Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Happy/Sad Occasion...

 On Nov. 5th, 2011 my grandpa, Joseph George passed away. What an amazing man he was! Poor grandpa had been fighting the affects of Parkinsons for the past couple of years. His main struggle was with eating and swallowing. My grandma did everything she could to try and make food that was easier for him to eat, but it was hard and embarrassing for him. He was getting very worn out from the affects. Fast forward to a few weeks before Nov. 5th when I received a phone call from my dad telling me that he was in the hospital in a lot of pain. He had a bowel obstruction and the doctors wanted to do surgery. Grandpa had another plan. All of his kids, my dad in particular, really tried to talk him into the surgery. Grandpa was convinced that he wouldn't make it through the surgery and he wanted to go home and pass when he was supposed to. This turned out to be a very neat experience for the whole family. My grandpa was able to have a conversation with almost every one of his 40+ (I think) grandchildren. I was able to fly home for about 24 hours to see grandpa. He was really weak, and struggling to talk. The poor man hadn't had food for over a week at this point, and was only given about 4cc's of water twice a day with some meds. Luckily he wasn't in any pain. We all knew he couldn't survive on so little for very long. My grandpa had me tell him about my little family and he asked if I had good memories of being with my George cousins when I was younger. Chris and Sadie had both had a very neat experience the weekend before and Sadie documented their conversation. I am going to copy what she wrote here. It is lengthy, but I want to remember it.

Hey Papa... Here is kind of a journal entry of our night with Grandpa. What an incredible spiritual experience... You are so strong papa. I can tell that this whole process has been somewhat of a spiritual experience for you as well. It was cool to see you re capture the stories with Grandpa. I never realized the relationship you two shared growing up, and I loved getting a feel for it. Thanks for being my leader dad and for being such a dominating example of Christ. You are your dads son.. and you can tell by the way you live your life through the Lord. Love you:) 
When we first walked into the room to see Grandpa, tears immediately started to flow. He looked so feeble and helpless..ready to pass any day.. but at the same time, he still had a sense of strength about him. We sat down next to him and he said the first thing he wanted to do was just 'take a look' at us. He studied our faces as if to lock them into his memory for safe keeping. He then asked Chris about everything he was doing in his life..about school, work and BYU football, and girls. He told Chris that he seemed pretty "particular" when it came to the ladies. He then wanted to know details of my life and specifically the names of the boys I had been going on dates with. He then began to tell of some of the girls he dated. He said that they would 'kiss a little and that was it' but that with one girl, something different happened. Grandpa and this particular girl were out (on a baseball field?) I think he said and they were doing a little bit of kissing, and she tried to take it too far. She grabbed Grandpa's hand and brought it up to her chest, but he refused and placed his hand back down. He then told her it was time to go and drove her home. He said there were several instances where he had to hold himself back in those situations. He related this to a lesson that "if you don't do something the first time, you won't be tempted to do it a second time or a third". He also related this guideline to his brother Reynold. Reynold had a mosquito bite near his eye or something and he would keep rubbing and itching it. Grandpa told Reynold that if he would have just resisted itching it the first time, then the second and third temptation would have been much easier to resist. After the third, the temptation wouldn't even be problem. Grandpa then pointed to me and Chris with surprising strength and said " So if you are tempted to do something for the first time, don't do it. Know that I am watching you and that I am your angel" :)  .... Grandpa also got on the subject of his parents. He asked Chris and I some trivia questions and wanted to know if we knew if his parents were members of the church or non-members. His mom was a less active member, and his dad was not a member. Grandpa did not grow up in the church but he told of the boys from his ward that would come each week and yell from his window "Hey Joey lets go to church!" and Grandpa would always reply with something like "Nah I am too tired" or some other excuse. Well the one day that Grandpa finally decided to go, he got all dressed and ready in his Sunday best and waited for the boys to come to surprise them. But they never did. He said that he was nearly in tears, went back to bed, and that if they would've come just one more week, Grandpa probably would've became active in the church at a younger age. He told of the time that he was 17 and he was in the kitchen while his dad a few of his dads friends were in the other room drinking liquor. They called Grandpa in and offered him a glass. Grandpa wanted to please his father so much, but he told him that he didn't want to drink it. His dad keep pushing him to do so, but Grandpa wouldn't bring the glass to his lips. He never took a drink and he remembers going in his room and crying because he knew he had disappointed his dad... Grandpa started to cry when he told this part of the story... I can't believe how far Grandpa has come! You never would guess he wasn't a member growing up because all my life I have known him as this spiritual giant who is so intune with God... After this Grandpa told stories of him and my dad. He told of the time he and my dad were driving in a blizzard down in Utah up and around point of the mountain. They saw this lady out of her car on the side of the road waving a white hanky of some sort and moments after they saw her a semi appeared on the road that had wrecked and was stretched out across the freeway on its side. Grandpa and my dad swerved and missed the semi truck, but others behind them were not so lucky. He also talked about hunting and how on one particular hunting trip, my dad had to keep pushing him up this hill. They had taken a short cut that ended up being not so short and had to do some intense climbing. Well after lots of pushing and words of determination, dad and Grandpa made it safely up the dad wouldn't let Grandpa quit. He also said that one time while hunting, they had to drag a doe a very long ways and they were exhausted. They ended up leaving the doe and coming to pick it up in the morning...but what was so special about this hunting trip was that the spirit confirmed to my Grandpa that my dad was going to get his life back on track and turn out ok. Supposedly my dad wasn't doing very good things in his life and when Grandpa told him about his spiritual experience, my dad thought he was crazy. But he was right:) My dad turned out more than ok and has been such a shining example of Christ. Grandpa lives through my dad..... Grandpa told the story of when the office burned back in the late 80's and how literally in minutes everything was consumed by flames. He and my dad tried to put the fire out, but the extinguisher had hardly any juice left and the smoke was so toxic. There was a moment where Grandpa didn't think he was going to make it out. They did however and he and my dad held each other for a long time. Grandpa started to cry while telling this story as well. Everything was burned except for a few records, and the proof of the fire still exists on the burnt edges of these files. You could tell that Grandpa and my dad had a pretty incredible relationship. They worked together in the dentist office for several was cool to hear my dad tell these stories with Grandpa and re-live some of his past. You can tell that he looks up to Grandpa in so many ways... I was surprised at how well Grandpa told all these stories. He hadn't eaten anything for days and was still laughing and showing that "wit" inside of him. Towards the end I grabbed his hand and he asked me to end with a prayer. Well.. I don't know how great of a prayer it was because I was crying my eyes out... but I got through it.. and the spirit was so strong in that small room. I then read Grandpa a letter I had written him telling him "thank you" for all he had done for me and that I was so blessed to call him my grandfather and friend. He has been such an incredible example and leader to me and I've been so blessed to have him live down the road. I took that blessing for granted growing up and so I wanted to tell him from the bottom of my heart how much I loved him and appreciated him. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have my amazing dad and who knows if I would've been raised in the gospel... my life would have been much different were it not for Grandpa. He has given all he has to the Lord and has a sincere love for the gospel... he is a shining example. Im so blessed to know that I can see my grandpa again after this life and that this is just the beginning... if I do all I can on this earth and in this life.. I can live with my family forever:) ... My grandpa has incredible strength and faith and I've never met a man more intune with the spirit. He obviously knows that it is his time to go... Before we said our final goodbye Grandpa had me kiss his fore head. Oh how I love you Grandpa and know that you will always be my angel watching over me. I LOVE YOU.

Sadie writes very well. Grandpa was ready to meet his Heavenly Father. His funeral was very nice with lots of good music. All the the grandchildren over the age of 16 sang How Firm a Foundation and it really sounded amazing. My dad's whole family is very musical so luckily it passed down to most all of the grandkids. The spirit was strong! Grandpa was definitely smiling down on all of us. He lived a full life. He was a great example. 

The following is a sketch that my brother Chris did. He is really talented, and this just really depicts grandpa very well. Way to go Chris! :)