As some of you may have realized (or know because I know you in real life), my grandfather has been in a nursing home – and then the VA hospice – since November. He had been quite sick, but refused to go to a doctor until the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I tried to visit him weekly, but sometimes couldn’t because of my own illness, or when I was trying to protect myself (and the baby we were keeping secret) from germs this winter.
(My grandparents on my grandpa’s 80th birthday last September. I love this photo because of how much he was laughing!)
Yesterday morning, he passed away. We were getting ready for church, when I got the call from my mom that she wasn’t going to church and was instead heading to the VA after getting my grandma from church. I told her we’d meet her there. Not long after that call, she called back and he had already passed.
It was quick. I just saw him on Friday and he was his usual chatty self. He didn’t always make sense, and sometimes he said the funniest things. This became our new normal with him. Just go along with his stories and questions.
We spent several years living next door to my grandparents, and staying at their house after school (until we were old enough to be by ourselves.) My grandpa retired from the Navy, and a year after he and my grandma moved to Asheville, we did too. For years, we lived right next door to my grandparents, before my mom bought a house down the street.
On snow days, my grandpa didn’t let us sit in front of the tv or be lazy. He made assignments for us, and we’d do school work for him. He was big on us learning. Even as an adult, he would go over finances with me, answering questions I may have about buying a house or savings, investing, whatever. He was a very smart man. (Though, he had his faults, which I won’t go into here.)
I’m so extremely grateful that we were able to tell him he was going to be a great grandfather, and that his first great-grandchild was going to be a boy. I’m really glad that he was one of the first family members (besides me and my husband) to even see the ultrasound pictures. I have to laugh at everything he told me about raising boys – he went on and on about how tough they were until they were adults, and then they aren’t so bad. People didn’t think he’d remember that we were having a baby, but he always did. When nurses asked him, or if family members said something to him, he knew that it was me and Kenny, not some other grandchild of his (there are 8 grandchildren.)
He is definitely missed.