Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Farewell Grandpa West..Until we meet again

This month brought a huge shock when my dear Grandpa West passed away suddenly! He did not have to struggle long and we were able to say goodbye to him so for that I am grateful. My mom and her sister LeeAnn rushed him to the hospital late Sunday night and the doctors and nurses were trying their best to figure out exactly what was going on. He was transferred to the ICU shortly after and put on a dialysis machine that would work for his failing kidneys. However, when one thing would start helping his kidneys, his heart would start struggling. Whenever they would give him meds to help his blood pressure and heart, his kidneys would produce more infection, and so it went. My grandpa's last day coherent was Monday July 14th. My mom and some of her siblings were told that he was very critical and that if he survived he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life. Grandpa did not like the sound of that. Some very special moments happened in that room and there is no doubt that angels were present! The veil was very thin and everything became very real to me that grandpa wasn't going to make it. Even though I selfishly wanted him to stay, when I prayed for grandpa it's like I already had a feeling that he was needed on the other side, and that his earthly life was coming to an end. All week long family visited grandpa in the hospital. He was put under deep sedation and intubated to give his body the best chance at surviving. There were times when he would squeeze my hand or move his eyes when I leaned close to tell him I was there and that I loved him. I know grandpa heard me and that meant a lot. I just wanted him to know how much I would miss him and how thankful I was for his example and all he did. Some days we would get hope from the doctors and then others we would be told to say our goodbyes. It was a roller coaster of emotion. Saturday morning, July 19th, grandpa's body started to give up. The doctors informed us the blood pressure meds were no longer working and that he was producing hardly any oxygen on his own. The machines were what was keeping him alive. When I went down that day to see him he looked different to me than he had the night before. I could tell he was going to pass. All that day my aunts, uncles, cousins, other family, and friends gathered together to support one another and to give grandpa our love one last time. It was so hard, but it was quite the sight to see as one person after another filled in that room and shared memories and love for grandpa. I hope that is how it will be when I die. All of us wanted to be there for him like he had always done for us. He was always there for me and showed up to support me throughout my life. He always told me he loved me and brightened my day when I would see him. He was giving, kind, and loving. He was my friend. After a family prayer was given, the machines were moved from grandpa and to short breaths later he passed from this life to the next. I know that without a doubt he was welcomed by family members and loved ones on the other side who loved him dearly like us. He was reunited especially with the love of his life, my grandma who passed 16 years earlier, and his two children he lost when they were babies. What a sweet reunion I'm sure it was. I am grateful for my knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the plan of salvation that allows a way for us to be eternal families. We will be forever connected due to the sealing priesthood powers in the temple. Grandpa I love you! Until we meet again.... Grandpa lived a full life; from growing up on a ranch in the White Mountains on the Apache reservation, and raising cattle, and breaking broncos to starting a family with my grandma. For the comfort of his wife and children he moved to Mesa, and there he served as a firemen for over 30 years for the Mesa fire department. He was even fire captain when he retired and helped set up the modern day 911 system. Grandpa was an indian, cowboy, gentleman, firemen, and so much more to his children, grand children, and great grandchildren. Not one of us didn't know that he loved us and would do anything for us! My grandpa raised three girls and two boys with my grandma. They lost two children when they were babies but like I said earlier in this post, are reunited with them again. I will never forget my wonderful memories of grandpa. From roping us in the back yard, pinching us and teasing us, giving us horse rides, to supporting me in my sports, concerts, graduations, wedding, special events like child births, and the list goes on. I was even lucky enough to go on a cruise to Alaska with him, my aunt, and my mom. We created some fun memories there by kayaking, fishing, white water rafting, whale watching, bear watching, and so on. It was something I was grateful for then and am even more grateful for now to have spent that time with him. He knew everyone and was a friend to all, unless of course you did something to one of his children, or grandchildren :) I will also always remember christmas mornings at his house, easter egg hunts in his back yard, gatherings for root beer floats on sunday evenings in there kitchen, and playing in the basement with the toys and scary, dead animals hung on the wall. Grandpa was talented in so many ways, but what I will remember him most for is his loving, and giving heart. I am honored to be one of his posterity and I hope I can make him proud.
Thursday night I rushed home from work slipped on a dress and headed to the temple. Some of my cousins, aunts, and uncles were going together and I wanted to be there. The temple has such a strong, peaceful spirit in it that I needed to be there. Going always has a way of putting things into perspective and comforting me. It was a wonderful session and being in the celestial room with so many family members was the best! After the temple we met up at the Red Robin near by with some more family members. We had fun reminiscing, and sharing memories of grandpa, and just catching up. Here are some pics of our group.
The viewing was held Friday July 25th. I knew it was going to be hard but nothing could have prepared me for when I walked in and saw some of grandpas things nicely put out on display, and a video displaying pictures throughout grandpa's life. I immedietaly broke in to tears and was comforted by a hug from my cousin Josh who was also having a tough time. Again we gathered as a family to support one another as friends, neighbors, extended family, and others came to pay their respects, and offer condolences to our family. I had to smile/cry when I saw the casket grandpa picked out for himself years ago. It fit his personality perfectly. It was a beautiful dark wood, with silver handles that had pine trees carved into them. Inside his casket he lay peacefully in his temple clothes and the casket had pine trees embroidered along the top white lining. It was surreal seeing him lying there. I felt as though he needed to squeeze my hand and give me a big wet kiss. I started to cry again knowing that it wasn't going to happen. I was touched at the beautiful flower arrangements that were sent and people that came. Saturday July 26th was his funeral. Only one week shy of his 84th birthday! Again, I wasn't sure how I would react going there. As soon as we pulled up and saw the hearse I started to cry, and then when we got out and heard the fireman playing the bag pipes I cried even more. This was a special day to celebrate the life of my Grandpa West and you could feel and see the love and thought that went into this day. It was a lovely service with stories shared in grandpa's life sketch, beautiful musical numbers, (one of which all the grandkids, and great grandkids sang a primary song the "The Family is of God"), thoughts on the plan of salvation and Jesus Christ our savior, and many other nice things. Grandpa I'm sure would have been proud. We are all honored to be his family and it was a good opportunity to teach my kids about death and the plan of salvation. They definitely didn't quite get that grandpa would't be coming back and that he was in heaven. Bailey kept asking when grandpa would wake up. Bentley just kept staring and didn't want to leave the casket. Needless to say there was a lot of love there for that great man and I will miss him so much! After the service, all the grandsons lifted grandpa's casket into the hearse and the funeral procession was led to the nearby cemetery by the original firetruck my grandpa rode in. It was hard to see them close the casket and realize that I wouldn't see grandpa again in this earth life. My dad dedicated his grave and we all lay roses on his casket as one last goodbye. After that we met back at the church for a lunch in with family where even more fun stories were shared, and touching musical numbers. Grandpa I am proud of you and the life you led. For the example you set, and the love you had for serving others. I will always hold my memories close to my heart and look forward to the day when I will see you once again. Until then I will try my best to live a life that would make you proud!

3 comments:

Julz said...

What a sweet post, you covered everything important perfectly! I miss him so much, it was nice to be able to open my computer tonight and read this. Thanks for writing it, love you!

Melanie said...

beautiful post, Christi! from the moment i met Grandpa when Jed and i were dating, i felt like he was my grandpa too, because he was always telling me he loved ME!

what a great man, he will be missed by all that knew him, but i'm glad he's reunited with Joyce!

can kelebek said...
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