and it’s of Jeremy, Grandpa and I. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I remember that he had us laughing! Our photographer snapped a shot of us all laughing together. I love that picture. It means a lot to me. When I look at the picture I see the grandpa I want to remember. I see the grandpa who was there for me during life’s big moments. I see the grandpa who made me laugh and saw the funny side of things. I have so many happy memories… but I would take the man over the memories any day. I look forward to being able to see him again someday. What a sweet reunion that will be! I wonder if he’ll call me Amos?