I know that earlier I alluded to having a rather bah humbug attitude toward the holidays this year but I never really said why. And I wasn't planning on it in such a semi-public way but right now I just need to write. My Grandpa was suddenly sent to the hospital the week of Thanksgiving. My Dad and I drove out to Idaho Falls as soon as we could and spent a couple of days with him basically to see him alive for the last time because the doctors said he wasn't going to make it. They diagnosed him with bone cancer, the family set him up at a Life Care Center for comfort care and shed some tears. Life suddenly took on a very real and different meaning.
I am a very sensitive person; sometimes too sensitive. Death is hard for me even with being LDS and understanding it all--it's just hard. The thought of his fast-approaching death would hit me frequently and always catch me off guard. Bless my manager's heart at the museum who understood and let me cry for a bit. All the hype of Christmas just didn't do it for me this year; everything seemed like a commercial, a gimmick, just fake. I went through the motions wondering when we'd get that phone call.
Grandpa held on through Christmas and I remember saying, "Well, maybe Grandpa will get to see 2010." He got close. He died at 11:48 am Wednesday, December 30th. My family and I were driving back from a vacation in McCall and had spotty service so we didn't get the news until we got home later that day. My Grandma ended up being the last to find out because she was in the temple when he passed. She said she felt very peaceful and wasn't surprised when my cousin Kristin got to her and told her the news. They spent the rest of the afternoon in my Grandma's place, crying and talking about Grandpa. Grandpa had lost so much weight his wedding ring wouldn't fit his finger anymore so now she wears it. She's such a tiny, precious woman. I so wish I could be like her one day.
At first the thought of bringing in the new year with a funeral sounded so dismal. The drive out to Idaho Falls was very somber and snowy. I couldn't really let myself think about what was happening and not until I saw him in the casket did it start to make a dent. Having all the family there was more than wonderful. It'd been so long since we'd all been together. Hearing my aunt give his life sketch and my father talk celebrating this honest man's life was beautiful. I loved having a specific time and place to actually cry, share emotions, feel love and realize the great effect this man's life had on so many people. Many tears were shed and still will be for a while. I'd never realized before how great a funeral can be when the plan of happiness is understood and how much your testimony can grow.
Right now I can't think of a better way to bring in the new year--as morbid as that might sound to someone who doesn't understand. My family has grown exponentially stronger together because of this instance, this death. Yes I will be tender for a while but it's a good tender. The sadness will subside and the happiness I feel for being able to call this man my Grandpa will remain constant.
There's so much more I need to write but for now I'm going to try to sleep. I'm thankful I have this void to write to. It's just comforting.