Tuesday, March 22, 2011

more than ever


Life is fragile.
I remember when I was a little girl and my grandpa was a hero to me. I'd brag to my friends about how he sings like Frank Sinatra. Laughed every single time he opened the door and it hit his head (but really hit his foot below.) Still scared of opening the hall closet and seeing his Frankenstein halloween mask. Loved staying with them every summer even when I was supposed to eat my spaghetti by twirling noodles with a fork and spoon.
He's been fighting and conquering a long battle against cantankerous cancer... with his sweetheart of 56 years by his side.
He is still my hero. More than ever actually.


I took a last minute trip to go see him over the weekend in San Diego. We watched old movies, looked at his March Madness brackets, listened to old stories, gazed at the brightest moon while Grandpa sang, took lots of photos & gushed over baby Lola.
Here are some of my favorite photos from my trip.




It's heart wrenching to think that could be the last time I see him. Even typing those words hurts. But I don't think it is. I don't think this was goodbye.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

You brought tears to my eyes and reminded me how important it is to not only take photos of the every day around my home, but also the homes of the people I love.

Thank you,
KellyB

Carrie Rosalind said...

What wonderful pictures. Glad to see you had a good time!

Carol said...

AMAZING! Love the pictures and so happy that you get to see him when you can, you are right, Life is fragile! TFS

amytangerine said...

these photos are gorgeous. you have me teary-eyed missing my grandfather. xo!

Julie said...

Love the last photo of you and your Grandpa! He reminds me of my Gramps! We lost him to skin cancer 2 summers ago and this brought back some wonderful memories of how much I loved and miss mine! Thanks for the memories. :)

Hold them tight!!

Larissa Wunder said...

the last picture made me tear up. I miss my grandpa!

Katie said...

Oh...Lizzy!
I love it! My daddy wore aramis and had the exact same pocket change holder!! I love these pictures and I hope you enjoyed this weekend! I am sure it was good for him also!!! Sixty five years with the same sweetheart!! Beautiful.
Katie

destiny said...

Lovely everyday photos of things you will want to remember!! Seeing this made a lump in my throat! How my heart aches for a grandpa!! I'm blessed to have 2 sweet 90 year old grandmothers but there is something about a grandpa!! So happy that you were able to see him!

Sheila said...

Glad you took the time and the baby. I'm sure it was a wonderful weekend for you all.

I have a photo similar to your last picture. It's me and my Daddy the last Christmas he was alive.
We knew it was going to be the last one. He is looking directly into the camera and I have the same hold and expression on my face as you do. Just taking it all in, the feel,smell and love of him.
I think his smile was of love and satisfaction in a life well lived and a family he loved to carry him on. Eight years later he has a great grandson that bears his name. He knew he would, since my daughter asked his permission to name a child after him if she were lucky enough to have one. That's him in my profile picture. I call him "darling", just like my Daddy called me every day of my life.
Hugs to you Lizzy and your tender heart. You and your Grandpa are darling indeed.

Renee Zwirek said...

Beautiful photos and beautiful post. He is such a courageous guy...what a fighter! I wish you all great health and happiness. Life is fragile. I miss J. I told him I'll be waiting for the butterflies. :)

emily said...

words can't express how much i love this post. i miss my grandpa so bad, since moving away from KS. can't wait to see him in june!
love your photos.

Sara Ancich said...

Im not a cry-er.

This made me cry.

How lucky are we to have grandparents in our lives?

And our memories.

Alice said...

Thanks for sharing Liz. Thank you for showing how important to share every waking moment with the people we love, even if it means to travel that distance. Really got a hold of me.

Erin said...

Just beautiful, Liz! I have tears in my eyes remembering my sweet grandpa that I lost 10 yrs ago. You will always treasure this visit.

Julie said...

Aren't Grandpa's the best? It's funny the things that stay with you - I still can't walk by the guy who works in the deli isle at my grocery store because his whistling reminds me of mine and brings tears to my eyes.

maggie (the midwestern sewing (& more) girl) said...

beautiful, beautiful photos...thank you for sharing them...

pakosta said...

I hope your grandpa fights and WINS this battle. He sure seems like such a sweet sweet man, God Bless him...and give him a big hug and prayers from this blog reader.....
these photos are PRICELESS!

tara

pakosta said...

p.s. can I just say 65 years , that's amazing and inspirational! love that!
MY parents are on their 53rd this year! that's the stuff that life is made of, and so awesome to hear about. tell your grandparents they are inspiring!
tara

em-il-ie said...

WOW...what gorgeous photos. This post is amazing and touching. Thanks for sharing.

Adventures of an Aquagirl said...

Great post today...my Grampa is also fighting cancer...I can't even imagine what my world would be like without him by my side. We've been a team ever since I was born. Let's hope that both our Grampas win the battle!

Jenna Ruth said...

Lovely photos! The everyday moments are the most important. The pictures reminded me of my Grandpa's house. Thanks for sharing :)

tattiebogle said...

Lovely - i was not lucky to have a grandpa or grandma in my life

lauren said...

there is nothing in the world like our grandparents.
nothing.
*

Johansen Family said...

What sweet photos! I love the one of your grandpa brushing his hair. I wish I had some pictures like these of my grandpa to look at and remember him.

RobinG said...

Liz what great memories you made that will last forever in your heart, so happy he got to meet Lola. And I truly feel your pain, your fear...I am going thru same thing with my mom, she got diagnosed with leukemia in Oct. shes putting up a good battle but had to move out of our family home due to health issues, now she lives 3 hours away & I am unable to see her often...I fear of the call that will come one day....big hugs Liz

Ellie A. said...

This post touched me SO SO MUCH.. as my granddaddy just passed this last Saturday as he lost his battle to Lung Cancer. I did get the chance 2 weeks before to go see him in the hospital before they sent him home w/hospice. I didn't think he would recognize me but I was blessed that for a few minutes he looked at me and did & asked me to give him a hug and a kiss and he gave those right back to me. I felt so blessed that I was able to tell him that I loved him. His funeral is Thursday and I'm still numb in a way. I sit and remember how funny he is and how I KNOW I have my sense of humor from him and how handsome he was as I looked through the pictures of his youth that were shared as we all gathered. Thank you for sharing with us. Know that I am sending BIG hugs to you darling.

taniawillis said...

this post made me cry....that's exactly how i feel every time i spend time with my grandma. :( she turned 80 last july.

EWhyley said...

Beautiful... touching.. special. LOVE the candid photos especially the change dish! There is a real look of Quincy in the photo of your Grampa coming his hair.. sweet!

Happy memories for you
x

Kristie said...

Good grief! This sure made me cry. He looks fabulous though~ surely it wasn't goodbye.

Amy said...

Dear Lizzy,
Because of you; many many grandparents, children, spouses, friends and family are all getting extra love and care today! It is the small things in life that matter and I love how you display that through your blog! The photos in this post might be my favorite. I want to run over to my grandpa's right now and take photos of his house and his CUB baseball parking sign hanging in his living room...all simple reminders!! Thank you!! Thank you!! xo

Candace said...

Grandpas are the best <3

Laura Beth said...

You are one of the most beautiful and talented people! What a beautiful blog post! I definitely wish I could have done the same before my grandparents passed on but I was so young!

Veronica said...

WoW! SOOOOOO glad he got to spend time with those "cheeks!" LOL Prayers for you and your family and the wonderful, beautiful, Blessed life he is living!!!
BTW: Aramis is one of my most FAVE scents and my grandpa used to wear it!!

Laurie said...

ok, I am crying and miss my grampa...I hope your grampa recovers, he looks like a gem, married 56 years...he must be quite the catch. He'll be in my prayers, lovely photos of everyday life. love it!

melissa said...

what a touching post!
hugs & prayers to your grandpa

vicki Boutin said...

So glad you were able to make some new memories with your grandpa this weekend. Hugs to you.

Altaira said...

i just got to see my grandpa this past week - we met in flagstaff while i was on my way to San Diego to see my dad (to think you may have been right down the road and we may have passed eachother!) - my grandpa just had his hip replaced and a second surgery on his spine. but he got to meet his newest great-granddaughter, our baby Roreigh. i know it meant the world to him and me that they got to meet.
and it is absolutely the worst feeling to think that may be the last time we will see him. hugs xoxo

kathyjopotthast6 said...

Liz, the pictures and your words were moving. He truly is an amazing Man. I love him, too. I am happy he has been here so ;long with this illness that takes so many in suxch a short time. God has given him a lot of extra time. The relationship between Charlotte and him is amazing. I got to spend time with them bot last month. I am so glad you did this trip and this blog. Love you...Kathy

Camille said...

This is such a special post! I love my grandparents more than any words can describe... I try not to think of the days when they won't be with me, but I know I will always have such wonderful memories :)

Anonymous said...

How wonderful that you have these wonderful memories! I didn't have the opportunity to meet any of my Grandparents because they had all died before I was born (I am the baby of 11 children - currently 42yrs old).

You are very blessed. Soak in as much as you can.

Sending prayers for your Grandpa...

Michelle (from KY) said...

WOW, you have no idea how much I needed to read this today. My sweet Grandpa passed this morning and I have been so sad all day. I was reading thru blogs to take my mind off of it and....just thanks. I adored him and loved hearing about yours. Take care!

Lauren said...

wonderful post! Thanks for the smiles!

Lisa V. said...

:::Big squishy hug to you::: Thanks for sharing your memories. It's funny, I have such similar ones. My grandpa's cup of morning coffee, him combing his hair, scaring us one night by walking into our room with his teeth out and my grandma's wig on his head. Glad you were able to spend some quality time with him, I bet it really lifted his spirits!

Katie's Nesting Spot said...

What a beautiful and moving post for your Grandpa. I know the thought of loosing him is heart wrenching but be joyous that you had a chance to see him knowing it could be the last. It's the unexpected goodbyes that are especially tough. I lost my beloved Grandma last year, and being able to say goodbye meant all the world to me.

Mandi @ Finding Home said...

This post really touched my heart. What a special man your grandpa is. I'm so glad that he is embracing life. Cherish those sweet memories.

Aimee said...

You comments and photos brought tears to my eyes. I remember making the same trip to see my Grandpa 4 years ago. Even though we talked and emailed often, it was the last time I saw him. He would have been 92 last week and has, more than usual, been on my heart and in my thoughts lately. Cherish these moments and create memories to remember them always. I'm glad I did.

tccba said...

I love the details you captured. I'll keep you all in my prayers.
Christine

Charin said...

What beautiful pictures!! You will cherish those...I wish I had pictures like that from my Mamaw and Papaw's house. Precious memories. So glad you went and got to hug him!
Charin

Lisa G. said...

Aren't Grandpa's the bestest! :)

Neicee said...

You did good.

kyle said...

your Grandpa is a doll! I'm so glad you got to see him and show off little Lola. I bet he loved her. I remember my last hug with my Mom. I swear I just "knew" it was my last hug too. So I bet your gut is right and this won't be your last hug. I'll say a prayer for your Grandpa tonight Lizzy. Take Care. I live right up the road from San Diego in Temecula. If you ever teach in this area again I'd love to come and meet you.

Trisha Carrillo said...

The photos and journaling were heartwarming and vulnerable, thank you for sharing that with us readers. I can't help but think about my late grandpa who I miss very much and lost to Alzheimers. I wish I could go back and time just to give him ONE more hug. You're luck yours is still present mentally. Prayers for you and your family!<3

dmoraima said...

OMG!!! I love this picture and its so charming...good bless you girl and all your family...

Heather N said...

Your post made me very teary. I love, love, love my family and you can tell through the wonderful words and photos how much you love yours as well.

My grandparents have been gone for some time now and I still miss them every single day. A song, a scent, a phrase will remind me of them and I will laugh and cry at the same time. It is so bittersweet.

Jamie said...

Thanks for sharing with us. This reminds me when my grandmother was ill, Jillian was just 5 months old and we drove from Alabama to Kansas so we could spend one last week with her and she could meet her first great-grandchild. Grandparents as so special!

Coffee Please!?! said...

Hold on to him with all you've got. I lost one grandpa when i was 9 mos pregnant with my first son. And my dad when my oldest two were 4. Sadness envelops me when I think of the fun times I had with my grandpas when I was young and my kidlets won't get that ... my FIL has passed too, before they were even born. Thoughts, prayers and strength to you and your family.
xoxo

Noelle Reese said...

Thank you so much for sharing him with us! He looks like the greatest Grandpa ever! :)

Tracy said...

sweetest.post.EVER.

hairbystacie said...

great pictures with your grandpa. My grandpa passed away in July. Still miss him every single day.

patty said...

P*R*E*C*I*O*U*S...
truly precious.

thank you for sharing "grandpa" with us...
xoxo

Anonymous said...

sending you prayers and much luv - donna tullis

Lisa Lew said...

Beautiful post.

Stay Funny said...

Love the pictures you were able to take with him especially the one with his watch. I lost my grand father last summer and ohhh so wish I could have had special moments and memories like you just got, verry happy for you. Big hugs to you!

Marc said...

I loved my grandfather so much too! He was the most lovingly sweet man. I miss him. (crying now)

I see so much of your grandpa in you!

Gina said...

I've got tears running down my cheeks right now...thank for sharing this reminder to treasure and capture those precious people our lives!

Steve and Erin Larsen said...

What a wonderful thing that you were able to go spend quality time with him. This made me cry because both of my grandfathers have already passed away and I never took the time to really say my goodbyes to either one of them. Grandpa's truly are amazing. I hope this was not your last goodbye, but if it was... what a blessing that you had that time with him.

Alyjean said...

my grandpa just passed a few weeks ago after a long and hard battle with prostate cancer. these photos that you have of your grandfather, his things and the life he is leading right now are such treasures. my prayers go out to you and him.

Lyri said...

Never think about that it could be the last time, just spend as much time as you can with the persons you love.. I really really wish my dad could be still with us to see his little grandchild growing up. But he'll never see him again..

But in my heart I know, he's all around us, being with us ev'ry second of our life.

Liz said...

you look like a little girl in his arms again with that warm-hearted smile!!
your family is precious, love all the pics that your share.
and i love your words too, you write well. the feeling...it shows.
thanks for sharing liz.

my pop-pop passed way too young, in his 60's to prostate cancer.
my fav memory was when we would drive around their small town when i visited, he would beep the horn and wave out the window. i would look frantically to see who he was waving to (although it was no one)... he would go on and on "didn't you see them, saying hello? waving?" it would crack me up every time!:)

Renee77 said...

My Beloved Papa passed away 4 years ago. Life is not the same but I feel so grateful for the time I got to spend with him. And most of all the love we shared. Cherish every moment you took some great memory shots of your Dear Grandfather some I don't have and I wish I did. I do have cherished video of his last days. I wish your heart lots of love.

kelsterjean said...

Lizzy,

This reminds me so much of my experience with my grandparents. They are, essentially, my parents and have always been there. Just the soft Grandma skin and the wise cracks of my Grandfather make me smile. I love them both very dearly, but like my Grandpa told me "if you remember the person and the memories of them, they are never truly gone."

Kelly

Beth said...

This post made me tear up a little. I miss my grandfather so much and I'm afraid of how little time I have left with my grandmother.

Grandparents are the best.

Kimber and Casey said...

this is such a tender post with such beautiful pictures.

clouds shadler said...

Sounds like yer grandpa is a wonderful person ... reading yer post made me think of my grandma, we were so close, and then i moved to the US to start a new life, then she passed away of old age, but ya know, I'm happy still, i tried not to think of her dead, but alive in the memories i have of her, and how grateful i am that SHE was my grandma, her hugs, her soft hands, it's great, she lived a great life, it's grandma :)

Yes, spending time with loved ones is always great ...

HUGS,
C :)

Pam's Place said...

Hold on tight to your Gramps!
Mine passed away two years ago and your post makes me miss him, but remember the fun I had with him at the same time. Love your pictures of him!

Danell H. said...

That is such a sweet post. My grandma passed away last month so I know how important spending time with them is! So neat you could capture your grandpa's everyday in photos. I just love it. Thanks for sharing.

MamaBirdy said...

Beautiful post!
What a wonderful idea to capture all those little things that remind you of someone you love.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Mark and Michal said...

What timing this was for me- my work colleague recently lost a friend to heart failure- she spent the weekend reading his love letters to his girfriend, realising this man had so much life to offer through words. I went home that night and wrote in my journal, something I intend to keep up going forward. I began to write about my dearly family - I kept thinking how far I away am (London) from my grandmother who is in Utah, how much she has taught me, and how I fear I may not see her again. And then I got an email alert about your blog and read your lovely entry about your grandfather. The way you captured his daily routine is so moving, so powerful, so special. Thank you for sharing this intimate moment. You have really touched my soul deep down.

zusterglimlach said...

What great pictures! It is so good you made them. My brother passed away last year and he never wanted his picture taken and I now am sad I have so little pictures of him. It is strange how fast you forget the little things that make a person special and in your pictures you captured the special things (I think) that make your grandpa your grandpa. Thank you so much for sharing this!

alicia king said...

love them all, you will cherish those moments forever!

suzyplant said...

Oh Liz!!! These pictures are so precious! I love that last one. I love the way you captured little bits of his life. So sweet! so glad you got to spend time with him. Life is truly a gift. xo

Amy said...

i am so happy for you - that you were able to go visit and have these wonderful memories captured in your heart & on a memory stick!! i lost my grandpa a couple years ago to alzheimers. he was doing "okay" on his birthday so i made sure to see him with my kids & of course i brought my camera.i took as many pictures as possible (without seeming to be his own paparazzi, of course) it was about two weeks after his birthday that things went downhill very quickly. i cherish those pictures and that day we spent with him. lots of hugs to you.

Shelley said...

sister...you made me fall in love with your grandpa and I dont even know him. i have a super soft spot for old men..i am a daddy's girl. thank you for sharing such sweet pictures from your heart.

JulieinOz said...

Hi Lizzy, Your post about your Grandpa made me want/need to reply. Have you seen Philip Toledano's blog and book "Days with my Father"? I read the blog and bought the book (difficult in Australia...had to harrass a book store owner to order it in for me) My father (82 and single)has always stubbornly lived independantly interstate in Queensland and his ageing has always worried me because we were missing out on his 'Autumn' years. Just a month ago his increasing dementia saw us have drive up from NSW and admit him to a Aged Care Centre. It was heartbreaking to pack up his life and 'sort it out'. So...keeping Phillips book in mind I asked my husband to 'click away...just keep clicking'. And I got some random photos...which I'm grateful for. Now the time has passed for any photos I might have wanted...I now have to settle for the photos I am lucky to get. So because I know better...I feel I must say to everyone...please make an effort to get more photos with your ageing grandparents in their everyday lives...all the not-so-great ordinary photos will one day be a part of a great family memory book. Your photo with his your Grandpas watch was what really moved me. I am now planning a quick trip up to Queensland to see Dad and once again get my husband to 'click away...just keep clicking'...Love your blog Lizzy...I first heard about you when you won Scrapper of the year and have been reading ever since...love your's and Collins story telling...you are appreciated even way over here in Australia...come over and visit us sometime...we have soooo much to show you.

xoelizabethlou said...

I am new to your blog, omgoodness, this makes me cry. You look so happy with your grandpa.

LaceyA said...

Hi Liz- I actually lost my grandpa this past weekend to lung cancer- a diagnose just made a month ago and how fast it went. They say he had it for the past 2 yrs and didn't know it. It was gut wrenching to see him laying there struggling to breathe, and I didn't make it in time to actually talk to him while he was awake. It changed so dramatically within 24 hours, and when I got there, he was already being cared for by hospice and my mom and aunt. They say hearing is the last to go, so I am hoping he knew I was there. Within 12 to 13 hrs after arriving there, he was gone. I just wanted to say that I am happy that you got to spend some time with your Gpa before his time. I learned to never take time and loved ones for granted. Thank you for sharing this story :)

Kim Woods said...

My heart aches for you because I know that feeling all too well. When my dad was in his last weeks of life every time I left I didn't know if it was the last. I will say, the last visit was awesome, he was alert and happy to see the grandkids. He totally rallied for that last visit and was gone in just a few days.

Your grandpa looks like he has a lot of fight left in him! He really does look good and is totally glowing in the pictures you took of him. I know your visit must have absolutely made him so happy. Your sweet family is such a gift to him and grandma. I am praying for him.

christy said...

Wow...now I am crying and really wanting to take some pictures of the "normal" and precious people and things around me....

Bonnie said...

I sit with tears in my eyes and a big frog in my throat reading this and seeing your "real" photos, so soul-searching. It made me miss my gran so much, she was my hero. What wonderful memories you have and so great you could see them!

Debbie said...

These are beautiful photos, and of such interesting things. I have just found you blog via Pinterest and am now a follower.