Between Two Worlds / My Grampa Died Today

My sweetheart of a Grampa split between Two Worlds this morning.

His 82 year old figure is in his little home on a dirt road in Michigan. The home where, together with his wife of over 60 years, he raised up nine wonderful children in the way they should go. His ageless spirit is with his Maker in Paradise.

Two Worlds.

A little over two years ago, some doctors told our family about what they thought was leukemia in Grampa’s body. “Think in days or weeks now, not months or years.” We celebrated his 80th birthday – acorns made of Hershey kisses framed his photo on the cake. A couple months later the whole family gathered for what was supposed to be his “last Christmas” in 2010.

My Grandparents and their 9 awesome kids together in one photo! My Sweet Mom is the third pretty girl from the left.

My Grandparents and their 9 awesome kids together in one photo! My Sweet Mom is the third pretty girl from the left.

There were up days and there were down days. There were weak days and strong ones. Often Grampa did what he loved (usually pack up his dogs and go hunt – he’s kind of a legend in that arena), but sometimes he could not. He carried on. In 2011 he went into hospice care, and came right back out again. We celebrated his 81st birthday. Another Christmas together, complete with our annual family “concert” and traditional polka-dancing.

{S} family annual Christmas Party / Concert

{S} family annual Christmas Party / Concert

After our Charlie was born this summer, we took him “up north” to meet Gramma and Grampa {S}. Grampa was too unsturdy to snuggle the baby, but they played and laughed and made funny faces together.

I will never forget it.

Charlie Meets GnG {S} August 2012 - 1

Charlie Meets GnG {S} August 2012 - 2

Charlie Meets GnG {S} August 2012 - 3

Charlie Meets GnG {S} August 2012 - 4

Other things I will never forget about my Grampa:

  • Believing every story he ever told… until he got to his joke’s punchline.
  • Looking up at dozens (hundreds?) of hunting trophies because they were taller than I was as a kid. He gave one to me that sat proudly on my dresser. The top was a dog barking up a tree at a raccoon or something.
  • The pet mules he let us ride growing up, and all the redbone pups we got to play with. And the dirty bucket he was always mixing dog food in.
  • Roll Out the Barrell, at every opportunity. Any excuse to polka.
  • Knowing he prayed for me and loved me. That he loved Lyle like any other grandkid, and Charlie as much as his 20 other great-grands.
  • Hearing him say “this is the best champagne I’ve ever tasted” after the toast of non-alcoholic sparkling cider at our wedding reception.
  • Sitting in the presence of a Hero, who saved a child from a housefire. To risk his life to enter a burning building was the obvious choice to him. As if anyone else would have done the same thing.
  • Spending time in G&G’s camper, or over at Clear Lake, or around the talent-show-campfire at “{S} Camp” every 4th of July growing up.
  • Tickle monster. Giggles.
  • With their beautiful voices, Grampa and Gramma singing to Lyle and I the Christmas before our wedding. “It’s a beautiful day for a wedding in May… the bells are ringing for me and my gal…”
  • How he got us laughing and making light when the mood was too serious.
  • Overhearing him share with my husband and my sister how important the 10 Commandments have been in his life, and urging them to apply them in their own lives – life is just better that way.
  • “Last night at three o’clock this morning…” If you’re family, you know the rest.

I don’t think it’s really hit me yet…

Or maybe, as a Christian, the unwavering certainty that I will see Grampa again in Heaven is sustaining me. I know, people say “He’s in a better place,” “He’s not in pain anymore,” and “You’ll see him again someday,” and it all seems cliché… but maybe it’s different when you actually believe it.

I do.

Just wanted to get something down while it’s fresh. I have to say, the last two years have been different. What a treasure. My wise husband reminded me that doctors wouldn’t give this time to us – they gave us days.

But our Heavenly Father gives generously.

To God be the glory.

Til we meet again…
I love you Grampa.

Love, Carolyn

Last night at 3 o’clock this morning / Mairzydotes – by Grampa {S} from Nelson Total Life on Vimeo.


About Carolyn Nelson

Just trying to spread a little grace. I am in love with 4 boys (married to one, mother to three), and I think you're stinkin' awesome.
This entry was posted in Just Sayin', Our Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Between Two Worlds / My Grampa Died Today

  1. I am so sorry for your loss!

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