I'll just start at the beginning, because otherwise it won't make any sense.
My mom came to visit last Monday. My two youngest brothers are homeschooled now, so my mom decided to bring them in for a quick visit since they never made it in before summer ended. My grandparents live very nearby, so their plan was to spend a couple of nights with us and a couple of nights with my grandmother. My grandfather lived with a caretaker due to his Alzheimer's.
My mom and grandmother went to visit my Pops on Wednesday morning, and on Thursday morning my mom got a call that he had passed. There was no way of knowing that Thursday morning would be the day, there's no way to explain why my mom just happened to come to town to visit and just happened to visit him the day before. It was just one of those "coincidences" that can only be explained by God's intervention.
Family came to town, and we all cried and mourned. Our grandfather was, as the priest talked about during his funeral mass, a "big" man. Not literally but he had a huge personality! I have so many wonderful memories, from spending summers with him and my grandmother, to visits that they made to our home while I was growing up. Watching him deteriorate over the years has been hard, and we all knew his time was growing closer each day, but for me that doesn't make his passing any easier. I mourn the past 10 years, time he could have spent loving his family, making more memories, and getting to know his great grandchildren.
His visitation was Sunday night and funeral on Monday morning. His grandsons were pallbearers and the granddaughters brought up the gifts during the offertory at mass. We buried him in a nearby cemetery, one that I pass by frequently, so every time I pass by I'll be reminded to offer a prayer for the souls in purgatory.
I appreciated spending time with family I wouldn't have otherwise seen until Christmas, but it's also sad to come together to mourn. I had the opportunity to explain death to Bethany, who hasn't experienced death yet. She wanted to see his body so I took her to see him, and explained that his soul was gone and left an empty body. She said, "So he's like a statue?" I thought that was a pretty good way to explain it to a kid, so I said yes. She was okay with that and so was I. She knew everyone was sad and that she needed to be polite and mindful of everyone's feelings; I thought she was (once again) very mature for her age throughout the whole thing.
It was hard to say goodbye but I feel so blessed to have the gift of faith, and the peace that his death isn't the end. My faith continues to be a constant compass to navigate me through life, and now in death, and I am so very grateful because I cannot imagine having to face disease and death without God.