*You are welcome to read this. It's more for myself than for anyone. I realized today that I never wrote this experience down in a journal. It's important to write these things down!
A year ago today, my Pop passed away. My parents had been in touch with us kids letting us know that Pop's prognosis was not looking good. Most of my siblings had been up to see him the weekend prior, but we were getting settled into our new home and I told myself that I would drive up the following weekend. I called on Monday night to speak to my Dad, and he said that Pop had been hospitalized, that he was slipping quickly and that he was unconscious. I know Dad was just trying to set my mind at ease by telling me that the long drive up to Logan with the little kids wouldn't be necessary, since he wasn't coherant, but I felt horrible. I was kicking myself for thinking that unpacking boxes was more important than visiting my grandpa. Now I felt like I was too late. I missed my chance. The weather was much the same as it is today. Cold and rainy. I like to think that the world was a little sad to lose someone like him.
Pop helped me buy my first car, The Gold Nugget. He shopped around every dealership in Cache Valley, poured over classified ads to find the perfect car for me in my price range. Pop always encouraged me in my schooling and in work, even when it seemed so hard I wanted to just pack up and go home. It was never too early or too late for dessert (Snelgrove's Canadian Vanilla ice cream and brownies). Pop loved working and puttering in his yard, and it warms my heart to see that my Dad is just like him. We can always find him in the yard. Pop would call you to tell you there's a sale on grapefruit at the store, and then tell you how to choose a good one. He would always send me home w/ a goodie basket of tomatoes, zucchini, corn and raspberries from his garden in the summer/fall. Pop could tell a great story. I loved hearing his WWII experiences. I'm so glad he got that published.
As I went about my morning, I kept having that nagging, almost urgent feeling that I needed to go up there anyway. I called my mom, balancing the phone to my ear, as I struggled to put jackets on the kids. "I'm coming up. I know Pop isn't conscious, but I need to see him before he goes." My mom said, "Oh, I'm so glad that you called. Pop's awake. He's very lucid, but the doctors don't think that he has much more than a day." Mom volunteered to watch the kids for me, while I went to the hospital. I have never driven I-15 so fast in my life! The kids were wonderful and so quiet and good. Maybe they could sense that this was a really important drive for mom. I selfishly prayed that Pop could hang on long enough for me to make it up there to see him one last time.
I dropped the kids off at my mom's and went to the hospital. Many of my cousins had driven up as well and were taking turns going in to visit Pop and Grandma. The nurses were a little annoyed at the large procession of people, but Pop was insistent that he didn't need to rest and to let them come. It was my turn to go in. I saw Pop, laying there on the bed with his ventilator -- so different than my fond memories of him driving us around in his boat or holding my little hands tight to help me reel in my first fish.
I looked at Grandma and she smiled, "You're here. I told Blair to wait...that you would come. Blair, Amy's here."
"Hi, Pop! I think I broke the speed limit coming up here."
He reached for my hand. I never know quite what to do or say, so I just started reminiscing about all of the great memories that I had of him as a child and a college student at USU. We laughed and smiled and I felt so wonderful to be THERE.
Then I said, "Well, Pop. I'm sorry I've kept you up. You should probably be resting."
He said, "Oh, my girls. I love my girls. I wouldn't miss this for the world."
I gave him a kiss on the cheek, told him that I loved him so much and said goodbye.
He passed away later that night.
I was so grateful that I got to see him one last time. That's the kind of Grandpa he is. He hung on, even though he was ready to go, until everyone got a chance to feel okay with him going (say goodbye). It was one of the greatest tender mercies I've ever experienced.