Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Celebrating Grandpa Wally

We were in the thick of preparing for my grandpa's 100th birthday celebration for next month. I was organizing a memory book from all the cousins and aunts and uncles to give to grandpa for his birthday. I was getting letters with memories and pictures from everyone, it was so fun to put this together. 

Then, Saturday night (9/12/2015) I had a phone call from my mom at about 11:15, she was in Mitchell taking care of my grandpa and they were getting ready for bed and when he laid down to go to sleep he made a weird sound so my mom went to check on him and he was taking his last breaths. She said she panicked and called a couple of her siblings and then went to him and rubbed his legs and prayed with him and he died a couple minutes later. It's so hard to explain but as much as we were all so blessed to have him in our lives and he lived until he was 6 weeks shy of 100 no one was ready to let him go. 

I decided to use the memories and display them at the funeral for everyone to see. It was so great to have the memories. It would have been so incredible to see his reaction reading the letters but I am confident he had his own chance to read the memories in heaven with my grandma by his side. 

My mom and I went to Mitchell a couple days early to organized the photo and memory boards. It was so nice to have that time to be with my mom and help her with whatever she needed. Kinda like her sidekick. 

My mom asked if my siblings and/or I speak at the visitation and I threw the idea around in my head and wanted to as I had so much to say having all the memories fresh in my mind but I was also scared to death. Speaking in front of so much family and strangers freaked me out. I hated speech class growing up- like dreaded it. 

So the morning of the visitation I woke up at 6am and couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned thinking about this speech. I wanted to do this, mostly for my mom. But I honestly didn't know if I could get through it. My mom said I could have the pastor read it but it just didn't feel like the same. So I went down to the front desk and asked to use their computer and I wrote some stuff up. I went back to my room to edit and back to the front desk to fix it. So, in case I actually wanted to say something I had something written up. 

I went and woke up my mom and we worked on a few other things. Then, I read it to my mom and cried the whole way through and decided I probably wouldn't read it. I went back to my hotel and read it 10-15 more times and finally at the end of the day I got through it without crying so I decided, yes, I am going to do this. 

The visitation was pretty full. I was nervous. I walked up to speak with my cousin and faced the church. Lots of people! Eek! I stood at the podium and started crying and couldn't pull it together. I had to breath and breath and finally I got started. I figured once I got started I could just read away.... ahh nope! It's amazing how my emotions took over and I had no control. About half way thru I just thought to myself, there is no way I am going to get thru this. Crying all the time, it was taking forever. But I just took my time and paused to gather my strength and got through it. Mom, I hope it meant as much to you as it did to me to do that for you.

The funeral was beautiful- such a great tribute to my grandpa. Grandpa was wearing a yellow rose on his lapel and the casket was covered with yellow roses. After the burial all the great grand kids that were there each got a yellow rose and we took a photo. 

Pretty remarkable legacy he leaves behind. 

grandpa and grandma

my speech

some of the great grand kids with their roses