Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Speaking of loved ones who've left us . . .

My Grandpa George--Mike's father--died early this morning and managed with his superb timing to play a little joke on Grandma Grace. If you've seen the previous post, you know that this is Grandma's birthday. She would have turned 88 today. What M and J and my Aunt Julia and some other relatives (including your humble blogger!) think is cool about this--even though we all hated to lose Grandpa--is that it was last May 27th when Grandma died on his birthday! The way I see it is, if we have to do such depressing things, why not at least leave folks with something to smile and scratch their heads about?

Because Grandpa was so sick and had been moved to a place called a hospice, M and J drove over to Tampa to spend his final hours with him--and they took me with them! It was my first road trip. Well, I was on my best behavior the whole time and fit right in. The hospice nurses and workers liked having me there, and one of them kept feeding me graham crackers and showed me some pictures of her own two dogs.

In one little case of mistaken identity, as we were going into the building, a lady was coming out with a group of children and when she saw me she said, "Oh, look, kids, it's one of those feel-good dogs!" I didn't know what she meant until M clued me in, and later a nurse said I would make a good therapy dog, which it turns out means the same thing. I think if I had to work for a living, that's what I'd do.

All afternoon and evening, as we sat in Grandpa's room and the people talked to him (but he didn't talk back--at least not out loud), they'd squeeze his shoulder and say stuff like, "Only four more hours, Daddy. You can do it!" or "Thirty-six minutes 'til Grandma's birthday. Hang in there, Grandpa!" And when midnight finally came, they cheered (very softly!) and said, "Yay! You did it! Thanks, Grandpa--what a great joke!"

Julia said she's pretty sure Grandpa could hear us encouraging him and that he was determined to make it happen. But it must have taken a real effort. When M and J and Julia and I left the hospice a little after midnight to go get some sleep at Julia's house, we barely got there when we got a call that Grandpa was slipping fast. We hurried back over and arrived about ten minutes past one. But he had died at 12:45. We sat around for a couple of hours feeling kind of numb and then went home again.

I'll write more about Grandpa in the weeks ahead. But right now I'm pretty wiped out. In the meantime here is a nice picture of him:


Terri Jennings said...

I wonder what they thought at Grandma's Birthday celebration in Heaven when George showed up!!! Surprise! Lol! My other thought (for what it's worth) is... Does our Birthday change when we arrive in Heaven? To a Next World Birthday? That would mean they SWITCHED Birthdays!!!

I will miss him and continue to miss her so much... I just know they are in a beautiful place and hope to see them again someday. (Not too soon of course, but someday.)

Bonnie said...

Terri, you made me spit out my wine with that last comment! ;-)

Thanks for the play-by-play, Buddy--wish I could have been there!

Cathy Studstill said...

I bet Aunt Grace almost spit her wine out too, when he crashed her birthday party!

Bonnie said...

Cathy, I'm too addicted to Facebook. I actually caught myself looking for the button to "like" your comment!

Anonymous said...

My first visit to this site. Thank you for inviting me tonight.

Jenny said...

Another wonderful blog post! Thinking of Grandma and Grandpa all day long. Love and miss them!

TGSJ said...

Dear Buddy,

I'm so sorry to hear you've lost Grandpa. I think he and Grandma Grace are laughing about their perfect timing and the smiles the mutual joke they played will bring when those important dates are remembered. My thoughts are with you and your family. Thank you for sharing with us and bless you all.

misselaineous said...

Okay Buddy...this is your second day to be my first tears...I am so sorry for your loss, and I have to agree with TGSJ's comment...I also think that Grandma & Grandpa are enjoying their perfect timing and are smiling down as we speak. *e*

Anonymous said...

Hi Buddy,

Please give my condolences to Mike and Jeannie. It's my view that God is infinite [undefinable] and that heaven is more a condition then a place.

Buddy, you surely are a therapeutic dog for Mike, Jeannie and Arlo. Keep up the good work.

Please ask M to send me the address of the hospice in Tampa and I will send a donation to that wonderful organization in memory of George. [My daughter and two wives died in hospice care]

Love, David

Anonymous said...

Buddy (and M), my heartfelt condolences as you work thru another loss of a parent/grandparent. While I didn't know him well, my impression is Grandpa Boyd was a unique individual and part of that Greatest Generation who had simple honorable rules about life and lived them consistently. A grateful Nation honors Grandpa Boyd and you with his passing.
A brother in arms

sherrijj said...

Thanks again Buddy. I'm so glad you, M, J, J, T, and T were able to spend those final moments with Grandpa. I know he knew you were there and was feeling the love. Perhaps he waited for you to leave before going, because he wanted to spend all the time you were there WITH you. Hospice is a great organization, and I'm sure they enjoyed the therapy you provided as well!
Cousin Sherri