Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have to apologize in advanced. I feel like my posts reflect the roller coaster I am on right now in my life!
I have not been posting for a bit because on December 30th,my grandpa went to the hospital for chest pains. He suffered a massive heart attack which had actually started the day before doctors say. He is an extremely tough man and when the doctors opened him up to look at what was going on they were shocked. They found that 2/3rds of his heart tissue was already dead. It was dead because it had a lack of oxygen and blood. They put a pump in his heart because doctors have a certain code of ethics. Before he went into surgery he told the doctors that he did not want to be resuscitated if he died. This was hard for my grandma and my uncles and aunts to hear I am sure, but they can at least know that their father made that decision.
By the end of the surgery most of my 23 cousins and 9 aunts and uncles with their partners were at the hospital. We were all in town for our family Christmas. It is a tradition that my grandpa brought from his family in Pennsylvania. His parents had brought the tradition of celebrating the Epiphany with them from the old country and each year the day is different to accommodate the out of towners and this year we were celebrating on the 1st.
Anyway, my sister and I headed to the hospital once we found out what was going on. I had been holding it together pretty well. My father had sent me a text saying "dad had heart attack. on way to hospital" (he is new to texting) and for a moment I was worried. I was worried because I thought is this someone texting me from my dad's phone telling me he had a heart attack. Instead of freaking out I called my sister and she was balling. I started to freak out, but then she said that grandpa had a heart attack. I know this sounds bad, but I had a slight moment of relief. I told her to come home and that we would head over to the hospital. I didn't cry but I didn't know what to do, so I did the only thing I could do, eat. I had been about to eat a slice of pizza before this all started, so I decided to do just that. I felt like I should cry, but the tears weren't coming yet. When my sister got home and I saw her crying, I started crying. I got myself under control and we left for the hospital. As we walked the long hallways to the Heart and Lung Tower I was reminded of an episode of Grey's Anatomy. My sister and I turned the corner and BAM there was my family. They were all gathered in a waiting room, but since it was a waiting room a little out of the way we took up the entire room. As I started to get closer and I could see their faces I could see that they had been crying as I had.This made me cry even harder than I had before. Seeing my little cousins was rough.
As the whole family gathered and the family priest arrived the family got ready for the Catholic sacrament of the Sick. The nurses at the hospital were nice enough to let all 35 of us fit into the room my grandpa was in and stay there for the sacrament. They also managed to keep the room to just my grandpa so family could visit whenever. As the priest began to pray I held my grandfather's foot and did what I could. I was not really listening to the priest since I was not following the prayer. I wanted to do my own personal type of healing prayer. As I was doing my prayer in my head and sending all the love and positive energy I could I felt something. It was unlike any feeling I have ever had while praying. It felt like death was in the room. It was not a bad thing, rather a comforting feeling. It was warm and powerful and I felt secure. I didn't know what to think. We all got to say something to our grandpa and he recognized all of us. When I left the hospital I didn't think I would see him again.
But my grandpa being the trooper that he was held on till 2011. My sister and I went to visit him on the 2nd and he looked bad. He did not look like he had when he first arrived in the hospital. By this point they had taken him off most of the meds except pain killers. And while we were there the nurse came in and lowered the heart pump machine to put out a pump for every 3 of his. My grandma being the powerhouse she is made sure that was not keeping him alive, because that is what my grandpa wanted. She was so strong. I did not see her shed one tear till the funeral. The nurse said no the machine was only doing the pump because it prevented blood clots. They were married for 65 years and the love I saw he pour out for her husband at the hospital brought me to more tears. My grandma also is a reiki master and I believe that while she sat by his bed for all those days and hours she was not only thinking back on the 65 years but doing what she could with her universal positive energy.
I learned a little about my grandpa from my grandma during the 2 hours we spent there. As I left I knew that would be the last time I saw my grandpa alive. He died the next morning and I was happy to see his suffering come to an end. I wished his soul peace and rest and lit a candle in his honor.
The next few days were a blur. Then the viewing happened and then the funeral on last Friday. It was a beautiful service and during the whole experience the family has grown closer. My partner came out the day after my grandpa died. I am so happy he did because I was having a rough time.
My grandpa grew up in Western PA and Graduated from Ligonier High where he lettered in football and basketball. In the Wilpen area, he played baseball for a local semi-pro baseball team starting at age 14. He spent a year recovering from asthma and bronchitis after High School. On the advice of his doctor, he moved West to Arizona in search of a drier climate for health reasons. Upon arriving in Arizona in 1942, he went to work for Goodyear Aircraft as an Assistant Chief Inspector for the "flying squadron". Later while at Goodyear Aircraft, he was assigned to "Central Communications". He was later assigned to the conversion of B-24s into PB2Y3s for the War effort. This included the repair of B-25s damaged while making bombing runs over Tokyo, and other Japanese cities in 1942. While working in Phoenix at that time, he also played semi-pro baseball for the Phoenix Thunderbirds and the Glendale Grays. He built a reputation as a talented baseball player and was offered a scholarship to the University of Arizona to play football and baseball in 1945 and 1946, where he earned letters in each. Dad was very proud that he played on the ONLY untied, undefeated Wildcat football Team in school history in 1946. After his sophomore year he signed a Professional Baseball Contract with the Boston Braves Organization for whom he played for three years before a shoulder injury cut his career short. After baseball, he moved back to Phoenix to work for Schade Storage and Transfer. He later went to work for McKesson & Robbins in 1950 as a salesman, where he excelled. His McKesson Division was later sold to William Schubert, where he enjoyed further success. Glenmore Distilleries hired him as their Regional Representative. Three years later he began a series of entrepreneurial enterprises.
He lived a wonderfully long life and had many experiences. His legacy will continue for hundreds of years and he has helped me realize the value of family and life! My grandfather is buried right under a big pine tree and next to an olive tree. I am happy to know that while I am finishing my last semester of college in a pine forest and my grandfather has reminder that he is in my heart with the pine tree next to him.
While his casket was going into the ground I noticed that there was a black cat in the background. I know you can't see her in this picture but she looked magnificent. She had a huge fur coat and huge yellow eyes. I think that she was the guardian of the area. She keeps watch and as the priest said his words, I sent a silent message to her asking her to keep my grandfather safe. And to watch over him.


Blessed be!!!!!!


Aine O'Brien said...

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. A lucky man too - to have his whole family around him at the end.

In the words of Jim Morrison,

"I hope he went out smiling, like a child into the cool remnant of a dream."

I am thinking of you and your family and your lovely grandmother.

SpiritWings said...

I am so sorry for your loss.
~sending you warmth and comfort to you and your family during this difficult time~

You wrote a wonderful tribute to him here. Thank you so much for sharring with us what a wonder person he was while here. With so much love and positive energy from your family I am sure that his next step will be made that much eaiser for him.

Blessings to you

sophiadawn said...

My condolences on your loss. Thank you for writing about your Grandfather.

Wendy said...

How painful it is to lose someone we love so much and have had beautiful connections with. I'm sorry for your loss and I think he's absolutely beaming with love and happiness over this beautiful tribute you've created for him. Hugs to you.

TD (Tammy @ Journal of Evolution) said...

Love to you and your family from me and mine. I'm so sorry for your loss. We lost our matriarch a few years ago and we're still trying to reaquire our center.

Susan said...

I am sorry for the loss of your Grandpa. I lost my dad almost 6 years ago. (he is the same age group as your GP) He and my mom were married 59 years. (well one month shy) he was a little guy with HUGE muscles (the family says it was to compensate for his lack of stature)
He was a Gymnast (he called it a tumbler)
He was a boxer in the Golden gloves, and served in the Navy during WWII, where he earned the nickname "Popeye" for his arms and strength. I wasn't daddy's little girl, that privilege went to my older sister the first born.
I always loved my dad and was and am very proud of him, even though he had a drinking issue (which seems like most of the family men back then did)
But he was never mean or violent. I wish i had more time with him in my adult years (he and mom moved to FL for 12 years--we're in NJ)

I didn't have any grandparents, and feel a great loss because of that, I tell my children, and other young people ALL the time, they do not realize how blessed they are to have Grandparents.

Many positive, calming peaceful prayers and lots of protective and positive energy coming out to you and yours. I believe you are most likely correct about the cat!

You have a wonderful legacy to share with your nieces and nephews and future children about your Grandpa!!

I have been here to your blog before a few times, not sure if I ever posted or not before. If I have not, I apologize for my timing of my first post.

warm blessings and gentle hugs,

A Broom And The Moon said...

I agree this is a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man! I am so sorry for your loss. My heart is with you during this difficult time. R.I.P. Grandpa.

Ponderosa Pagan said...

Thank you so much Susan! I agree that I am happy that I got to have some last moments with him. And can't wait to share his legacy!

Avie said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss, although those we love never truly leave us and I am sure we meet them again someday. Blessings to you and your family.