Living Your Life

Monday, November 09, 2009

{my grandparents on their wedding day, 65 years ago}

A couple weeks ago my grandpa climbed on the roof to fix up the house for winter, mowed and aerated the lawn by hand, went on a long walk benefitting Down Syndrome and continued on his life as anyone would. He is 87 years old but has always been healthier than those half his age.

{Christmas with my Dad, aged 2}

So you can imagine that it was a shock to us, when he fell sick a little over a week ago. That's when the doctors saw the cancer which has been apparently ravishing his body for quite some time now. The prognosis was days, maybe weeks. His first reaction, when doctors gave him the news? "I knew this was something you had to think about when you got old. This is just the first time I've been old." Never one to wallow, my grandpa.

{Celebrating 30 years of marriage}

So I rushed to his bedside in Denver last week expecting to be greeted with sorrow and mourning. But, you see, that's not how my grandpa works. He greeted us with a smile and hug as we laughed about old times and revisited stories. All his children and grandchildren gathered around his hospital bed as we sang hymns and prayers and recited his favorite Psalm. He opened his eyes and said, "Oh boy, this is great. Not many men get to attend their own funeral. This means the world to me." Having these last few days with him has been a gift - a gift not everyone is given. A chance to say goodbye.

{Jack & his great grandpa on Jack's first visit to Denver}

My grandpa has taught me many things during this time I've had with him. He's taught me to live life to its fullest, keep your body and mind sharp and fit, he's taught me to love unconditionally. But still in these last few days I learned something more. How to live and die with dignity and grace.

{Kate's last visit with her great grandpa}

He has left no unfinished business. He has never uttered an unkind word and when he's been upset, he makes sure to right what he thinks he has wronged. He has lived his life with 2 priorities in mind: God and Family. And when you live your life true to your priorities - no one questions it. You don't have to shout from the rooftop what you believe when you live your life exemplifying it. Everyone knows those were the two things he holds most dear. And it makes me think... am I living a life where my priorities are so clear? Or do I get caught up in the day to day?

{Our visit this past summer, which I am so thankful for}

The hardest day for me was after being there a week and having to say my final goodbye. We'd had a rough night together which was so hard to watch. When we told him that we hated for him to suffer, he said, "The good Lord suffered for us. What's a little suffering for for me?" Always true to himself all the way to the end. I'll miss you grandpa, but your lessons will stay with me every single day of my life. And I hope I can live up to the example you've set. I love you Grandpa.

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  1. What an outstanding post. The pain of losing a close loved one is a unique kind of pain. Because it's pure pain. But I think in the end we find comfort in knowing that those we love are always with us. Again, this was an outstanding tribute to your grandfather and I have no doubt that he is very proud of his granddaughter.