|Grandy in uniform.|
This week is the letter “G”. I want to remember my grandfather (aka Grandy). Grandy went to be with the Lord in 1997. But I don’t remember him by his death, I remember by the things he did in his life here on earth.
Grandy and Grammy took us to the fair near their house when we got old enough to ride the rides. It was a blast. Walking through the fairgrounds, seeing the animals, riding rides, going to concerts and just being with family. We also would go to the Vacation Bible School at their church. Spending a week at Grammy & Grandy’s house! Yet another great past time.
One of my favorite things that Grandy would do was sing to us. The song “You are my Sunshine” was one of his favorites to sing. I always enjoyed having him sing that to me. Even as I got older. It still brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart to have that memory.
In 1994 (I was 13) my Grandy had a stroke. He went from the teddy bear to a mere shell of the man I knew growing up. He was still Grandy, but different. He changed his dietary habits and lost a lot of weight. That was difficult to see.
Then in August of 1997, he started having some back pain. He went to a chiropractor who found nothing wrong with him but encouraged him to see another doctor. It was then that he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
He had surgery to remove the tumor which was attached to his lung. They wound up having to take more lung than they originally thought. Grandy had 1/2 a lung after the surgery. I remember visiting him in the hospital as he recovered. He would still smile and could talk, but he got winded very fast. And then the unthinkable. He caught pneumonia while in the hospital. Now pneumonia is hard for a healthy person with 2 lungs to shake let alone someone with only 1/2 a lung.
So Grandy was taken to the ICU ward. My sister and I weren’t able to stay too long to see him. He was hooked up to all sorts of tubes that were feeding him oxygen and such. The pneumonia got worse and they didn’t give him much chance of recovery. I am not sure what all the details were that lead to the decision to be made to remove life support, but that decision was made. I was working at the time when I got the phone call. I thought working would keep my mind off of the situation. I broke down in tears and told my dad to come and get me.
When we got home, my dad said we needed to call the hospital so we could say goodbye to Grandy. I didn’t know what to say. How do you say goodbye to someone you love? To someone who has been there for you and loved you since the day you were born. I didn’t understand and was really struggling with that.
I remember being on the phone and telling him that I loved him and would miss him. Then my sister and I sang to him. We sang the song that he sang to us so many times. “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Then I think I went to my room and cried and prayed to God to either heal Grandy or take him quickly so he wouldn’t suffer anymore. That was around 6 in the afternoon.
My mom had asked me to look after things since she was with Grammy. I remember doing laundry that night and just random things to keep up with the house. Then around midnight, my mom called my dad to let us know that Grandy went to be with the Lord. I overheard the conversation on my dad’s end of the phone call. Then I asked to confirm and my dad told me Grandy had passed. I went on to finish the things I knew my mom needed me to do and then went to bed and cried myself to sleep.
The next couple of days are blurry. I remember going to the funeral home and seeing Grandy in the coffin. It looked like he was just sleeping. But I knew better. That was just his body. His soul was in Heaven.
I remember sitting behind my mom, her brothers and my grandmother at the funeral. The rest of the funeral was a blur. He was buried next to my sister, Anna. I find that appropriate too. She didn’t get to grow up knowing him on earth but now gets to know him in Heaven. One day we will all be reunited. So until that day I will keep my memories close to my heart.