Wow... I can't believe that it has been over 2 months since I last posted. The past 2 months have been crazy busy but really really great. I will try to sum up the major events with a few words and pictures. Enjoy...
November 19th- It was a pretty typical Friday for me... Mike was at school/work and my mom was out of town with my brother interviewing at dental schools... so I cleaned the house, ran a few errands, did lots of laundry... nothing too out of the ordinary. Until I got one of the worst phone calls from my dad. He was very calm and quiet but told me that my Grandpa wasn't doing well. He said he had just talked with Raquenel (grandpa's wife) and she was really worried about my grandpa. Sometimes she can be a little dramatic when it comes to his health so my dad said not to worry quite yet. My dad then said he was trying to call my mom and let her know and he would call me back. A few minutes later, he called and said it was time to come say our good-byes. I instantly broke into tears.... My grandpa was 92 years old and I knew he wasn't going to live forever but you are never too prepared for a close family member to return to our Father in Heaven. So, I cried and cried on Mike's shoulder and then prepared to drive to No. Ogden with my dad, sister's, and Mike. Once we got to his house, the Spirit was so strong. We walked into his bedroom where he was laying in his bed with his eyes closed. I, of course, couldn't keep my bursting tears inside any longer. I cried while I walked toward him. He wasn't fully aware that we were there the whole time but I know his spirit was with us. My sister Jami, who's a nurse, gave me the look of "yes Hailey, it will only be a few more hours". I walked over to him, kissed him on the cheek, told him how thankful I was for having him in my life, told him I loved him, and then said good-night. He opened his eyes and looked at me for a brief moment. I know he knew who I was and I know he was saying he loved me back. After we all had a few minutes with him, all the men gathered around him to give him a blessing. My Uncle Clay blessed the oil and my dad gave the blessing. It was so beautiful and powerful. He didn't ask for him to be healed or to live longer... he blessed him that he would pass peacefully to the other side. I only wish that my mom could have been there with us. Once the blessing was complete, my dad leaned over my Grandpa and kissed him on the forehead and told him how much he loved and respected him. It was such a beautiful scene, one I will always remember. Raquenel then told us that my grandpa had been calling and reaching out for Mary, my grandma who died when I was 18 months old. I know that the veil was very thin that night and that my grandma was right there with us. The drive home was a very quiet one. We had made a plan if we got a phone call in the middle of the night of who would go out and who would watch Alacia.
Amazingly, I slept quite well that night.
November 20th- My dad called to say that my mom was on a flight home and she would land about 10:15 am. I was praying the time would come much quicker. My dad called both me and Jami about 9am to say that Raquenel had called and thinks that he had stopped breathing. So we jumped in the car and headed to his home. Sure enough, when we walked in his room, I just knew he was gone. I looked at Jami and she gave me a comforting nod that yes, he was gone. I went to his bedside and held his hand. Jami and I were alone with Raquenel and it was a very spiritual moment. I only wish he would have held on a little longer for my mom to say good-bye. I'm just thankful that she has been with him on a weekly basis for years. She has been such an amazing daughter to him. About 2 hours later, my dad came with my mom. She walked in with big tears in her eyes. It was such a tender experience. Soon after, my mom's sister Christine came in and we started working funeral arrangements. The mortuary came to take him and I was able to help prepare him for transport. It seemed a little crazy at first to help lift his body but I'm so thankful I did. We planned the funeral for Saturday the 27th. Most of the funeral arrangements were completed due to the fact that my grandpa was a funeral director so he had it all planned. We were very thankful he did that. Later that afternoon, I was assigned to type up his obituary while my mom and aunt told me what to write. That was another great experience.
November 26th- Viewing... There aren't words that can express my feelings that night when my grandpa was surrounded by military personal throughout the entire evening. My grandpa fought in WWII and remained very patriotic throughout his life. To have those men there paying such high respects to my grandpa was just unbelievable. I felt so proud to have him as my grandpa.
November 27th- Funeral... What a great time for family and friends to celebrate his life. All of the speakers did such a great job. There were more laughs and smiles than tears. It was a beautiful funeral program and graveside. Once we made it to the cemetery in Brigham, it started the snow. It was perfect. Once again, the veil was very thin. After the funeral, we all were able to pick out something that was my Grandpa's. I was able to come away with one of his WWII medals. It is so beautiful and I hold it close to my heart. My grandpa has always been such a great, patriotic example and I'm grateful to have one of his hard earned war medals.
To sum up the those past few days is very difficult. I still find myself waking up in the middle of the night with a wet pillow from crying. I miss him terribly but I'm so thankful for the knowledge and testimony I have of the Plan of Salvation. I know he is happy to be with my grandma again after 22 long years of being apart. I'm thankful that the Lord allowed me to be his granddaughter and that he has blessed me with such a strong and amazing family. My heart continues to ache for my mom because I know she also misses him a lot. I love you mom...
On a lighter note.... Mike completed another crazy full semester of school. I'm so proud of him for all of his hard work. On top of school, he clocks in about 30-35 hrs of work as a computer programmer at a local business and just loves it! I couldn't be happier to be married to him! I'm still working 3 days a week and temp in several offices on my days off. We feel so blessed to have our jobs and education. We both continue to work hard in our church callings and just enjoy being together.
This was our 2nd Christmas together... where did this past year go!! I can't believe we are on our 2nds of everything. Mike put lights up along our roof and we bought our 2nd Christmas tree. It was So fun to decorate our house together. We've had lots of fun shopping, family parties and
friend get-togethers. I love the holidays! I made our stockings and Christmas eve pajama's this year. My mom helped me a ton but I think she was about ready to give up on me and my lack of
sewing abilities. We were so blessed with all of our fun presents together. We got lots of things
we've desperately needed but a few fun things as well.
We went up the our family cabin to celebrate New Year's. As always, it was a lot of work but tons of fun. My dad left for Africa the day after Christmas so it was weird to not have our parents there with us. We all managed to survive the freezing temps and just enjoyed the time away from everything.
Again, I just love the Holidays! It's always fun to start off a new year though too. And I'm trying to start off the new year with a bang. Mike and I joined a gym last week and I've ran/walked 17.5 miles in these past 6 days. My father in-law has challenged me to take on his last year's resolution - to run 1,000 miles within the year. Don't quite think I'll get there but maybe 800 miles will work for me! It sure is great to have a goal to work towards.
As for my official New Years Resolution - I'm going to focus on exercising 5-6 x a week, continue with Weight Watchers, eat more fruits and veggies and to get rid of at least 20 pounds by April and keep it off. So far, I've lost 1.2 lbs!! Wish me luck!
Happy New Year!