Last Wednesday, Nate's grandfather collapsed at the grocery store. He was taken to the hospital. Because he was alone, it took the family a bit of time to find out what happened. We received news that evening. What a shocker! I guess you never can quite be prepared to hear such news. By Thursday afternoon, Nate's parents from Missouri and Nate's brother from Chicago were here in town and the whole family gathered by Grandpa's bedside. The news was bleak. It was a brain aneurysm and their was lots of hemorrhaging from it. This summer after needing a heart stint, Grandpa expressed that he did not wish for much intervention should he encounter life and death situations in the future. There was the option to fly him to a nearby hospital who could repair some of the damage in the brain, but even with that, the odds of his regaining consciousness were slim. Grandpa's wife and children made the decision to take him off the ventilator Thursday evening. This was probably the hardest time for everyone because we didn't know what to expect.
Without the ventilator, everyone seemed to expect that Grandpa would pass quickly, but he surprised us all. He slept peacefully and breathed steadily the rest of Thursday and Friday. The family stayed by his side and waited. I count this time as some of the best Grandpa could give us in this situation because it allowed everyone to stop what they were doing and just be together. Work was postponed. Laundry was forgotten. Less important responsibilities set aside. Family was together and we had fellowship right in the presence of Grandpa for that time, telling stories, eating lots of food, drinking lots of coffee, laughing, crying and not worrying about anything else but our present situation. At least for me and my little family, it gave us time to come to grips with the situation. We had time for the shock to wear off. Our raw emotions had time to be shown, but then give way to peace. For my children, it gave them time to grasp what was really going on. I feel because of that time they understood that Grandpa would not be getting better and they understood his coming death in a way that they wouldn't have if he passed suddenly.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, Grandpa's strong body gave way and he passed peacefully to heaven. The next two days were filled with visiting Grandma and other family and just spending more time as a family. Monday was visitation and Tuesday the funeral. Layla, Julius and Gunnar gracefully handled both of those events. The Lord really helped them understand and have peace about the situation. I will be forever grateful and amazed at how they dealt with such a difficult time in life.
We have the privilege of having Nate's parents in town the rest of the week. Layla today recounted to me and Nate's dad, one of her favorite memories of Grandpa. She said he would sit in his big recliner and have her, Julius and Gunnar run past him. He would try and grab them and they would all scream as they tried to keep from his reach. She said that she loved that game.
Grandpa was a kind and gentle man. He knew what he liked and what he didn't. He was a man of few words, but he made sure that when he spoke, it was with purpose. Grandpa knew Jesus and loved Him, so we account his passing as a joy. He no longer has to deal with the trials and tribulations of this world because his Savior has overcome them for him. We love you, Grandpa!