Monday, July 18, 2022


It's been two weeks since I last heard my grandpa's voice.
Two weeks since I saw his smile & got to hug him.  
July 4th 2022, a day etched in my heart forever.  I am so thankful for that day.

About a month before that, I got to spend a day with him in the hospital.  He had had a stroke, which we would later find out was an Evolving Stroke.  He was coming off a rough couple of days and I was able to sneak out of the office for a half day, so I went to visit him.  He was having a great day.  Therapy and the swallow test went great, he got a nice long shower, and they even let me give him a haircut.  He was all excited to be cleaned up for grandma.  He said he felt so good he was going to go dancing. :)  It was the most beautiful day, just Gramps and me. 

He had ups and downs after that.  He switched hospitals, and eventually went to a nursing home for a week or so.  On July 4th we were all back home to my parents, so we went to visit him.  When my mom and I walked in you could tell he was having a rough day.  He was sad and didn't want to be there. We took him outside and spent the afternoon hanging out, chatting about all the animals he had throughout the years, & watching the kids play.  I got to give him another haircut and the kids told him all about the tortoise their getting.  By the time we left he was smiling and seemed genuinely happy.  He had his feisty spirit back, tugging on my dad when I wheeled him by.  He looked so good!  I even commented, as we drove away, on how we turned his day around. We took some pictures, gave hugs, and waved goodbye.  Grandma stayed there until 8 and told him goodnight.  Twenty minutes later he let go.  

To say we were all shocked {I hadn't even made it home yet} was an understatement, but it only seems fitting, that as a member of the US Army during the Vietnam war, he would pass away on July 4th.  He loved being home with grandma & his dog and he knew he wouldn't be able to go home again.  I'm thankful it was pretty fast and painless.

I don't know if his death has hit me so hard because he was the first grandparent I lost {my other grandma passed away before I was born} or if it's because my heart is breaking for my mom and my grandma {his wife of more than 60 years}.  I'm sad we won't be celebrating his 85th birthday with my grandma's 80th at the party planned for August, I'm sad my grandma is heartbroken and lonely, and I'm sad my mom {a forever daddy's girl} lost her dad.  But I'm also so thankful for the memories I got, both as a child getting a wasp sting while running around outside at his house and as an adult getting to take my children to see him or give him haircuts.  I'm thankful that by some miracle I got to spend part of his last day with him.  

He was feisty, gruff, and always loved to have a good time, but he was also a teddy bear and had the best grin.  He had a different prospective on life -- things meant nothing to him, he was never the loudest in the room, and he didn't care what occasion he missed out on.  He loved his wife and knew she took care of him well.  He enjoyed talking about the good old days and riding around his property on the golf cart.  I will never think about horseradish or see a Old Milwaukee beer without thinking of gramps.  I will forever treasure the suspenders I took from his house the day of the funeral and the shell casing from his 21 gun salute.  

I can't wait to squeeze him on the other side. 

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