Monday, August 27, 2007

My Grandpa and Granda Astle

So yesterday I got an email from my Mom telling me my Grandpa had died. I know that sounds funny, that I read it in an email. But that is how I found out.


My Grandpa had been suffering from Alzheimers and he had gone down hill really fast. When I lived with my Parents last summer while waiting to give birth to Ian, I couldn't believe the difference in my Grandparents. For the first time in my life, I thought they were "old". They were fragile. They couldn't remember things. And do I dare say here for the world to see, that they stunk? Oh it is true. They smelled.

While living with my parents last summer, My Grandpa got in a car accident. And that car accident marked really the end for my Grandparents. Not really, but that is when I personally noticed things changing. But remember, I wasn't living near them until then.

My Grandma was suffering from Breast Cancer. And the car accident was the day before she was supposed to have surgery. (I could be getting some of the dates wrong, but the story is pretty much the same). So Grandma had surgery the next day and then never came home again. She spent the next several months in a hospital. And a month after I moved here to Germany, she had passed on. (October 2006) She was surrounded by family. Her Kids, My Grandpa, Grandchildren and even Great Grandchildren. Everyone was there who could be. And they all sang to her and that is when she passed on. From what I heard (as I was not there), it was very moving and then the Grandchildren sang that exact song at her funeral.

Now Grandpa got put in the hospital while I was living in Utah this summer. He had some infections that I remember hearing they thought was the result of that car accident I spoke of. His body got weak. He couldn't get out of a chair anymore. He ended up getting admitted to the same hospital as my Grandma. He also never went home again. After being released from the Hospital, he had to in an Assited Living Center or something similar. It is pretty sad I don't remember all the details.

The last time I saw either one of them was the weekend before I moved here to Germany. I took my kids, including my brand new baby, to the hospital so my Grandparents could see my kids and so my kids could one last time see their Great Grandparents. I knew while I was there, observing my Grandparents, that this would be the last time my kids and I would see them. I am glad I took that little bit of time to go and visit them before I moved.

I need to add that my mom has spent almost every day with my Grandma and Grandpa since the car accident back in the Summer of 2006. My mom retired in January of 2007 and instead of working, spent her days sitting with my Grandpa. And I know that all my Aunts and Uncles spent many hours with my Grandpa and Grandma. My mom and Dad were not the only ones. My Mom still took vacations. But she called everyday so Grandpa would know she did not forget about him. I am happy that my mom can finally get back to living her own life.

Grandpa was living in an Assisted Living type center. It is where it is locked down at night so he couldn't wander out. He had done this at a previous place and got kicked out because he needed more supervision. Anyway, he was living in a place where they do rounds every two hours to check on the people living there. He was still alive at the 1am rounds. But at the 3am rounds, he was no longer breathing. He died in his sleep.

And this is why I found out in an email about my Grandpa. My mom was up. Of course could not sleep. And yet it was way too early for her to call anyone in America. But she knew she could email me. She would of eventually called me. But she knew I was at church and I think she just needed a way to tell someone. of course, when I read the email, I called her immediately.

I think the hardest part for me right now, is the fact that I am going to miss the funeral. Somehow when I missed my Grandma's funeral, it wasn't so bad for me. I knew I had just gotten here. But now it has been almost a year. And it saddens me greatly. For the first time in a very long time, I ache to be home.

When I think about my Grandparents, I remember the times when I was younger. Spending time at their house in California. The twirly chair, the good cereals, playing card games, their jacuzzi, Christmas, Legos, Grandpa playing the guitar, ect

And then as I got older, there were things like: Grandpa had to buy a new car because his old car needed new tires, big family (aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone!) trips to Bear Lake and The Beach in California ect.

And of course, I will remember his alzheimer days since I was there during a part of it. I will remember him getting lost and walking around Salt Lake City for hours looking for the Hospital Grandma was in. I will remember him needing to write some checks to buy the hospital. His hands being tied down at the hopsital from him taking his I.V. out. And him continually asking everyone to untie them. And all of our responses were, we don't know how. We are not a nurse.

Everyday I lived in Utah, there were always some funny stories I would hear when my parents came back from the hospital. They were funny, but they were also sad because they were true stories. Sad to think that someone you love so much is not how you remember them.

If you knew them, I would LOVE to hear what you remember about them. What are some of your favorite memories? Perhaps all the cousins could pass this link to other cousins. I would love to hear what everyone has to say. It would make a FABULOUS scrapbook page as a tribute to them.

I am happy that my Grandma and Grandpa are together again.


Grandma and Grandpa Astle: Sometime in 1990's


Grandpa and Grandma Astle: September 2006

7 comments:

The Petrini Post said...

So sweet Tammy! I miss them so much, and all the good times. Yes, i remember the Lake Powell Sabbeth breakers and that he insisted we have our own sacrament. I loved all the family vacations and getting together for everyone birthdays at least 2-3 times a month it seemed. I don't ever remember grandpa playing the guitar, that must be from the old days. :) Anyway, thanks for the post, and we will miss you and everyone else that is not able to make it. I promise to take pictures and post them.

Briteeyes said...

Tammy, Grandpa Astle is the only person I ever had the chance of calling Grandpa, as my maternal grandfather died when I was three months old and my paternal grandfather was out of the picture. I love this man so much. He welcomed me and my two children into his family, no questions, no worries, I am married to Todd and that was all that mattered to him, to him I was family! We will miss you at the funeral, let me know if I can send you anything, program, flower, anything at all, I will send it. I too am grateful that he and Grandma are together again!!!!

Harwood Family said...

Tami, I read your blog at 4am this morning and that was the first time it really hit that he was gone. I had a good cry. So thank you for that. It took me all day to be able to add a message to my blog. I won't repeat everything in your comments, but if you want to check mine out I added some things that I remembered about Grandma & Grandpa. Sorry you won't be at the funeral. You will be missed.

Kimberly said...

We will miss seeing you. You post got me thinking and I wrote a few paragraphs in my journal about my memories. When I think of Grandpa, I randomly think of California, the beach, kissing him in the neck, eating his Captain Crunch, having sleep-overs with the cousins, playing mahjong, and camping at dead horse point.

The Moo said...

Tammy,
While I didn't know your grandparents it's obvious from your post that they were very special people.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Jeannie (greatmommoo) from Scrapfreak

Eric, Angela, Aaron, and Sugar said...

Tammy, Thank you for your blog. I really enjoyed reading it. It definitely helped me remember more memories. My Mom was at my house in Las Vegas when she got the call that Grandpa had passed away and she came knocking at my door at 4:00 in the morning to tell me. I couldn't go back to sleep after that because I was thinking of him and how happy I was that he was finally with grandma again. That Sunday afternoon Eric gave Aaron a blessing. With my mom by my side, I could feel him watching. We love Grandma and Grandpa Astle and we will miss them greatly. -Angela

Jo Anne said...

Tamara, thanks so much for sharing your grandparents through your blog! The sound like wonderful people - I think you must take after them! God Bless You!

March 2007