In the early morning hours today, my grandpa Herman passed on from this earthly existence to return home to a realm he knew long before he was born. Grandpa turned 88 this past February and has been struggling physically and mentally for quite some time. His once strong and square Zobrist frame grew weak and feeble with age. I know that he was weary of the life he was having to live. I know he was ready to move on. I know it is a blessing that he was able to go. But regardless of what I know, I still have regrets that grandpa is gone because it has been a long time since I've seen him. I felt similar regret when Brad's Grandma Grace died earlier this summer. It seems that I all-too-often allow myself to fall victim to the day-to-day busyness of life and the lack of time to do all that is needed each day. I do regret that I did not tell my grandpa goodbye. I know he will forgive me - I hope he knows I'm sorry.
When I was a little girl, my grandpa of stern, strong Swiss heritage, was not what you would call a warm, loving, or tender grandpa. During my childhood, grandpa did not have much affection for little kids. Thankfully, he at least tolerated us, and consequently, I have many memories of gathering with my aunts, uncles, and cousins at his and grandma's home for countless Thanksgiving dinners and summer swims in their pool. For the most part, grandpa just stayed out of the way, and was always happy to give us a hug and a kiss when we went home. As I think about grandpa, I think of all the things I remember that formed my impressions of who he was. To me, grandpa was a -
- driver of Lincoln Town cars
- owner of Hostess & Wonder Bread (in reality he and his brothers owned the distribution company for these products in Las Vegas only, but to me, grandpa owned Wonder Bread & Hostess).
- reader of Louis L'Amour novels
- jeweler who collected polished stones and rocks and made big gold rings with them.
- temple server - dedicating many hours of service in both the St. George and Las Vegas temples
- user of curse words - saying things like "sam hell" (as in "what in the sam hell is she thinking?") along with a few other words I won't repeat. Grandma always got after him for saying such words in front of the grandkids. I wonder if he ever said "sam hell" in the temple?
- connoisseur of strange meat - He ate all the inside parts and left over parts of animals that make most people gag. I remember being intrigued and grossed-out, at the same time, by what was in their refrigerator. Once my siblings & I were staying at grandma & grandpas while my mom was having a baby. They fed us ox tails for dinner & told us they were ribs. I remember thinking that those were the strangest tasting ribs I had ever had.
- proud son and grandfather - proud of his parents, his Swiss heritage, and his posterity.
- TV watcher - grandpa was an avid TV fan. I don't remember a time that I went to see him as a kid when he wasn't in front of the TV. He was all about TV, which I think began when my dad was a kid. My dad tells me their family was the first one on their block to get a TV. I know that grandpa continued to be the "first" when it came to TV - the first to get a remote (I remember this archaic remote he had that had about 2 buttons on it) and the first to get a beta max recorder - which he obviously had to then go out & replace with a VHS recorder.
- recorder of nature programs that he would send home for us to watch - which we never did.
- lounger - I think grandpa must have liked hanging out in his underwear, because just about every time we went to visit on a Sunday afternoon, grandma would say, "come in, but wait right here until I get grandpa his pants."
- world traveler and memorabilia collector
- photographer of flowers and scenery taken on his world traveling adventure (I mean hundreds of photos of flowers and scenery from each trip!)
- wannabe Hawaiian - spending months out of every year in his condo on the Big Island.
- deep sea fisherman - a marlin he had caught hung over his couch for years
And now, my grandpa can say "that's all," for his life on earth, and I can say "goodbye" for a time. I absolutely know I will see him again. Our beings are eternal, there is just no way they are not. It is part of who I am to know this truth. So, knowing what I know, I can't help but wonder what grandpa is doing today. I hope he is learning how to be nice to my grandma, and I hope he is realizing how blessed he was to marry her. I hope he is having a joyous reunion with his mom & dad and his sister and brother. I hope that he says hi to grandma K and grandma Grace and granddaddy Cornell. I hope my family and Brad's are connected, not just in this life, but in our "real" life, our eternal life. I am overwhelming thankful for Heavenly Father's plan for His children. "God be with us till we meet again."