Faith · My People

Heaven’s Newest Resident

About an hour after I posted that last entry, my grandfather earned his own pair of wings.

I prayed that I would make it home to Ventura in time to tell him that I loved him one more time, but I also prayed that he would go in peace. He went in peace and I think that it was best that I was not there for Grandpa’s final hours. I had a fantastic visit with him on Sunday afternoon. He ate his lunch; we talked and watched the U.S. Open. Grandpa loved golf and taught all of us how to play and putt from an early age. I remember going over to their house and Grandpa giving my tips on my putt. For most of the afternoon, my grandpa was Grandpa. He was in good spirits and making jokes about little things. Towards the end of the visit, he became very tired. He was so hot and sweating profusely. It broke my heart to see him that way. As much as I wanted to be beside him… as much as I wish I could have been there, saying the rosary with him and my family on Tuesday morning… my place was in San Diego. My place was going to Mass and praying for my family as they grieved.

Every song reminded me of Grandpa as I drove home. I wondered if I was going to make it in time. I worried that I wouldn’t get to see him again. I cried, but did my best to hold it together. My mom called around 4pm to see where I was and she sounded good. “We’re at the house right now,” she said. It sounded so promising. I got home and everyone seemed okay, but it was an illusion. We chatted while my mom made me dinner. Then I asked… “So, how’s Grandpa doing?” “He’s gone,” she said as her voice cracked and she started to cry. Even as I recount it, my heart is breaking and my throat is full of knots. It was quick. He wasn’t in pain. He knew that it was time and he was ready. My uncle made it in time. Grandpa just wanted to make sure that everyone was accounted for before he left.

I feel like no words can do my grandpa justice. He was such a kind man. Everyone loved him. As my cousin and I worked on the obituary today, we struggled with being concise. How do we sum up Grandpa in such few words? How do we convey all that he meant to us and to those that knew him? Does this sound corny? Because I think that Grandpa will laugh. It’s so true. There was a poem that we fell in love with and we probably don’t have the budget to include it in the obituary. We wondered whether it was selfish of us to want to use it… as it only refers to “Grandpa,” but everyone called him Grandpa. My grandma read it and thought it was great… “I called him Grandpa.” I don’t know how my grandma is doing it. Her wedding anniversary is in just a couple of weeks. They would have been married for 57 years at the beginning of July.

As my “aunt” made dinner for all of us tonight, we prayed that heaven wouldn’t have another angel. We learned that my cousin’s [former] neighbor’s daughter Sam had a stroke. She’s 13 years old and has a bleed in her brain. She’s one of three people in the world suffering from both Kabuki Syndrome and Evans Syndrome. Pray for Sam tonight. Pray that she would start producing enough platelets to stop the bleed and recover. My grandpa’s life wasn’t long enough for his family; we wanted more time with him. It was long enough for him though. He was at peace and ready to go. He felt like he had accomplished all that he needed to do here on earth. Sam’s life isn’t over yet, she’s so young and still has so much more living to do.

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