Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Gone but NEVER Forgotten

Sometimes I still feel myself slip into denial that this is real- that this is happening. That it has happened. I convince myself he's still coming home, that it isn't over. He's invincible, always has been. He's the most incredible man I've ever known- surely the Lord knows how much I need him- how much we all do. He's the rock of our family. He's so much more than just Grandpa. He filled the father figure role my entire childhood. We have plans when he comes home from vacation. Camping. Boating. Projects that require his wisdom and help. He can't just be.... gone.

My Grandpa Albert passed away while on vacation in Belgium. Tonight is the viewing- where friends and family will gather to view his body one last time before we lay him to rest tomorrow after the funeral. I wish it weren't so, but Grandpa Albert has passed away, and slowly I am accepting it. There are good moments- moments of clarity where I am able to hang onto the eternal perspective and know it's not the end and death is simply a part of life that we all must do someday... but I still have my not-so-shining moments. Moments of disbelief, denial, and downright anger. I don't know HOW to live without Albert because he is a part of literally every aspect of my life. His death is the tug on the string that unravels everything.

I believe with all my hear that families can be together forever. That's really what has gotten me through this. I was incredibly close to my grandfather- we have so many memories. When most people think "grandparents" it's someone on your Christmas card list, or perhaps someone you'd see a handful of times a year- a birthday phone call. My grandparents are so much more than that to me. I'm talking the entirety of every Summer my whole life spent at their house. Usually Spring, too! Boating every single year. Trips to the Grand Canyon. Though there were 700 miles between our homes we still spent so much time together. After I moved to Utah I lived with them for a year before getting married. He was so patient with me as I picked up the pieces of my past life and moved in a more positive direction. There's not a doubt in my mind that had it not been for Albert I would have never made it to the Temple with my own eternal companion. We have dinner together every single Sunday and generally there are visits during the week. My whole life I've been able to depend on him. He's guided me in business, in financial planning, in my marriage, in everything. My own father made the conscious decision to not be a part of my life and my Grandpa stepped right up and filled that role better than anyone ever could. I don't know why my dad did what he did but I am thankful for the relationship it fostered with Grandpa.

I find peace in the fact Grandpa passed quickly and peacefully. None of us wanted to see him suffer in any way, and none of us wanted to see him go downhill as so many do in their senior years. No, he went out with his dignity. He was Albert til the end. I am nervous for his funeral tomorrow. It will just be one more thing that makes this nightmare real. But at the same time, I am anxious to get it behind us so I can move forward. That's what Grandpa would want- he was always progressing, never idle.

I believe that the Lord had a special mission and needed a most special person to do it. He is so important to my family, I believe that if there wasn't something even MORE important waiting for him on the other side surely he wouldn't have been taken from us. I am so thankful for the guiding light he has been in my life. I can't even begin to tell you the lessons he taught me. When I say he filled the father figure role in my life that doesn't even do it justice. He was grandpa, dad, best friend, voice of reason, role model.... he was everything. I believe with all my heart I will see him again. I know that without a doubt. I will even more so cherish every moment with my sweet Grandma from here on forward.  I'm thankful for my little boy who bares Albert's name. What an honor that is. I'm thankful for the memories I have with him and the blessings his influence has brought to my life. I can't help but smile when I think of all the wonderful times we had. He truly is an incredible man.

I will always miss you, Grandpa. Every day. Until we meet again. 

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