Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Grandpa Beachy

As I sit here at my computer, I have a heavy heart. My Grandpa Beachy passed away this afternoon - well actually, yesterday afternoon since it is already early Wednesday morning.

My Grandpa was the final living grandparent that I had. He has been living in a nursing home for I think 2 years now. Up until not quite 2 weeks ago, he was living in a somewhat independent room in the nursing home. He could come and go as he pleased, drive his car when needed (even if his kids thought his license should be retired) walk himself to the dining room for meals, etc. Even though he was 92 years old, he has been in pretty good health. This summer, however, his health has been declining. On July 25th he was moved to the skilled nursing area of the home. So he gave up a lot of his independence for more nursing staff and supervision. He went to the hospital on Sunday afternoon, and that is where he passed away.

As I grieve for Grandpa, I can't help but think that I'm not only grieving for him, but for the loss of his generation in my family. I have been blessed with being able to know all 4 of my grandparents. They were all at my high school graduation, all but my Grandpa Litwiller were able to attend my wedding, and both Beachy grandparents met and loved Meredith. But I now feel bereft without that older and wiser generation of grandparents.

There are so many memories that I have with are just a few...
- Countless winter vacations in Sarasota: the 2 most "famous" memories are from a trip when I was Meredith's age. Grandpa was going to the "loafing bench", (the loafing bench was the local hangout for the retired men to sit and watch the world go by) and he told me to tell Grandma where he went. When Grandma asked me, I told her that he went to the place where they make bread. On the same trip, Grandpa asked me why he couldn't wear a pretty sundress like I had. My reason: Because grandpa didn't have any hair! Later on I remember lots of time spent at the shuffleboard with Grandpa and Grandma, breakfast at Der Dutchman, and lots and lots of card games.

- Countless summer Sunday evenings spent in Kalona - we'd be at either Grandpa Litwiller's or Grandpa Beachy's, and then would run through the back yards and across 2 streets to go to the other Grandparents house. (We would do the same thing in Florida too - since they lived close there also.)

- There was always something special about being able to watch a ballgame with Grandpa in the basement of their Kalona house.

- Whenever you would visit them in Kalona, chances are you would find Grandpa in his den watching sports.

- Getting Grandpa to talk about how things used to be, or tell us stories from his life.

- Seeing Grandpa hold Jesse as a baby, and more recently, chuckle at something Jesse or Meredith said or did. Jesse obviously won't remember his Great-Grandpa, and I don't know if Meredith will or not. But I will remember and cherish those times.

Those are just a few of the many memories. I'm posting some pictures of Grandpa and Meredith. Last Wednesday we visited him in the home and my mom got some really good pictures of the kids and Grandpa and I. I'll post those as soon as I get them from her.

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