I've had that photo as my iphone wallpaper since I took it a couple weeks ago. That's my Poppal.
Friday was his 80th birthday. We visited a little bit in the morning, took him a new flag for his garden, and Ivy played tea party with him like always.
That night, we had a huge birthday party for him. Family and friends from all over came to see him. He was so happy. Ivy thought it was her party, so when we sang and he blew out his candles, she cried so hard. So he had them light his candles again and we all sang- again- but this time to Ivy. And they both blew out the candles together.
Saturday morning I got that too-early in the morning call. You know the one that can't mean good news. Poppal had a massive stroke a few hours after his party was over.
I spent all yesterday in the ICU with him and my family. I watched my Mommal say her goodbyes to her partner of almost 60 years. And through the afternoon into evening I saw the grief slowly turn to peace, falling softly upon us.
I spent this morning up there with him, just us two. I played him every old gospel favorite I could find, and after that God Bless America and The Battle Hymn of the Republic. He was the most patriotic person I knew. And I don't know how many people understand my relationship with my grandparents. Most people just see "old", I know, but I don't. I never felt they were a burden, but it was a privilege to spend time with them, to bring them joy wrapped up in Ivy and Gray packages during our daytime visits.
We took the kids up there, it looked like he was sleeping. They just moved him to hospice nearby so I am heading over there in a few minutes. They are making him comfortable while we wait for him to pass on.
The very last thing I said to him Friday night as I hugged him goodbye was, "I love you, Poppal." I know he knew I loved him. And he knew I knew he loved me.