It"s a Crazy Wonderful Life

This is a blog about my family and the crazy life in the Sims Household. We have 5 children, ranging from 14 to 5, and seem to be going in all different directions sometimes. The purpose of this blog is to help keep our friends and family up to date on what is going on in our lives.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another grandpa's funeral

Today was a tough day. It was a day that I have known was coming for some time, but it doesn't matter how long you have to prepare, you are never really adequately prepared for the funeral of someone you love.

Several years ago, about 12 I think, my grandpa Thornock had a heart attack. He ended up having surgery and though we weren't sure if he would or not, he pulled through. He was pretty healthy for a few years after that until he had a stroke. The stroke took a lot from him. He became weak on one side and didn't get around quite as easily as he had before. Slowly he weakened, and eventually his body gave out. This past August, he was hospitalized for a pulmonary embelism (I think that's what it was). He was put on blood thinners to break up the clots in his blood. His blood was too thin though and his heart was having trouble. We knew it really was a matter of time.

This all happened about the same time grandpa Pierce was having troubles. He too had become very feeble. He was no longer eating much and the end of September I made the trip to Hawaii to join my family for his funeral. At that time I expected to return home only to have to head to Utah for a funeral for grandpa Thornock. But grandpa surprised us and for some unknown reason, he held on. My family and I were able to visit with him at the VA hospital for a brief time in October on our way to Las Vegas for Steve's wedding. He looked pretty good,though thin, and was in pretty good spirits. I was happy to have been able to visit with him for what I knew then would most likely be the last time I would see him alive. I was right.

In late November, I received a call saying that grandpa had become so weak they would no longer be able to do his physical therapy with him. This meant he would no longer get any exercise and spent all of his time in bed.

On December 21st I got the call that said he was doing quite poorly and was going to be going on hospice. I knew the end was close. On the 22nd I spoke to my dad and he said it hd been a particularly tough day for grandpa. He had been yelling and screaming for help. The help he wanted was from those on the other side. The hospice crew said that he may not make it through the night.

All of this was happening while my grandmother was in a hospital recovering from her own surgery. She had a hip replacement 2 weeks prior that was not healing so the doctor had to go in again, clean out the wound and stitch it shut. I have no idea why it wasn't stitched closed in the first place, but that is a whole different story. Anyway, grandma was in one hospital, grandpa in another. Grandma's doctors would not release her so she could go be with him on Wednesday night, so I prayed over and over again that night that grandpa would be able to hang on just a bit longer and that grandma would be well enough to be released the next morning and be able to spend some time with grandpa before he passed on. The next morning, I waited for a call. Every time the phone rang, I was afraid to answer. I was afraid it would be the call.

The call did come in about 2:25 that afternoon. My dad called to tell me that grandpa had passed from this life just a few minutes prior. He passed peacefully while he was sleeping with family, including grandma who had been realeased from the hospital an hour earlier, at his side.

I knew that prayers had been answered. Grandma was with him before he passed. He was waiting just for her so that they could have that last little bit of time together before he was gone.

So I prepared my family and the following Monday we came to Utah for the Funeral. The drive was great. We were able to visit with grandma and Tami on Monday shortly after our arrival. Grandma is such a strong woman. She is doing so well. She is healing from her surgery and handling the loss of her husband as well as anyone could expect.

Tuesady evening was the viewing. Grandpa looked great. The mortician did a great job with him. He looked so peaceful as if he was sleeping. It was a great teaching opportunity with my children and we discussed that his spirit was now in heaven and the shell of his body is left behind here on the earth. While we were looking at his body, his spirit was no longer inside it. He is in heaven. He is with my mother, and my sister, his parents and several of his siblings who have already passed on.

During the viewing, we visited with many family members and reminisced about grandpa. It was nice to have so many people who loved him there.

Today was the funeral. It was a beautiful service. The room was full of family and friends who knew and loved him. The opening prayer was given by uncle Doug, Talks were given by 4 of the grandchildren, one from each family. I spoke for my family. It was a difficult thing in many ways, but a blessing in others. My Aunt Georgine read the obituary, and aunt Tami gave a talk. Uncle George gave the family prayer, all present great grandchildren sang I am a Child of God, and Families Can Be Together Forever, cousin Mike sang two hymns, O My Father, and How Great Thou Art, and Tiffany closed the service by singing the hymn God Be With You Til We Meet Again (I had a proud mommy moment there, she did a great job),and my dad gave the closing prayer.

The talks reflected on memories we each had of grandpa, the kind of man he was, and the life he led. He is a great man and he will be missed.

One of the things that gives me comfort in dealing with this loss is that I know that my grandpa, my mother, and my sister are all together in heaven along with my grandma and grandpa Pierce and many other family members who have gone on before. Families are forever. What joy and peace these words bring. I know it to be true and will live everyday of my life that I can be worthy to return so that I too can be with them all in heaven.

As a side note, it has been said that now grandpa is strong, healthy, and he can eat whatever he wants as he will no longer be limited by celiac disease. That in itself is a wonderful thing.

So today we celebrated a great man and a life lived well. After the funeral service we went to the graveside service. The weather was terrible and to say that it was wet and muddy is an understatement. It was snowing a very wet snow, nearly rain and it was soooooo cold. But we listened to the 21 gun salute and watched as grandma was presented a flag as grandpa was laid to rest with full military honors. It was really cool. The prayer to dedicate his grave was given by my uncle Ken and then we all headed back to the church for a lunch provided by the wonderful sisters of the church. We visited more with family and shared stories and memories as we ate.

After all this we headed out into the snow to our hotel, changed clothes and then went back to grandma's house to visit with her some more. We had such a nice visit, and it was really hard to leave her when the time came. It felt so weird to be leaving her all alone in her house. She is a strong woman. She is a great example, and I love her so much.

Here is a link to grandpa's obituary.

1 comment:

Debbie Lee said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Grandpa -- it sounds like it was his time, but it's still hard to say goodbye. I'm glad you were able to be with your family for the funeral. We love you guys!

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