Monday, December 20, 2010

tough

Well.  Hmmm.

It's been a rough week for our little family.  On Satuday, true to Kate Form, I looked the minister in the eye and said, "to tell you the truth, sir, this is a pretty craptastic Christmas."  He seemed down with that description, so big points for him. 

Two Fridays ago, we lost Evan's grandmother.  She was one spunky spitfire of a dame, and I wish I'd had more time to absorb her entire history - she was a hell of a story-teller.

This past Saturday, my grandfather, Daddy Jim, passed away at home, holding the hand of my grandmother, Mama J, his bride of 65 years.  We had celebrated his 90th birthday two weeks prior with the entire family and were all looking forward to spending another Christmas with him.  He'd been feeling a bit weak, so my sweet Mama J brought up breakfast and lunch to him and they ate together in bed.  After lunch, he got up to visit the restroom, said he needed to sit back down on the bed, laid back, and passed.

Someone, I can't recall who, remarked that he died as he lived... gently. 

For lunch, he ate chicken and wild rice soup and a Rivera pear. 

I don't know why that fact is important to me right now, but it is comforting.  I guess homemade soup and the best pear in the world seems like a pretty decent last supper. 

We've been in Waco since.  I've been surprised by how strong we've all been... we take turns falling apart. 

My grandmother is the picture of dignity and grace... a true steel magnolia. 

You should have seen the six of us - my grandmother, the four daughters, and myself, the eldest grandchild - at the funeral home yesterday... we hit that place with our checklists and our questions and our quiet-yet-strongwilled opinions.  And thank god for Six Feet Under.  That's a strange remark, but I don't think anything else could have prepared me for that casket wall... surreal... I just kept expecting Nate or David to pop out and express condolences.

Services are tomorrow.  Two family members will speak - one representative from the daughters and one from the grandchildren.  I'd love to do it, but there's no way I could get through.  My cousin Meredith volunteered and I am very grateful for that.  Right now, I'm trying to write something for her to read while we're on some downtime.  My father wrote the most touching piece - I'll likely share that later on, as well as whatever words I may find to write.

But for now... he was the sweetest man I've ever known.  "Sweet" so often sounds trite... or sorority-esque... but that's the word that immediately comes to mind when I think of him.  He was quiet, and gentle, and patient, and sweet.  He was a wonderful conversationist and a top-notch listener.  He loved gardening, boating, photography, and the Texas Longhorns.


He loved his family.  He loved his friends.  He loved the practice of medicine and his patients - he knew them all my name and by heart.
 
I am so thankful that he was able to know Evan and that we were able to spend so much time with him while I was here for law school. 
 
I am blessed... there's another word I don't often use, although I always feel very much so... blessed to have had him and really known him for 27 years. 
 
I miss and will continue to miss him terribly.  And I'm sure I will continue to write things here as they come to me.  For now, I am just glad to be able to wrap one of his monogrammed oxfords around me and sit quietly here in his office for a moment... if I could write this post on trusty Royal typewriter, I would.
 
November 17, 1945

64 comments:

  1. Kate, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry for the loss that has hit your family in the last little bit. Please know that your in my thoughts. I know what it's like to lose a loved one during the holidays. I'm here if you need anything.

    Hell. I'm just going to write this in the comments because I hope it'll make you laugh.

    My mom died right before Christmas and my dad had to handle everything because I was 19 and my stepdad was too drunk to do it. My dad handled the funeral and all that. Organized the service. Spoke. Did a slideshow. Totally awesome. At the grave site, we did the whole "if anyone would like to say a few words, please". Big mistake. My stepdad who, I'm not sure if he was actually drunk at the this point in the day, as it was only 11AM walked up to the casket, took a deep breath and THREW HIMSELF ONTO IT. Crushing all the flowers and then processed to basically hump the casket until my dad and uncle pulled him off.

    Yep. That actually happened.

    So sorry for your loss dear friend. I hope you and your family are filled with good memories and love.

    xoxox

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  2. Kate--I am so sorry to hear of your losses. We'll all be thinking and praying for you and your family. I hope having the support of friends and family will lift your spirits a bit this Christmas. XOXO

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  3. Kate, I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts. (I have been following your blog for about a year but never commented.)

    This might sound weird, but thank you for mentioning the casket wall. OMG. My dad passed away last summer and I never could fully explain what it was like when they flipped that wall around. At the wake I kept saying to people "You know that's not really a wall, right?"

    Wishing you comfort and peace for the holidays.

    Meg

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  4. Sorry to hear that, friend :( Will be thinking about you guys...

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  5. I'm so sorry that y'all have had so much loss this season. Your words about your grandfather are beautiful. Stay strong through this hard time. You're in my prayers!

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  6. Just wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you and your entire family. I pray that you continue to have strength as you get through these next few days.

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  7. I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man and one that you got the pleasure of spending a lot of time with. You are very lucky. He was very lucky, it seems, as well. My sincerest condolences.

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  8. Such a beautifully-written remembrance-- it sounds like he was a wonderful man. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  9. Sorry for your loss. Def thinking about you all during this difficult time.

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  10. Oh Kate, I'm so very sorry for your recent losses. Your Daddy Jim sounds like a remarkable man. It's never easy on the family when someone goes quickly, but how blessed that he went peacefully - and with the love of his life right there by his side. I'm thinking of you and your family during this time. xoxo

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  11. Dear Kate,
    Your words about your Daddy Jim bring tears to my eyes. What love you have for him, as I'm sure he had for you and many others. Cherish the beautiful memories you have. Those can never be taken away. I pray that you'll feel peace and comfort being surrounded by family.

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  12. Kate,

    I am so sorry.....what a beautiful blog post.

    I lost my dad 17 months ago to cancer...just three months shy of my wedding. Watching him pass is still something I have a hard time processing. I hope I go just as your grandpa did. In bed....with the love of his life by his side....peaceful and calm.

    My brother and his wife are going through all of this again as she dad to cancer on Saturday just before midnight.

    Remember that he lived a long and happy life. I'm sure he loved seeing his grandchildren grown, married and happy :)

    -KVP

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  13. Oh Kate, I'm so so sorry. This is a lovely tribute to much loved man. My thoughts are with your family.

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  14. I don't comment very often but I just wanted to say how sorry I am. He sounded like a wonderful person and this post was so beautifully written.

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  15. Oh Kate, so sorry for your loss. This post was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your Daddy Jim with all of us!
    xo

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  16. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Your post was lovely, and I know he'd be honored to read those beautiful words. My thoughts are with you and your family. I lost my grandmother when I was 16, and I don't think any other person in this world, had or has shaped me more than she did. I think of her every single day and have since that day almost 15 years ago.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely post.

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  17. With tears in my eyes, I say thank you for sharing this beautiful and personal post. Daddy Jim would be very proud. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

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  18. Kate, I'm so sorry for your losses. It is so evident how much you love your Daddy Jim. I'm sure he felt it when he was here and now. Grandparents are such a joy and blessing. Thank you for sharing with us and we'll be praying for your heart to mend.

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  19. Kate- I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post to remember a wonderful life.

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  20. I'm so so sorry to hear about this, Kate. I will definitely keep you guys in my prayers. We can have a craptastic Christmas together. xoxo

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  21. Kate..

    I'm so heartbroken for you and your family... You and Evan (and your families) will be in my thoughts.

    What a blessing for your Daddy Jim to have been able to celebrate 90 years of an amazing life with his family only weeks ago...

    Celebrate family and all of your strength this Christmas...

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  22. Kate, I am so sorry for your losses. That was such a heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing about your wonderful grandfather. It moved me very much. Praying for peace in this trying time.

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  23. So very sorry to hear the sad news. I know how hard it is to lose a grandparent – especially one as beloved as your Daddy Jim was to you and your family and friends. I will be wishing your family comfort during these bittersweet holidays. Lovely post for a lovely man.

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  24. I'm so sorry for your loss. This was such a beautiful post for him, so moving. I hope your family is able to find some comfort and peace this week.

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  25. So sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you for sharing a little bit of him with all of us.

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  26. Kate,

    I am so sorry for your loss. I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts. This was a beautiful post and I know that your grandfather is enjoying your words.

    xoxo

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  27. Kate, what a beautiful post. Sorry about your loss. Reading this made me think of my own grandfather and how he was very similiar to how you described yours. Though it is a sad and bittersweet time do the best you can. I'm sure he would be proud of you.

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  28. Kate I am so very sorry to hear about your loss.

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  29. So sorry about your grandfather, Kate. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  30. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. There's never an easy time, nor are there words to express the sorry.

    Sending warm thoughts and deepest sympathies.

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  31. My condolences to you Kate and Evan. My grandparents passed away before Christmas as well, and while I held it together for everyone Christmases after sucked. Now eight years after my grandfather's death and two after my grandmother's, Christmas is starting to feel normal.

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  32. That was such a beautiful tribute. How wonderful that you were able to spend so much time with him. My condolences to you.

    Angela/Pretty in Orange

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  33. I'm sorry for the loss of Ev's grandmother and your Daddy Jim.
    This post so beautifully and eloquently honored the man he was.

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  34. I'm very sorry to read of your Grandfather's passing. Grandparents are special and our time with them seems so limited. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without mine. I would not be able to sew, garden, bake, write a thank-you note, make homemade jelly, use a map, drive, recognize and strive for a "healthy" relationship (my grandparents also had a great love affair!). My grandfather was an engineer and gave me the confidence/fearlessness to try and fix just about anything (It really freaks out my husband when I break out the soldering iron).

    Grandparents hold such a big place in your heart and are such a large part of who you are. It really hurts when you lose them.

    Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. I have been reading your blogs for about a year and was so sad to read this entry.

    My thoughts are with you and your family....
    Amy

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  35. tear :( such a sweet post about your grandfather. Sorry you guys are having such a tough Christmas. Thinking of y'all.

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  36. I'm so sorry Kate. What a wonderful tribute to your grandfather.

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  37. Oh so handsome. Sorry you lost him. Happy that he died so peacefully, since it comes to us all some day. I hope your grandmother is coping all right.

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  38. Thinking of you. So good that you have had so much wonderful time with him :)

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  39. That brought tears to my eyes. Especially the part about his last meal. So sorry for your loss.

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  40. Kate, I am so sorry. I lost my 95 year old grandfather right before Thanksgiving this year. I know how hard it is. I had tears in my eyes reading this. My prayers are with you and your family.

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  41. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Your post was a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. I pray you and your husband both find peace and comfort during this difficult time.

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  42. I'm so sorry. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  43. I'm so sorry to hear this, thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

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  44. So sorry for your loss. I could tell how much you adored your grandfather from the post you wrote after his birthday celebration. What a special relationship you had. Peace & comfort to you and your family.

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  45. I am so very sorry. Part of my Dad's eulogy seems like it would apply to him. "We were more when he was with us, and we are less now that he is gone. Hang your heads and cry, a Prince among men has fallen."

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  46. So sorry for you losses, and my thoughts are with you both this Christmas.

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  47. Kate, I am so sorry for you losses. What a difficult time for your family.

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  48. I'm so sorry Kate - what a shock to the family since it was so sudden, yet so peaceful. My husband actually read your post tonight instead of teasing me that I talk about "Kate the blogger" like I know you..and he's sad for you too now.

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  49. sorry for your loss. Death is never easy, even if the person who died lived a full, long life. Hope you two are feeling better soon. best wishes to all your family.

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  50. I'm so sorry Kate. I'm thinking and praying for you and your family.

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  51. I'm so sorry to read of all your loses. I hope you can find strength in each other and ask for a shoulder to cry on when you need one. Many Hugs.

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  52. Kate, my deepest sympathy to you and your family. From your words in this post and others, it was always obvious how very much you admired your grandfather. He will continue to live through those who loved him, and those he loved. It is the earthly hugs we miss the most, and that just stinks. I so understand the comfort of a monogrammed oxford or other piece of clothing he once wore. From this Christmas forward, he will be the brightest light that twinkles on your tree. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during these sad and difficult days.

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  53. I'm thinking about you. I know how much this sucks. Last Christmas was the first since my Mom died, and this Christmas is the first since my Grandma died (and we were super close with her). Hang in there and know that next year will be a bit easier, and for the time being hold on to your family close!

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  54. Good luck at the services today. It was just two weeks ago that we did the same for my beloved Grandmother. Your post was a beautiful rememberance. Even though it's still really raw and hard, I'm holding on to the truckload of memories I'm lucky to have. It sounds like you have about the same amount of happy times :)

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  55. Oh Kate, you've continued to be in my thoughts. As someone who went through this so recently, all I can tell you is to roll with it. Allow yourself and everyone around you time to have their own moments, because they will come, and it's okay however everyone falls apart. But you know that already. I know what you'll write will be beautiful, and your love for him is so evident in how you lived your own life. Thinking of you through thick and thin, and wishing you and your family all the goodness possible.

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  56. Kate-

    I found his obituary online today. It's clear that he was so selfless and giving to everyone. You are so lucky to have grown up with someone like that. I am so sorry for your family's loss, but try to focus on the fond memories in this difficult time.

    Jessica

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  57. Kate, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. He sounds like he was a wonderful man. Also sorry to hear about Evan's Grandma. Grandparents are just about my favorite people in the world.

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  59. I am so sorry to here about your loss. Your Grandfather sounds like an amazing man and your tribute to him was so beautiful. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. That picture of your grandparents is beautiful and incredibly touching.

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  60. So sorry for your loss - what a lovely post, though. Thinking of you and your family.

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  61. I didn't read this until last night, and of course I cried. Beautiful. I'll share it with Mama J, and I know she will love it just as much as I do. Memories will keep us going.
    Thank you. XXXOOO

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  62. I have never commented on your blog, but I read it daily. Your blog serves as a lil' bit of light in my day. I just wanted to reach out and tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I could really feel the love you had for your Grandfather, I know that he could too. Thoughts & prayers are with you.

    Sophia Shinal

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  63. I have been so behind on blog reading and I'm just now reading about your sweet grandfather. I am so sorry, Kate. He sounds like a wonderful man. You and your sweet fam are in my prayers.

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happy little comments!