Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Goodbye to Grandad Dudley

For those who don't know yet, my Grandad Dudley passed away last Friday. We laid him to rest Tuesday and I've now finally gotten around to putting my thoughts in writing. I don't have a nifty poem like my sis (http://shauna-and-tom.com/blog/?p=254). My ramblings are more of an unsorted, random bunch of thoughts and feelings. I was a bit surprised at how matter-of-fact I took the whole ordeal. We've known for months that things didn't look good and when he turned down chemo a few weeks ago we knew it was only a matter of time. Perhaps that prepared me or prevented the shock factor. I'm sure that was part of it, but I'm almost alarmed at the strong sense of peace I have. I almost feel guilty for not being more upset. I loved and respected my Grandad as much as anyone. I've been thinking it over and I think I feel this peace in large part because he did as well. I've not been around many dying people, but I couldn't imagine anyone else taking it as well as Grandad did. He was never bitter or angry about his circumstances. On the contrary, I think he was grateful for them. He was not snatched away from us, but was given 3 months warning. He had the time to see all his loved ones again and to feel the love and adoration we all had for him. He believed he was the most blessed man on earth until the moment of his death. He knew he was going to a better place and he knew we would all soon join him there. If he had any fear of dying, he hid it well. I think his peaceful spirit spilled over on those of us who were around for his final weeks. I know it has for me and I thank God for allowing it so that I might be spared the worst of the grief. I still grieve, but it's more a sense of temporary separation than a sense of loss.

The funeral service was as good as one could be. Funerals aren't typically categorized as "good", but Granddad's was as close as one could get. The video tribute that Aunt Karla and Uncle Rob put together was incredible. The message was terrific as well, with excerpts from letters we all wrote Grandad before he passed. I was a bit apprehensive about singing in the choir loft with the rest of the family, as was one of Granddad's last requests. I'm not a gifted singer and I don't like facing crowds, but I figured Grandad had earned this final gift from his family. I've gotten misty eyed 3 times in my adult life. Once was at my wedding when Olivia came through the doors of the church to be my wife. The second was when I saw baby Nathan for the first time after he was born. The third was singing "I'll Fly Away" for my grandad. I was saying to myself, "Why are you crying, you never cry when you're sad." And right then it struck me. I wasn't holding back tears of sorrow. I was sad, but my tears were tears of pride. I was so overcome with how great this man was and how proud I was to be a part of his family that I got a little choked up. It was a bit puzzling at the time, but I'm sure that's what it was.

My biggest regret in all of this is that Grandad never got to meet Drew, our second boy due to arrive next week. I then realize that there will be dozens of great-grandkids that grandad won't meet on this earth. It just happens that Drew's the first. That pacifies me a little and makes me even more thankful for the relationship Grandad had with Nathan. For those that don't know, Nathan's middle name is Wyatt in honor of Grandad Dudley. Grandad was openly touched by this, but it was really our honor to be ones to use the name. Let's face it, one of us grandkids was going to name a kid after Grandad sooner or later. We were just the lucky ones to get to do it! I'm not sure the loss has completely sunk in yet. I imagine it will come in waves... the first time we go to Grandma's house and he's not there... going through harvest without him driving a tractor... Christmas without him... opening the pool next summer for the first time without him. We will miss him differently from season to season, but we will never forget his overwhelming love for his family. We love you Grandad, and we'll see you soon.

2 comments:

Shannon Anderson said...

Beautifully said Brandon! I just keeping thinking "I'm not sad for him because he's with Jesus, but I'm still sad for us because he's gone."
You're so right that he will be missed differently from season to season, but we'll see him soon!
Thanks for that!

Shauna said...

Every time you're at the pool and you give your boys full-on hugs even though they're dripping wet...

Every time you sneak a present or a monetary gift to someone in need, then hide the evidence...

Every time you make a hard decision after gut-wrenching prayer...

Every time you tell everyone in the room how much you love your wife and how proud you are of your boys...

...remember that you do these things because Granddad showed you the way. Show those things to Nate and Drew and they'll know about Granddad.

I have a weird sense of peace too. I didn't expect this.