Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Day at a Time

That's my Grandpa; front page of yesterday's Albuquerque Journal.

He passed away almost two weeks ago, a day before my Birthday.
On Saturday, Matt and I drove to Alamogordo to celebrate his life along with my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and what seemed like half the town of Alamogordo. 

It was a long and rather emotionally exhausting day but it was also good. It was good to gather as a family (my brother and his wife who are expecting a baby any day now, were the only ones who couldn't make it) and to remember and celebrate the life of my Grandpa.

He fought cancer off and on for 16 years. During that time, he and my Grandma passed out "One Day at a Time" pins to others fighting cancer, in need or just having a bad day. It became their ministry and the way he lived his life; one day at a time. At the funeral on Saturday, you could see people wearing those pins along with little red apple pins, in rememberance of the "Apple Picker."

My Grandpa was very involved in New Mexico politics for several years before I came along and although I don't know all of the details, he did some great things for the State of New Mexico. Articles written in several newspapers after his death list a number of his accomplishments. The visitors center in Alamogordo is named after him and I learned on Saturday, that he was given the highest honor of Citizen of the Year by the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce.

 He was a great man, he did a lot of great things and on Saturday, the church was filled with people who's lives he'd touched.

But the lives that were probably affected the most by his life and now his passing were those of his children and especially his 7 grandchildren. I was blessed and am so proud to be one of those grandchildren. He was a great Grandpa and very involved in our lives. I have a ton of great memories of him; too many to list. He was stern and sometimes grumpy, but there was never any doubt how much he loved and cared for us.

My more recent memories of him are shared with Matt. He treated my husband like one of his own and played a large role in his admittance into law school. We always laugh when we look back on Matt's first time meeting him. Matt wore his favorite pair of bleached, holy Hollister jeans. I thought that he looked pretty good in them with his bleached blond hair, necklace and ear ring. Apparently, my Grandpa didn't think so and we heard about it for years to come. "And make sure you don't wear those damned holy jeans!"

Before he got really sick, he travelled to Albuquerque a few times and Matt and I would meet him and a friend for dinner at Mimmy's Cafe. Those were the longest dinners, seriously, I think we were there for 3 hours one time, but I know now what special times those were! He would tell story, after story and half of them we didn't understand but he was always smiling as he told them. He would ask me about work and Matt about school and we would always have dessert. My grandpa was big on dessert, especially ice cream.

After reading the article in yesterday's paper, several people approached Matt at work to offer their condolescences to him and my family. One person, commented about him being like a Grandpa to Matt too and that's very true. He was a great Grandpa to both of us and we were both sad to see him go.

The last two weeks have been kind of hard; harder than I expected them to be. I've set down several times to write this post, since blogging is kind of a way for me to process things, but it's been hard to wrap my mind around my emotions. I'm so thankful for him and his life and all the things he's done for me and my family. I'm also sad in almost a little kid kind of way that I can't explain.

But God is good.
My Grandpa loved the Lord and he uses situations like this to help us grow individually and as a family. I'm hoping to share the ways that Matt and I have grown over these weeks and the things we've learned soon. Until then, we'll keep pushing forward, one day at a time.

This one is my favorite; my cousin Jamie and I on Grandpa's lap

My Grandma and Grandpa, celebrating 50 years of marriage in Hawaii. They were married for 57 years when he passed away. 

1 comment:

Jessica Baca said...

Sweet, sweet post, Katie. I'm glad most of your family got to be together to celebrate him. :)

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