My grandfather passed away on June 5, 2006. He was 80 years old. I remember this day clearly, because it was my baby girl's 1st birthday. He had been suffering with Melanoma for six years, a major feat for a man in his late seventies. I guess most people with Melanoma don't live that long.
He had been on hospice care for several weeks. I went to visit him a few times, each time he was worse than the time before. He had such a wonderful sense of humor, and was always so kind and caring and affectionate. He called me Sher Babe, and had the most infectious laugh. He admired me for my skills at the piano, and told me so every chance he got. He was an amazing artist and I have several of his paintings in my home.
One of the last times I saw him, he could barely speak, because the chemo had made his throat and mouth raw and painful, but he was still cracking jokes. The last time I saw him alive, he was in so much pain, they had him medicated and he was unconscious. He wasn't my Grandpa anymore.
I was driving home from taking the kids swimming for Peter's birthday at the Roy Aquatic Center when my Dad called me, telling me Grandpa had passed away, and that he had wanted me to play the piano for his funeral. His favorite hymn was Abide with Me, 'Tis Eventide.
My brothers and I wrote a simple arrangement for the piano, bass, and violin. I brought my hymn book to the mortuary with me. It was a wedding gift and had C's and my name inscribed on it. The song was beautiful, and I know my Grandpa was there listening to us play for him.
After the beautiful funeral service we made our way to the interment where my Grandfather was honored with a gun salute for his service in WWWII. It was beautiful.
The next day, I realized I had left my hymn book at the mortuary. I called them, telling them it had my name on it, but they said they couldn't find it. A week later, I called again, this time leaving my phone number, in case it turned up. Still nothing. I never heard anything again. Until yesterday,....
when I received a package in the mail, with the return address labeled from Lindquist's mortuary. I could not for the life of me figure out what a mortuary would be sending me. But, then, I opened it. And there was my hymn book. Three and a half years later....here it was.
And from now on, this hymn book will always remind me of my Grandfather.
I love you Grandpa!