Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Even bugs think their babies are cute." - Grandpa

This past week has been a roller coaster of emotions for my family and I.  My loving, sweet, and beloved Grandpa Craig passed away after several months of declining health.  Back in November my family and I had the great opportunity of celebrating their 70th Wedding Anniversary with them.  It was truly a monumental event.  How many people do you know who have married for 70 years.  Another great achievement is that they've lived in the same home for over 65 years in Bountiful.  Three months ago when my Grandpa's health was declining very rapidly, the family decided to move my grandparents to my Aunt's house temporarily in Mapleton because they had the best accommodations to for my Grandpa's health.  It was hard for them because they have lived independently for so long and now that was coming to an end.
Two weeks ago on Sunday, my Grandpa fell and fractured his hip.  Knowing the hospital wouldn't do any type of surgery to fix his hip, we knew then and there that the only thing we could do is to make him comfortable for the inevitable.  That next day, my family and I drove down to Mapleton so my Dad could give my Grandpa a blessing and be able to say our goodbyes.  He was in a morphine induced coma so he wasn't responsive at all.   It was a very emotional visit for me.  Knowing any hour or any day, my Grandpa, who has been in my life for over 25 years would no longer be here.
My Dad and my uncle gave my Grandpa a beautiful blessing. I don't remember much of it because I was I had tears streaming down my face.  I do remember my Dad saying that he would feel peace and joy when he is rejoined with his family and loved ones.  There wasn't a dry eye in that room, as we watched my Grandpa struggling to continue to breathe.  Each family member was able to take their turn and say something to Grandpa.  I didn't know what to say because I have never had anyone so close to me die before.  I held his worn and wrinkly hand and told him I loved him so much and am so grateful he was my Grandpa. I told him that I will miss him so much and promised to watch over Grandma.  I said some other things, but the thing that meant the most to me was when I said, "Grandpa, watch over Amelia and tell her how much we love her and can't wait to meet her in a few weeks."  Amelia is being named after Grandpa's mother.            

That next Tuesday I received a text from my Dad letting me know that Grandpa had passed away.     
The next few days, I was in denial.  A couple days later, it really hit me that Grandpa was gone.  I was asked by my Dad to help write his obituary.  I never knew how hard it would be to write an obituary for someone you care and love so much.  I'm so glad my Dad helped me because it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to write because I wanted to convey the best way I could his life and what a great friend, brother, father, husband, and grandpa he was.

That Saturday was the funeral and I was doing pretty good.  As soon as I saw him in the casket, I lost it.  He looked so peaceful and almost looked like an angel.  My younger brother Cameron mentioned to my Mom that Grandpa didn't look like himself because he wasn't wearing his glasses.  My Mom mentioned this to one of the mortuary guys to see if they has his glasses.  They came back with them in hand and we decided to put them on him; he looked more like Grandpa.
The funeral ceremony went really well.  I used up an entire box of Kleenex.  My Dad talked about Grandpa and what a great example he was.  He talked about some his great sense of humor and how witty he was.  One of my favorite things he would say is, "Even bugs think their babies are cute."  When asking him how he was doing he would say, "I'm doing better then I deserve."  Or when he heard someone was getting married, he would say, "I didn't know she was pregnant?" 
This is a quote my Dad used in his talk and I think it expresses how I feel about the passing of my Grandpa: 
“I have a testimony of death.  It is that without death we not fully understand how much we love those who go; and this is equally true of our dying: we know when we are dying how much we love those we are leaving behind.  And I wonder how many of us sufficiently feel how profoundly grateful we should be to death for the way it intensifies our love as nothing else could do.  And how many of us realize that it may intensify our love, not only at the moment it comes, but all our life, if we remember when we are with people that we may not, after all, be always with them.  This thought comes to many people in old age, but it should be with us all our life.
Now, for Mormons, death is not much worse perhaps than a visit to an airport to say goodbye to someone for a long time—every absence is a little death, and death is just a long absence.”
 (Arthur Henry King, The Abundance of the Heart, pg 79-80)

After the funeral we drove over to the Bountiful Cemetery where the burial ceremony took place.  As soon as I walked out of the car and heard bagpipes playing, the flood gates of Niagara Falls came.  I don't know what it is, but whenever I hear bagpipes I get emotional.  They had significant meaning to me today because of Scottish heritage the Craig family comes from, but how Grandpa would have loved to see and hear them be played. 

Grandpa was buried with full Military honors.  The burial ceremony was short.  afterwards I found it hard to get up and leave Grandpa there. 
After the funeral I felt like I was able to get all of my emotion out on the table and I've heard people say funeral's help bring closure. I felt this way.

I knew my Grandpa was a good man, but I didn't realize until he was gone how Christ-like he was.  One story that gets to me every time is how he treated everyone he interacted with with love, compassion, and respect.  My Mom notified the housekeepers who've helped clean their house for the past two years know that Grandpa had passed away.  The housekeepers are a husband and wife who own their own cleaning business and are from Mexico.  The husband was so upset and emotional when my Mom told him the news. The husband told my Mom how Grandpa was one of the most gracious and kind man he had ever met.  He said that a lot of their clients treat them like strangers and workers.  But whenever they would come to my Grandparents house, my Grandpa would greet them at the door, shake their hands, and ask them how they were doing.  The husband was so emotional because he never had a client treat him the way Grandpa did.  The husband told my Mom Grandpa treated him like a friend and that meant so much to him.   Another story I heard was when my Grandpa was in the Military, he was over a black convoy back in the day when black and white people were segregated.  There were a handful of these black soldiers who continued to stay in touch all of these years because of the respect and love he showed them.

Thank you for being the best Grandpa a girl could have.  I can't wait to be reunited with you again.  I love you so much and I'm so lucky to have you in my life for so long.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Our 4th of July was a busy one indeed, but we were able to squeeze in some much needed R&R and cleaning.  That morning McKay got up at 5:00 a.m. and met some friends from work to go on a bike ride that started from the mouth of Emigration Canyon and traveled through East Canyon, Morgan, South Weber Canyon, and back to Kaysville.  Crazy guy.  I had some other plans that morning.  My work has a parade float and they like to enter into local parades, because I'm in charge of this great endeavor I was able to be in two parades and throw candy and trinkets at people.  I took it easy by riding instead of walking.  

When I got home from the parades, McKay just got home from his bike ride.  We ate some lunch and watched some History Channel about Valley Forge and the the Revolutionary War, we like nerdy shows.  McKay and I both fell asleep for 2 1/2 hours.  We spent the rest of the afternoon tidying up the house.  We went over to my parents for a delicious Baby Back Rib BBQ complete with Fat Boys and other delicious foods.  Of course I ate like I was in a hot dog eating contest.  Did you hear about that on the news?  This guy ate 68 hot dogs and buns yesterday at the Nathan's Famous July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest.  How disgusting, I bet that guy was feeling some heartburn later that day.

Here are some pictures of our little growing family.      

After our BBQ we watched the Oak Ridge Country Club's fireworks on my Grandma's deck.  The best part about the day was going to bed early at 10:00 p.m.  Love holidays where I can take a nap, clean, and eat some good food.