Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Heart is Broken

Losing my grandfather, Ray D. Pearcy Sr., on Wednesday March 16th has broken my heart. In a way, I am happy to realize that I still have a heart because I work around death SO much, but I just wasn't expecting this overwhelming amount of grief soaring through my soul. I am going through the stages (of grief) like a person who has never stepped into the hospital before. I was so angry today.. angry at the doctors.. angry at illness.. angry at ridiculous things that couldn't have been changed. I am still angry. I am also in denial. I am never in denial about things, so this feeling is just bizarre. I had this certainty today while at the gravesite that this did.not.happen. I couldn't accept it. I broke down.

I hate crying because I get headaches, but at the same time it feels good. It feels SO good to mourn someone so passionately because I know that means that the love between my grandfather and I was REAL.

Anyway, I am grieving, but I am learning. I have learned so much from this one experience in my life, and am thankful that it has changed me for the better. More on that in the coming weeks (if I am up for it).

In the meantime, I want to paste my eulogy from grandpa in here so I can't ever lose it.

~Albert Einstein~
Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.

I began today with this Einstein quote because I want to spend time remembering the legacy of my grandfather through his children, grandchildren, and great-children. First we have Marcela and Ted (who is my dad), whom grandpa adopted as his own back in 1954 when he met Emma Reese. Only to continue on by having three more children – Cindy, Renee, and Ray Jr. All of these children went on to live good lives, raising their own children to be good and loving people. We have Michael and Michelle, followed by Aaron, Meghan, Carrie, Christopher, Brian, Kenny, Amy, Sarah, Emily, and Tori.

Between numerous college and high school graduations, weddings, the making of great-grandchildren, and many other events over the years, I think we made our grandfather proud. I think that we had good motivation, because of our grandfather, to do great things. We grew up with a healthy respect for grandpa, and listened closely to his wise words, and learned a lot from his outgoing personality. I think it is safe to say that we all take after him in the LOUD and opinionated areas.

I for one couldn’t wait to tell grandpa good news about life. One of my favorite things was making him proud. I loved that he was here to experience my graduation from college, and in the last week of his life I was able to let him know I was accepted to UC Berkeley for graduate school. He was SO happy. It’s extremely difficult to accept the fact that he won’t be here on earth for that graduation, but I know he and grandma will be watching from a better place.

I think all the grandchildren can speak to their own proud moments with grandpa. Mike being the first to produce great-children, and very cute ones. Aaron graduating from college and recently becoming engaged. Meghan for graduating from cosmetology school, celebrating her wedding, and giving him 2 more great grandchildren. Chris for being the first to work in show biz, and for being the greatest uncle, with the kindest spirit. Brian for being a hard-worker, and first of all of us to have his own office at work. Kenny for graduating culinary school, and having the ability to make anything out of frozen turkey. And Amy, Sarah, Emily, and Tori, who are all still young, but have made grandpa proud in many ways, as he enjoyed lots of love from the babies of the family.

This is Grandpa’s legacy.

We also have many wonderful memories with grandpa. My sisters, Sarah, Emily, and Tori, reminded me of grandpa’s smile. Grandpa always LIT UP whenever he saw one of his grandchildren. This past Thanksgiving we had the whole family over to my house for dinner, and I think grandpa was smiling the whole time. I know he loves his family, but I am sure some of that smile was because he got to eat my mom’s food as well. He loved food.

Meghan reminded me of how she used to sit on the arm of his chair at the old Hawthorne house when she was a little girl. I remember those memories as well. Meghan also said that some of her greatest memories were when Grandpa was with his great grandson, Jameson. Almost every milestone in Jameson’s first year of life happened around grandpa, and grandpa was so happy to be able to celebrate Jameson’s 1st birthday.

While spending this last week together, I was able to reminisce a lot with Aaron and Brian. We talked a lot about Grandpa’s hot tub. We ALWAYS wanted to be in that hot tub, and we always wanted Grandpa to go with us.

As a family, I think it is safe to say that Grandpa was ALWAYS there when we needed him most. I have distinct memories of grandpa being my comfort, in times of trials. This is why it is so difficult to lose a grandparent. We don’t use the word “grand” to describe these people we have in our lives for no reason – they are the “grandest” people we know.

Finally, my favorite memories of being with grandpa were in the last days of his life. Though it was difficult to see him sick, I am glad that I cancelled everything to be with him. I am glad that the years of my work experience was able to be a blessing to him. Spending those last days speaking for him when he couldn’t speak, and helping him while he was weak, were the best spent hours of my life. We even watched American Idol one night from his hospital bed. Having the chance to say goodbye and I love you, numerous times is something that not many people get, and something that I will cherish.

This sucks. I have spoken at all of my grandparent’s funerals, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do this one because it is the last for me. Today I am saying goodbye to the last grandparent I have.

But here is the good news – we are not saying goodbye forever, but just for a small amount of time when we compare it to infinity. Grandpa was a Baptist, and so naturally I turned to the Bible for answers and comfort. This is a passage that gave me comfort this week:

1 Corinthians 15

42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.

53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

I know that there is such a thing as heaven, and eternal life, and it is with that confidence that I celebrate the fact that I will see grandpa again.

Grandpa, you have left a legacy. There are many more great grandchildren to come, and we promise you that we will always tell them stories about you so that you won’t be forgotten. We will try our best to represent you well in our lives, by being honest and kind, but most importantly, by loving this family that you have created. It is with sadness that I say goodbye for now, but joy comes when I am able to tell you – see ya later.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grandpa.

I came back on the blog to focus on one thing for a bit - my grandpa.

My grandpa, who is my dad's father, is my last living grandparent, and I am sad to say that he is now home on hospice. There is no chance for recovery from his illness, and it is with a heavy heart that we sit and wait. My grandpa is 84.

It has been interesting to be involved with the process of everything. I am thankful for my education and for the ways I can help my family. I am also thankful for the ways I can help my grandpa.

I lost my grandmother on my dad's side when I was 18, and my grandpa on mom's side when I was around 22, and both times it just seemed as if I was out of the loop and not very involved. I think I was just too young to take responsibility for anything. Now I am 27, and more capable of understanding, processing, and staying strong for the family.

At one point my cousin said to me, "You are so good at this, I haven't even seen you cry".

Well, I have cried. But my cries are for selfish reasons. Reasons that consist of "I" and "Me". "I am going to miss grandpa", etc. And not that anything is wrong with that, but I think I am just so obsessed with using every single last second to help grandpa pass with dignity and confidence that he will be the Lord. Also, I think it is so amazing that we have this time with grandpa, and that we have had so many years with him, I am just so happy and thankful for it.

I mean, it sucks. It sucks bad. Life is so hard. But you can't put a price tag on having a chance to say goodbye...

My grandpa is just really awesome. He has lived a wonderful life. My great grandfather was the mayor of Hawthorne, California, and this is the city we all grew up in. My grandpa was very well known in the town, and truly made a great life for himself. He has always taken care of his kids and grandkids with great love, and that is why there is so much love with him today.

More later..