I've been away. I have tried to not go so long without blogging, but life gets in the way sometimes ya know?
I am dedicating this post to my grandfather. He passed away Jan 25th 2013. It wasn't sudden, actually we hadn't expected him to live as long as he did. He had been in a nursing home for about 2 years now suffering from Alzheimer's. He hasn't known who I am for at least 3 years. When we would visit him, before he went into the nursing home, and even a few months after, he would act very nice to us and smile and nod at things we would say and then after we left he would ask my grandma "who were those nice people?" He never forgot my grandma. She was with him almost every day. He would hug and kiss her and tell all the nurses how much he loved her, and that she was his sweetie pie. :) It was really cute, and funny because my grandpa wasn't much for affection before that! He barely gave hugs and didn't express his feelings much at all. He forgot who my mom was, and she was his only child. I didn't visit as much as I should of, and in a way I'm glad I didn't see him when he got bad. He would go days without any visitors besides grandma, and he had no idea that no one had been there. It was a very sad way to see him go, and in the end he got pneumonia and slipped into a coma for 3 days before the Lord took him. And as sad as we all were to see him go, his passing wasn't filled with all sorrow. We loved him, and knew what an amazing man he was. Our faith I believe has been the greatest blessing on our family during this time.
I have to tell you about what kind of man Grandpa was so you can understand. He was a mans man. Loved his fast cars, his boat (when he was much younger of course) his tools, and his tractor! And most of all loved Jesus. And that is not exaggerated. He was a very holy man, and everyone he came into contact with knew it.
Grandpa came from a long line of preachers, but his own father and mother didn't raise their children up in any faith. When he met Grandma, he fell in love! He joined the army and told her that if they didn't get married right away he might get shipped off to Japan (this is during WWII) and get killed! lol so she said yes.. She was 17 and he was 19. She said he had a really nice car, and smile. ( I just love these old stories! ) They had my mom pretty quickly and unfortunately weren't able to have any more children. Grandma had come from a very Catholic family, and she was bound and determined to win him over. Every night Grandma would tell him that they had to have their lessons in Faith, and she would read to him till he fell asleep. A few years later, Grandpa joined the Church and never looked back. He became one of the best Catholics I have ever met in my life. He knew every prayer, every devotion, and was a huge supporter of EWTN, the Pro-Life movement, was a KofC. I'm not sure how to explain how amazing he was. Grandpa was quiet, and would only talk your ear off if you wanted to talk about cars, or Church! He was the most honest person I have ever come into contact with. And that is what everyone who knew him said. Grandpa was sweet, and kind, he loved Jesus and Mary with all his heart. He prayed the rosary every day, went to church every day. He was just amazing!
Before he died, Grandma and mom put his brown scapular back on him. He wore it daily, but it had to be taken off while he was sick. And the amazing thing is that he died at 12:30 am on Friday and it is said that if you die wearing the Brown Scapular, Mary will bring you up from Purgatory the Saturday after you die.( You can find the link here. ) Knowing that, just made his passing that much easier. Grandma wanted him to be at peace, and not to be suffering anymore. But the thing is, that as a Catholic you view suffering much differently than other people do. We know that he was here hanging on for so long, suffering, for a reason. We know that God used his suffering to either help him shorten his time in Purgatory, or to pray for us, or something along those lines, but we know he didn't suffer in vain.
The funeral was amazing and beautiful. Our entire family was involved in the services. My cousin Father Jason, was the celebrant. The servers were my brother and 2 nephews. The pallbearers were all the brother in laws. The vocalist was my other cousin. And during the prelude music we had the great-grandchildren bring up flowers and put them in vases next to Grandpa. There were 27 kids! :) The older ones carried up the babies and their flowers. It was beautiful. Of course seeing that is what brought on all the tears, but it was as happy as it was sad. If that makes sense.
At the grave site Grandpa was saluted by the Color Guard, and Taps was played, for his time spent in the service. And that brought on the tears! We know that Grandpa is in a better place. We know that he was a very holy man, and that if he is in purgatory we can pray for him, and knowing who he was, it's hard to think he could be there for long.