Have you ever had to let a loved one go? Well if you have than you will be able to relate with me as you hear my story and if you have not than you should be able to relate with me in a different sense.
My gramps was sick for an extremely long time, so when my mom called me at Katlin’s, one of my close friends, to inform me that he had passed away in his sleep I cried and was relieved at the same time. He would no longer have to be in constant misery but I had also lost my hero, the man whom had helped me through my childhood and whom I had helped as much as I could through is struggle with Alzheimer Disease.
He had been in the hospital for several months, since my granny could no longer take care of him. At first, I went to see him as often as I could but as he continued to deteriorate, I began to make up excuses so I would not have to see him in such a state. I still regret that choice to this day because my favorite man in this world died without getting to see his little girl that he had waited so many years for as much as he could have. The last time I had seen him he was hardly able to talk and he had contracted MRSA from the hospital he had previously been. I could only stay but a few moments before I had to step out into the hallway and get a hold of myself. When I had finally composed myself enough so that I could paste on a fake smile, I returned.
“Hi, baby girl,” He whispered with a weak smile as I walked back through the door.
“Hey, gramps, when are you going to come home so you can help me with the horses when I come down to the farm, I’m getting awfully tired of doing it all by myself?” I asked flashing him my best fake smile, hoping my tears were undetected.
“I don’t think I’ll be coming home again,” He replied in a voice that almost let the tears I had been attempting to hold back run down my cheeks.
“Oh don’t be silly, before you know it you’ll be home and I’ll be coming down all the time so that we can take care of Durango and Diamond,” I told him in a weak voice but the smile was still pasted onto my face.
“No, sweetheart, I had a dream the other night and God came to me and told me that I will be coming home to him soon,” He replied as a tear escaped from his eye, slowly rolling down his wrinkled cheek.
Soon after my dad announced that it was time for us to leave, so after I hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek we walked back into the hall. A week later, my gramps passed away.
His funeral was held four days after his death on an extremely cold and windy winter morning. I had been going to the visiting days and had cried my eyes out then but as I saw him for the last time lying in his casket I cried a fresh set of tears, for long gone was the warm smile and kind eyes that were always there to lend a helping hand through my childhood. The only thing about the body lying in that casket that was the same as my beloved grandpa was the fact that he was wearing overalls, the only thing I could remember him wearing in all my fourteen years.
The ceremony began and everyone was seated, I sat in the front with my granny, dad, and Uncle Allen, tears sliding down each of our cheeks. I suppose that everything Brother Chuck preached about my gramps was true but the words he said only increased the amount of tears rolling down my cheeks, because to me he was much more that a Korean war veteran, he was a hero to me the helped me down the road of childhood.
“Granny, I miss him so much,” I whispered as she reached over and squeezed my hand with her wrinkles hand that shoed the many scars of hard work on a farm.
“I miss him too, baby girl,” She replied as she reached for another of the blue Kleenex that were sitting in the pew.
The funeral ended soon after that and we walked in a congregation past the casket towards the outside before they carried it to the hearse. When I stepped out into the sunlight, I had to blink several times before I could see the many people dressed in black that had been at the funeral.
“How are you doing, darling?” My Aunt Gwen asked as she swept me into a hug.
“I’m okay,” I replied attempting to smile as I wiped the black rivers out from under m eyes.
“He wont ever truly be gone, angel, as long as you keep him in our heart, he will always be able to watch over you,” She told me while she hugged me once more before leaving my side to talk with my granny.
“It was not much longer after I spoke with Aunt Gwen that my Granny cane up to me, “We will be leaving in a minute, Jill, are you going to ride with your Uncle Allen and me or your mother?”
“I think mom is going to get mom to bring me,” I replied as I turned around to look for her.
“Okay, we’re going to go ahead and leave, I’ll see you when you get to Tip Top,” She said before she turned toward her car and my uncle to leave.
It took me several more minutes to locate my mother, whom had reentered the funeral home so my younger brother, Aidan, could use the bathroom.
“Mom, everyone is leaving for the cemetery,” I said as I knocked on the door.
“Okay, go ahead and walk to the Tahoe, I’ll be right there,” She told me.
It took her a few minutes to get out to the truck and it took even longer to get to the cemetery because the road was extremely curvy. When we finally arrived, everyone else had already arrived and ere beginning to walking up the hill, so we had to walk across the old wooden bridge, that had been there several years previous when we had buried my Uncle Jeff, and up the hill by ourselves.
The service only lasted about ten minutes but it was at that, time that I realized what my aunt had told me earlier was true. The fact that my gramps was gone from this world meant nothing because in spirit he will always be with me, helping me through every obstacle I have to overcome in life. Just because someone is dead does not mean that they are gone, so always remember you are not alone.