Our Grandpa passed away this weekend. He remained at home, with his 6 adopted children by his side. He laughed, played peanuckle, cried, sang, read poetry, and entertained guests right up to his last hours.
I was so glad that my children could be a part of this inevitable part of life. Dying is not the end. It is not something to fear. We believe in Eternal Families. We believe in marriage forever, not just until death parts us.
As we looked forward to Grandpas return with our Grandma, we celebrated. We cried. We ate. We told stories. We hugged him. We held his hands. We welcomed visitors. We learned.
I learned so much watching my aunts. I watched my aunt Renea come in and sit by Grandpa, pick up his hand and so sweetly cut to the chase. "How are you feeling Grandpa?"
He said," I wish I wasn't here any more. " She said," I know, but it will be soon enough. "
Aunt Lori told so many jokes, and constantly lightened the mood. She also cooked, cleaned, and basically kept the home running.
Aunt Suz is a nurse. She seemed to know just the right things to do. Wiping Grandpas forehead with a wet cloth. Wetting his lips with an ice cube. Running her hands through his hair. Anything to comfort him as he passed on.
Aunt Rose is the oldest sister. It was sweet for me to watch her as she cried, and laughed, and sang, and loved.
Momma Shaffer seemed to know just the right time to suggest singing. We were all around watching Grandpa as he struggled to breath. We were telling stories, and crying as we prayed that he wouldn't have to suffer any longer. Then, Momma Shaffer asked if maybe we could sing. Grandpa thought that would be a pretty good idea, so we sat around and sang hymns and christmas songs. We cried and passed the tissues and sang some more. It brought such a sweet spirit to the home, and it gave us and Grandpa some much needed comfort.
The uncles and Poppa Shaffer were equally awesome, helping Grandpa with his needs. Telling him that he was no less of a man for needing a wheelchair. Or that Heavenly Father would surely say, "Well done" when Grandpa got to Heaven. They also joked. Like about the time when Aunt Lori couldn't change his oxygen tank because she couldn't find the wrench. Uncle Mike laughed when she looked so scared and said, "What you didn't want to go home and tell everyone that we lost Grandpa, because you lost the wrench?" There needed to be some humor.
They stayed up with him through the night, comforting him, and carrying him to and from his chair. Changing his oxygen. Blessing him.
We told favorite stories. The best story I heard this weekend was, when they honored Grandpa by calling him Crazy for adopting 6 teenagers and marrying their single mom. Our Grandpa was almost 40 when he married Grandma, and the kids were mostly grown. The odds of that turning out well were not good, but I honestly can't say that I have ever met a more cohesive, tender hearted, caring family, than my own. I don't know how they all turned out so good, they all attribute to a miracle and a steady Dad.
I love my family, and I know this is a bit sentimental, but it is also part of the Shaffer Sisters.
with love, Jo