Monday, November 5, 2012

More about Grandpa and Me

I went to my grandparents' home in Orem 3 or 4 times last week.  My mom is there, and she is working hard to make sure EVERYTHING is taken care of.  So when I have arrived, there isn't really anything I have been needed to DO.  Grandma says that's better, anyway, because she just wants to visit.  And so we visit.

Every day I have waited for the phone call, telling me that Grandpa had finally reached the end of his mortality; but it just hasn't come.  He's been stubborn all his life, and he's been stubborn in his death.

Yesterday my grandma told my brother that Grandpa needed to be blessed and told that it was OK and high time to leave mortality.  My 2 brothers, their wives, Spencer, Ash, and I went to Orem again.  These three good men laid their hands on Grandpa's head and kindly gave him the what-for.  :)  Grandpa looked skeletal, and he hasn't been really conscious for days now.  We spent several hours there, migrating in and out of Grandpa's room, visiting, weeping, laughing, remembering, loving. 

This morning at 8:02 a.m., Grandpa finally left mortality and joined much family and many friends in the spirit world.  My mom called me, and I had a good, sobbing cry (in my boss's office, no less).  And since that good cry, I feel grateful and relieved and oh, so blessed!

My grandpa had the largest hands I've ever seen.  9 years ago he got cellulitis in his right hand.  That, combined with age and arthritis, have left those massive hands curled and useless.  The rest of his body has wasted away to nearly nothing, especially in the past two weeks.  But last night we uncovered his hands, and I had a flood of memories.

Those hands were the hardest-working set of hands I have ever seen: 

  • He could dig fast and deep and for a long time, never stopping till the job was done.  I never saw him hold up a shovel.  It was only in his hands if he was working, and he didn't lay it down till the dig was done.
  • Grandpa laid yards and yards and yards of concrete.
  • Grandpa was a master mechanic and specialized in body work.  He was incredible.
  • He and Uncle Bud (his brother) beat the tar out of everyone else (three or four generations of men) in a two-man hand-saw race.
  • Those hands "bucked" a lot of wood, built and remodeled a lot of rooms, tarred (and batted) some bats, built some fires, and whittled many sticks and whistles.
  • Those hands grabbed the steering wheel once or twice while he helped me learn to drive (while Daddy was in California).  :)
  • Grandpa drove many a car, truck, van, boat, and snowmobile.   He probably fixed even more vehicles than he drove!
  • Those hands signed my parents' marriage certificate.
  • Those hands held onto my mother for hours and hours while she was in labor (and his feet walked miles and miles with hers).  Then those hands held mine when I was a tiny little girl.  And a bigger girl.  And a teen.  And a woman.
  • Those ginormous hands gave me birthday spanks (and dimes) every year in my childhood.
  • Those hands were placed tenderly on my head to confirm me a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to give me other blessings.  I was not the first and not the only one of his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grands who received priesthood blessing through those beautiful hands.
  • Grandpa would wipe his tears with those hands--usually with a thumb.  The first time I remember seeing Grandpa's tears was the day he got new scriptures for Christmas.  It was not the last time, and it was nearly always in regard to his love for his family.
  • Grandpa shook hands with countless people in business dealings and church assignments. Those handshakes were promises.  The handshakes I remember most were the ones he gave Spencer. They were man-to-man handshakes.
  • Those hands tenderly held my babies.
  • Those hands tenderly held other babies as he blessed them and cherished them.
Thinking about his hands has opened a floodgate of memories, each of which I am nothing but grateful for!  Grandpa was imperfect but oh, so good.  He loved me, and I love him back.  It is hard to imagine life without him--not because I've seen him every day, but because I've just always known he was there.

On the plus side, how many women get to know, like, respect, love, admire, cherish, and laugh with their grandparents for 44 years of their lives?  How many great-grandchildren can say that they made it to adulthood before they lost that grandparent, and--even better--that they knew and loved him?  Not many.  I am so very grateful!