Thursday, January 3, 2013

It Happened

My grandfather, Grandad, passed away this evening.  It was so peaceful that my uncle, who had been sitting with him, did not even know he had passed on.  I'm grateful for that.
(This was just taken on Saturday.  I wish I could find a better picture of him as I remember him... this is not how he looked before his health started failing. )

My grandmother called me and said "We have to be philosophical about it... We had 72 years together and what is better than that?"  She's trying to stay upbeat, but I worry about her once the shock wears off.

There isn't going to be a funeral, there will be a memorial later in the year... I am both sad that there won't be that family gathering time we had for my grandmother here last month, and relieved since I am pretty much emotionally spent.

My grandmother and grandfather will be buried together, their ashes mixed, after she passes away.

That is just about the sweetest thing I have ever heard.  I love that they are doing that.

Still it's been a rough month; losing two of my grandparents just 26 days apart.

Compounding the grief.

Oh, sad.  And I worry tremendously for my grandmother (whose 100th birthday is in 6 days!).

For What It Is Worth

I did a pretty terrible job on Christmas gifts for Mr F this year.  My one success was the new Of Monsters And Men cd My Head Is An Animal.  We listened to this about 100 times on our trip to PA.  It never gets old.  And SERIOUSLY every track is fantastic.  This is one of those albums where the radio single is the weakest link.  We are ALL pretty much listening to it 24/7... I don't think that has happened since The White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan.  

Track 1 - Dirty Paws - Mr F's & Kid's favorite

Track 5 - From Finner - My favorite

All Tracks - Baby's favorite (she won't admit it but it is clearly Track 4 - Slow & Steady)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Adventures (both happy & sad)

Things I've failed to mention...

On the day of my maternal grandmother's funeral I found out my paternal grandfather was starting hospice.

This was also the day of the Newtown shooting and it was a very overwhelmingly sad day with too much death... past, present, and future.

This Christmas has been the most depressed we have experienced yet (and hopefully forever more).

2 days after Christmas we loaded up to make the drive out to Philly and see my grandfather one last time.

He is 97 and has had a full and interesting life with my grandmother by his side for the past 72 years.

His death is, of course, not unexpected but coming on the heals of my maternal grandmother's swift decline I found my visit painfully sad and reminiscent of her last few weeks.  His decline in the past few months has greatly altered him and it is just a sad thing to see.  He is staying in the nursing care part of their retirement village and the strain of his separation from my Nana is hard on them both.

My paternal grandmother (Nana) is turning 100 in one week!  Remember back when we lived in Asheville and we thought she wasn't going to make it?  Well, we were all wrong!!  She is a wonder physically and mentally.  A real celebrity in the retirement village, let me tell you!

(She'd like you to know she does not like the way her stomach looks in this picture.  Nana, I hear you, that's why I'm not in it!)

She still lives on her own (drives in her retirement village... only right turns... she swears!) and walks unassisted.  She dropped the little paper flag out of a Hershey's Kiss while we were there and bent down (at the waist!) and picked it up off the floor.  She gets up and in and out of the car on her own and insists she must if she is going to be able to keep getting up.  And, people, she sews my girls dresses (with french seams!) every year.  She also sends them mail every week.

She is the most dear person to me.  She took special care of me when I was growing up and a lot of my parenting has been greatly influenced by her.

Also my hoarding.

She is amazing.  She graduated high school at 16 and college 3 years later.  She wanted to be a lawyer, but her father didn't think there would be much point.  She is still miffed at this, seeing as he had his own law firm.  She ended up teaching high school English and attending graduate school for English... she didn't finish... she left when she found out her fiance had married another girl!

I guess that worked out in the end, for the rest of us ;)

I'm very worried about how she'll fair after my grandfather passes and worry that, like many couples, she might follow.

I wish I lived closer... I'd visit everyday.

Thankfully, she still has her hearing and spunky spirit and I can have long phone conversations with her.  I'd be so devastated if I didn't have that.

Here I am saying goodbye.  We had just been regaled with a tale of a 7 week camping trip across the US that she took in 1961 with 3 kids (2 of them teenage girls, no less). Changing camp sites and driving every single day.  Sleeping in a tent with 3 kids every night?  I don't know if I could do it.  She doesn't know why she did... except my grandfather had plotted it all out and she just went with it.

As sad as this month has been, I am so thankful that I had two sets of loving, involved grandparents while I was growing up.  They were all such a blessing to me.

Some back in the day photos.  

The first is a picture I took of my grandparents 24 years ago while on a vacation to 
The Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island.  
 This one is a picture from a LONG time ago with all of the family cousins.  
I'm the girl up front and center, of course ;)

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