Thursday, March 5, 2009

Saying Goodbye to "Gramps"

This has been one of the hardest weeks ever. On Saturday evening we got the sad news that Brandon's grandpa had passed away- this was a shock to all of us, because he was so healthy and active and vibrant- we thought we had many more years with Gramps. Apparently he died peacefully in his sleep with his arms folded, sitting in his chair with the morning paper. This has brought comfort to many of us.

Yesterday was the funeral service and it was such a wonderful tribute to a kind, compassionate and loving man. Brandon's family has been an incredible strength and support through this ordeal, and we will continue to lean on each other as we will still go through tough times ahead. But we have also had moments of laughter and smiles as we reminisce about fond memories and watch home videos of Gramps. It was wonderful to hear his familiar voice on video again and hear how lovingly he spoke to his kids and grandkids.

Gramps was an accomplished professional trumpet player, he was a member of the Phoenix jazz and swing band, and gave many thousands of performances over the years and recorded 8 albums. He was an avid tennis player, won many tournaments and was still playing several times a week at age 82! He gave over 5,000 hours of service at the VA in his retirement, after working many years in this organization. He made time for his family and friends, calling his daughters who live far away every single day. We were lucky to have a birthday celebration together just 3 weeks ago and had a nice family gathering. Jesse spent most of his time with his sweetheart Nancy, who had become the family's adopted grandma. She is such a sweet lady and we are all lucky to know her too.

Brandon and I have become a lot closer through this experience and it is wonderful to be part of such a great family. If we could all be like Gramps, this world would be a better place. Brandon has said many times that he will try to follow the example of this wonderful man, and we resolve to make more time and not take one minute for granted that we have with our loved ones here on earth. So go see your grandparents, or call them on the phone and tell them you love them. Take time to listen to their stories and learn from this incredible generation that won't be around for too much longer. We will miss you Jesse Carter, but know that we will be together again someday!


Bry & Rach said...

I am so sorry! My heart goes out to you both. He sounded like a wonderful man. I lost both my maternal grandparents last year within a few months of each other, but we were expecting it. They had both been sick for a couple years. It was hard losing them. They are the grandparents I grew up with. I still think of them almost everyday.

aimee heff said...

He sounds like a cool cat. I'm sure he will be missed. I am thankful you were able to celebrate his life.

Anonymous said...

Bummer.....for those left behind! I'm sorry. I know it's hard. I know the day is coming that I'll get the call my 89 year old Grandpa will pass and I am NOT ready for it. When they are such great people, like your gramps, it's hard to let go. This world needs more people like them.