Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Tribute to Grandpa

If you know me, you know that I love grandpas.  This most likely stems back to the fact that I had the most amazing grandpa... as good as they come.  He passed away my senior year of high school, so when I married Adam, I was beyond happy gain another grandpa.  He had an amazing heart and he loved me and he loved our kids.  I will always always remember how he would pat me on the leg (as all of our kids were running crazy around the living room), give me a proud look, and say, "You're doin' a good job momma."  It always meant the world to me.  In the midst of the craziness, in the midst of the joy, in the midst of the tears, "You're doing a good job." Then he would pat his leg and each kid would run and crawl up on his lap to cuddle.  Every time he left, I would hug him, give him a kiss on the cheek, and whisper, "I love you grandpa."

He has been in and out of the hospital recently, but this past week it really wasn't looking good. Adam's mom called to let us know that she wasn't sure he was going to make it.  More than anything, we wanted to drop everything and go up to see him... but there were a few things we had to consider. Adam was selected to be on a jury and had about two weeks left in court.  Thankfully, our boys happened to be on fall break... so if Adam was able to get dismissed from being on the jury, we could go.  We were praying for grandpa that night and asking God to help us with the timing of it all.  (It was Friday night, so we weren't sure Adam would be able to get ahold of the judge until Monday anyway.)  After we finished praying, I noticed Jacob was turning through the pages of his bible.  He eventually landed in the book of Psalms and said, "Here mom.  I want you to read this verse.  It's my favorite."  It was Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the Lord.  Be strong and don't give up.  Wait for the Lord."  At first I just merely read it... but then my heart skipped a beat.  We were just praying for timing and then Jacob all of a sudden turns to this particular verse?   Okay God.  We'll wait on you.  

As if that wasn't enough, after I went downstairs to tell Adam what had happened, I decided to read a chapter in a book I was reading.  When I opened it up to find where I had left off, something caught my eye.  I saw a sentence in bold (under a section about how God speaks) that said, "Sometimes God speaks to you through your children."  Amazing.  

So we waited and prayed through the weekend.  All of a sudden, on Monday morning, I felt like God was whispering, "Go."  I was telling Adam this before he left for court and he immediately said he would talk to the judge.  At first, I thought to myself... wow, really?  Should we wait and get an update on how Grandpa is doing first?  Then I figured, well, if God wants us to go, he'll make a way. A few hours later, Adam called and said he was dismissed from jury duty altogether.  So we packed and within a few hours, we were on the road to the airport.  (Which isn't easy with four kids, let me tell ya!  ;)  

We woke up the next morning and got a text from Adam's mom that Grandpa was moving from the hospital to a care center.  I was SO relieved to hear that he was doing better.  When we got there, Grandpa was up and talking and looked great.  My mother-in-law said it was the best she had seen him in weeks.  He smiled at us and his eyes sparkled as he saw all of our kids crowding around him.  He looked at me and said, "You flew all the way up here to see me?  That really means a lot." Later, Adam's brother and my sister-in-law and their kiddos joined us and the love of family and joy and laughter filled the room.  One of the employees saw all of us and asked, "Are you having a party? Looks fun!  I'll bring some snacks!"  And she did.  Before long, there were trays of coffee and hot chocolate, goldfish and granola bars, fruit snacks and chips.  We had a party with grandpa and it was a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.  He knew we were there.  He knew he was loved. Little did I know, those God whispers had gotten us there just in time... because everything was about to change.

The next day, we found Grandpa in a wheelchair outside his room.  Right away, I knew something was different.  His eyes had lost their sparkle and were fading off in the distance.  The color in his cheeks had turned somewhat pale.  He wasn't able to talk except one word at a time in a soft whisper.  The nurse told us we could wheel him anywhere we wanted, so we took him to the library.  There were games and puzzles to entertain the kids and we just held Grandpa's hand and talked to him. Every now and then, he would point at the kids and muster up every ounce of strength just to smile at them.  Finally, he just looked exhausted and whispered, "too far away" so we had someone help him get back into bed.  He immediately fell asleep and only woke up for a few minutes at a time the rest of the day. Before we left, we all prayed over him.  The six of us, along with Adam's mom and her brother, were able to hold hands all the way around his bed.  It was a beautiful moment, especially hearing the voice of our kids as they each prayed for grandpa.  That he would ask Jesus into his heart. That God would send angels to take care of him.  That he would have strength just a while longer so we could visit with him.  My heart.

We knew the next day would be our last because Adam had to go back to work.  That morning, we found grandpa in his bed sound asleep.  We took the kids to the library and spent our time building puzzles and playing apples to apples and chess and scrabble... meanwhile checking on grandpa every few minutes to see if he was awake.  He woke up for a few minutes when the nurses brought him lunch, only to take a few sips of juice and go back to sleep.  Finally, after spending most of the day there, we knew we had to go.  And we knew it would be the last time we saw him.  Trying to hold back tears, we said goodbye and I could see his eyes struggling to open.  We squeezed his hand and told him we loved him and I left the room so Adam could have some time alone with him.  He told him about God and how much He loves him.  That Jesus died on the cross for us and through this love, everything he has ever done can be forgiven.  That he can be in heaven forever and we will see him again.  Then he asked if he could pray for him and Grandpa slowly nodded yes.  

That was the last time we saw him.  We flew home and got a text that evening that Grandpa was worse, struggling for each breath.  As we prayed, I remember Casey saying, "God please send your biggest angel to Grandpa right now."  We found out that he took his last breath a few hours later.  

I'm so thankful we got to spend this week with Grandpa.  I'm so thankful the judge let Adam off of jury duty.  I'm so thankful my kids were on fall break.  I'm so thankful to God for His perfect timing. 

We love you Grandpa Kahn.  You will be SO missed.