Our bodies can be so, so tired, but sometimes we just can't shut our minds off. I wonder if that's how it was for my Grandpa these past few weeks. I've been wide awake since 4:30 this morning and I just can't stop thinking about him. I can't get that last image out of my mind. Our dear, sweet Grandpa Harry passed away last night at 7:10 pm at the ripe old age of 95 (November 11, 1915 - July 27, 2011.) I was lucky enough to be there at his bedside when he took his last breath. I'm not sure I've ever felt so helpless. He sounded like he was drowning with his lungs so full of fluid, and then it just stopped. He took his last breath and my grandma was sobbing. "Oh, Harry!" And another sob. All of us were crying hard. A few seconds later he was gone and suddenly his countenance looked so peaceful. All his kids were there...Katrina, my dad, Dale & Jim... along with Aunt Diane and my cousin, Rita, Aunt Nedra, my cousin, Kristi, Stacy the caregiver, and me.
(Grandpa Harry and me)
After a few minutes passed, we all gathered around the bed and my Uncle Dale offered a very sweet prayer of thanks for the wonderful life he led as well as a blessing of comfort on all of us still here on earth. Bishop Uncle Jim shared some words of comfort with us and with his mom about how he had just been called home on a mission to serve...just like Van had been called to serve a mission in Atlanta. He reminded us that Grandpa was "home" now, reuniting with his parents and 11 other siblings who were surely waiting for him with open arms.
For the next hour, Grandma & Grandpa's house filled with family coming by to pay their last respects and give Grandpa's head one last rub. He always loved the head rub. And the sweet kisses. After some time had passed and we gathered our emotions a bit, we were joking lightly with the cousins about the musical talent (or perhaps lack thereof) in the Goodman family. We all conceded that the athletic talents in our genes far outweighed the musical ones. But as we talked about the music for Grandpa's funeral services, Dyan joked that the brothers should sing their traditional "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." Hence the picture above. It was an annual tradition for years and years and years when we were growing up. We'd gather at Dale & Ned's for the nativity and a little program, and the 4 Goodman boys (including Grandpa Harry), would always entertain us with that same number. It's one of my cherished memories.
Growing up just around the corner from G&G brought countless blessings to my life. They were there for everything...all my church talks, all my life events, all my ball games (and all the other grand kids too). They sure loved their ball! They'd even go in the older years to support Mtn. View when my Uncle Dale was the girls varsity softball coach. Really, I think any excuse to watch a game would do. They were amazing. And I have so many memories of Sunday dinner with them...eating together with my other grandparents, Reid & Sue, over at my mom's house. My mom always loved to cook for us (and still does) and we'd all get together often.
Rowan has a special place in Grandpa Harry's heart and always will. She was our little miracle baby, and Grandpa had a choice dream about her before she was ever born. His mother, Annie, appeared to him in a dream one night and told Harry not to worry...that Rowan was going to be perfectly fine, and that she had "picked her out special" to come to our family. Annie told him that Rowan would not only be a blessing to Ryan and I, but also to our whole family. Every time we'd go visit Grandpa, he'd perk up a little extra and give a little extra tight squeeze to Miss Rowan. He must have told Rowan that story 10 times. She was such a fan...and had the hardest time last night of all my kiddos when I told her that Grandpa had passed. She had just been there a few hours earlier and was there with me the day before for our visit. Little Rowan, only 7, cried and cried last night, even though she knows that he is in a better place now.
Grandma Rita and Grandpa Harry...sweethearts forever!
This is Barrett's favorite picture. I like it too. It brings back great memories of my youth without a doubt. I spent 5 1/2 years working at DQ growing up....I thought I was hot stuff having a "real job" at the end of 7th grade (only 13 years old and probably not legally old enough), but hey, the place was owned by Grandpa & Grandma, Uncle Jim & Dale. I spent so so so so many days and nights at the DQ during those years. So many of my cousins worked there too - it was really too much fun. My cousin, Julie, and I were a mean duo on the drive through. We whipped those cars through like nobody's business. We learned all the essential Spanish words for our DQ Brazier menu items so that we could communicate with our cooks. We had slang names or abbreviations for everything else. I still remember laughing so hard one night the first time we started calling our banana splits "BS." Jules was my best friend on the planet during those years and I still love her to pieces. I just wish I'd see her more often. I did get to see my cousin, Kathryn, last night as I was leaving. We see each other so rarely these days too...living across town from each other and just busy with our mom lives. She and I also had some great times at the DQ...and Craig, Dale Jr., Kimmie, Laura...Good times for sure.
Well, the day dawn is finally breaking and I must move forward. I love you, Grandpa Harry! Thanks for a life full of fantastic memories and unending love. Thanks for all you did to help everyone out all the time...for your service as a temple sealer and for sealing me to my eternal companion forever and ever. Thanks for donating the land where our ward building stands today. Thanks for being such an active part of my life and most importantly, for raising such a great son, my Dad. I love him with all my heart and am lucky to live just down the street from him too! I'll see you on the other side...