Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Friend; My Grandfather.

I'm in the middle of updating the blog and I still haven't figured how to get the picture and words where I want them so bare with me. I also just got my engagement pictures back (which I'm obsessed with) and I'll share those next time. But tonight is a heavier topic:   

Yesterday I experience two kinds of crying; one of joy, and one of sadness. Saturday morning I woke up and got to experience a great blessing; getting to see one of my best friends married in the temple. I started crying before the ceremony even started! Later that night she held a beautiful reception and I was privileged enough to be one of her bridesmaids. After cutting the cake I decided to sneak into an empty room and call Spencer to see what he was up to. While on the call my mother was calling me on the other line. I really had nothing left to say to Spence, but instead of ending the call I put him on hold. I answered the call, and to my surprise my mother said to me “They’ve given grandpa about 48 hours to live. We are going to say our goodbyes tonight. Come home.” I was in shock/denial. When she hung up, Spencer was there on the line. Unable to get any words out, I moved myself to a dark, empty bathroom and laid on the floor and cried while I tried to tell Spencer the news. As I got in my car to leave the reception and drive to my grandparent’s house, I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I had cried this hard. Like that super unattractive cry where you are making weird noses and your eyes and nose are soaking wet and you can’t catch your breath. I was confused by my sadness because I felt like I should be cursing God and yelling something like “Why did you do this?” or “It’s not fair!” But it was fair. My Grandpa was nearly 90 and had a happy, long life. God had all the right in the world to take him.

I was very close to my grandfather and he was the only one I had known. He called me Fred. I don’t know why, and I never asked, but I loved it. I knew he had been sick for a while. In fact last summer when my sister got married he wasn’t able to attend so she took the photographer to the hospital to get some pictures with him. I’ve been praying for the last few months that he would live until my wedding. One day while I was talking to my sister on the phone she said she had just visited Grandpa at the hospital and he told her that he was ready to die and didn’t know why God hadn’t taken him yet. I told her I knew why. It’s because I was praying he would live to see me married. Saturday morning my mom had said he wasn’t doing very well and she didn’t think he would make it much longer. When she said that, two thoughts popped into my mind: 1) When he dies I will be an absolute mess, and 2) maybe tonight I should pray that if he is in a lot of pain, that it’s ok if he doesn’t make it to the wedding. Mind you when my mom said she didn’t think he would make it much longer, I was thinking he had weeks or months; NOT hours.

When I reached his house (at this point he was no longer in the hospital because we knew it would be nicer for him to die at home) I was a wreck and didn’t know how I would pull myself together. But I had to because I hate crying in front of people. I walked inside to see my grandma surprisingly keeping it together. Her and my mom began talking about the funeral and I wanted to yell at them to stop! I didn’t want to hear it! I didn’t want to believe he was dying. Then... I heard it. A long, sad moan coming from his room, and I couldn’t stop the tear from coming. I knew he was in pain. As I walked into his room, it was worse than I thought. He wasn’t the grandpa I remembered. He wasn’t the grandpa I had been talking to not long ago. He was trapped in a shell that barely let him open his eyes, and when he spoke, it was only slurred mumbles that no one could understand. I have NEVER watched anyone die before, and I never wish it upon anyone. The moment I walked in the room I wanted to do two conflicting things: 1) I wanted to run out! I couldn’t bear seeing him like this, and his painful moans were breaking my heart.  I also couldn’t stand the fact that he was continuously trying to talk, but none of us could understand him. I wanted to drive as fast as I could away from there and go home and lay in Spencer’s arms and cry until I couldn’t feel anything.  And then 2) I also just wanted to stay and hold his hand by his bedside all night so that he wouldn’t die alone. I couldn’t stand the thought of him suffering without someone next to him.

Even though he wasn’t fully there, and my last memory of him will probably haunt me forever, I was glad I got to say my goodbyes to him. I sat there for a good half hour squeezing his hand and rubbing his leg (that was now skinnier than mine), but I couldn’t bring myself to speak. I just hung my head so my hair covered my eyes and no one could see the flood of tears streaming down my face. When it was time to go home something very personal and special happened that I will never forget. I leaned over, hugged him, kissed his cheek, and whispered in his ear “Grandpa, I love you.” And to my surprise he managed to mumble out a soft, but audible “I rub oo.” Words will never be able to express the joy I felt and I’m getting emotional now even thinking about it again. It was so sad to see him like that, but at the same time I couldn’t have asked for any better last words. I don’t know if he understood anything we said that night, or if he knew who he was talking to, but through Gods good graces, I got to hear him tell me he loved me one last time.

I wanted to sneak out the door so no one would see my tears, but as a walked out, my mom and dad gave me a hug, and then I walked to the kitchen (which felt like a mile) to hug my grandma. I hadn’t yet seen her cry, but when she saw my big crocodile tear, she hugged me and sobbed, “He wanted to be there so badly.” She didn’t’ have to say it; I knew she meant my wedding. “He will grandma,” I whimpered. “I know he will,” she said. 
I cried hysterically the entire drive back to Provo. Now I’m not one to pray out loud when I’m by myself, but on that drive, I yelled upstairs to the big man to let my Grandpa go that night because he was in too much pain and it wasn’t fair. The rest of the night was spent crying in the dark of my room in Spencer’s arms. I didn’t have many tears left at this point but it was nice just to have someone let me cry and not have to say anything. I woke up the next day, and he was still alive; but not for long. He passed away at 7:25pm that next night with all his children by his side. My heart breaks to think about what my grandmother went through last night. I wouldn’t be able to handle it if I knew that Spencer was in the next room dying in our own home and there was nothing I could do to stop it. And that maybe the next time I opened my eyes, he wouldn't be there.

I know my grandpa is back home with our Heavenly Father. I know he is in a better place; free of sickness and pain. I know that on my wedding day, he will be there right next to me cheering me on.

I love you Grandpa! I’ll save you a seat!   



  1. ashley i found your blog through Facebook, I hope you don't mind. My grandma died 5 days before my wedding and my other grandma died very unexpectedly 2 weeks after my wedding. The last time I saw her was the hug she gave me in the temple after my sealing. It was really hard to handle and my heart breaks for you a little bit! It sounds lame but I send my condolences and hope you know he'll still be there for your special day

    1. Thanks girl. That means a lot to me.

  2. uh huhuhuhu....that is so sad :( My grandma has been getting sicker and sicker and thankfully right now I can only imagine how you feel.