Sunday, October 14, 2012

The first Marcellus

My grandpa died early yesterday morning. My grandpa that Marcellus is named after. A great man.

We knew his time was becoming very short. My mom thought a couple of weeks and that turned out to be a couple of days. My mom and I had a good conversation on Thursday evening about how we felt about grandpa dying. I was honest and said I don't think I would be that sad. He's had a long road these last couple of years and his quality of life had been low.

I also feel like I had been slowly grieving him. Grieving that although he was still here, I wasn't able to share my experiences with him the way I had hoped for. Ever since his stroke a few years ago, he never full bounced back. I grieved that while he was at my wedding (and so thankful he was there for that, we did have some very special moments), he wasn't able to stay for the reception, I wasn't able to dance with him. I grieved that when I told him I was pregnant with Marcellus, he wasn't able to fully express how he felt about that. What he was thinking. I grieved that when Marcellus died, my grandpa was unable to come to his funeral. He was unable to get to see his great-grandson, his namesake. Things I had already grieved for. Having experienced the unexpected death of my son, put me in a different place for how I feel about the expected death of my grandpa. I will always miss him. I have been missing him, missing the man he as.The man I will remember him as, not the frail man he was right before he died.

When my mom called me yesterday morning to tell me grandpa had gone her words were, "Grandpa's holding your baby." And I know he is. He's in Heaven with my boy. He got to meet his great-grandson. To me that does bring some comfort, on both sides. Comfort for my grandpa that he is not here struggling anymore. He gets to be reunited with lost loved ones, and for the first time united with his great-grandson. And for my boy. My sweet sweet boy. His great-grandpa is there to tell him stories, bounce him on his knee, pinch his cheeks and do all the things my grandpa would do with me when I was little. I imagine my grandpa telling Marcellus stories about me when I was growing up. The two of them together, the two Marcellus's, together in Heaven.

It brought me to the harsh realization that Marcellus was the first of my immediate family members to die. That's right, this grandpa is the first of my grandparents to die. My son was the first close family member of mine to go to Heaven. How messed up is that?! Until now I didn't have the image of him with someone close to me. Not that it makes me in anyway think "It's okay Marcellus isn't here now, because he's with his great-grandpa." No, it does not make it okay. It will never be okay. But it does give me something to hold onto. It does give me a bit of comfort and let me tell you, ever little bit counts.

When I was in MN a couple of weeks ago and visited my grandpa I knew his time was becoming short. At that time, we weren't quite sure how long. This fear came over me that he would die when I was put on travel restriction for this pregnancy. As hard as going to his funeral will be, I have to be there. It would have really affected me not to be able to go. So yes, while I was just there I will be going back this week. The funeral is on Friday. I will be there.

The funeral, although I know I need to be there and I want to be there, it is going to be TOUGH. And honestly, not so much because it's my grandpa's funeral. But because it is the funeral of my grandpa whom my son is named after in the same church, with the same priest, in the same cemetery as when we buried my son 11 months ago. For the rest of my life attending funerals will always have an added dimension for me. They will always bring me back to his funeral, his burial, his death.

There are going to be flashbacks. I haven't been back in that church since November 15th, 2011. And the juxtopostion between the two, between the flashbacks in my mind and the images there will be at my grandpa's funeral. Picture boards of a man who's lived a full life, lived a lifetime compared to those with pictures taken over 12 days. The full sized casket compared to the tiny white one, that my boy didn't even fill out. The mourners, a wife, grown children, grown grandchildren, and friends. Not a mother and father, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles. This is how it's supposed to happen. These are the funerals we are supposed to attend. This is how life should be. Not the way it was 11 months ago in that church. Not burying my 12 day old sweet baby boy.

And yet, I have to be there. I have to be there on Friday to say goodbye and celebrate the life of my grandpa. A man very special to me. There's a reason a named my sweet boy after him. It wasn't just because I like the name. There's more, a connection I've always felt to my grandpa. A simplicity to his life I admired. Just something about him, you had to love him. For a long time I had thought about using Marcellus in my son's name. Before Mike and I were even married. I always thought I'd use it as a middle name. And then Marcellus was born and when I saw him I just knew that was his name. He had to be named after his great-grandfather. Although, my grandpa rarely went by Marcellus. He didn't like his name. He most often when by his nickname "Rocky." I wonder what he thought of us naming a little baby that name.

Like I said before, Grandpa was unable to come to Marcellus's funeral. Mom and I did take him out to the cemetery one day shortly after though. I got out and went up to Marcellus's spot while Mom and Grandpa stayed in the car. This was at a time when Grandpa could still communicate his thoughts a bit. My mom later shared with me that he said, "it should have been me." He understood, my baby died and that it wasn't right. I know he would have gladly taken his place if he could have.

I am thankful for the memories I am bless to have with my grandpa. I am thankful I will be able to go to MN to celebrate him and his life and his return to Jesus. To celebrate the uniting of great-grandfather and great-grandson.

Here are some of the last pictures I have with my grandpa. They are from my wedding in July 2010. The first is a candid shot. It is the first time he saw me that day. It is absolutely one of my favorite pictures ever. He couldn't really articulate much at that time, but he didn't need to use any words. The look on his face says it all.

The next one is with my sister and I. I wanted to get one of us kissing Grandpa on the cheeks. I knew he'd eat it right up and he did!

Grandpa, I will always miss you. I am sorry I haven't been able to be there more this last few years being in NC. It's been hard not being able to visit you. I am thankful for all the good and fond memories I do have. The silly things about you I can think of. I hope you know why I named my son after you, it was to honor you and the relationship that we've shared. Please take care of my boy. Hold him, rock him, love on him, tell him all about me until I can get there. I know you are already just adoring him. The thought of you two together is comforting. You both definitely live up to your name! Watch out, he's a bit feisty. But then so are you, you can handle that. He also is super squirmy, so keep that in mind when you're bouncing him on your knee. I love you Grandpa. 

Marcellus, you've gotten to meet your great-grandpa. Do you see why we named you after him? You'll be able to learn a lot from him. And I know the two of you will be getting into some sort of trouble. Or have you already? I wouldn't doubt it. You will be two peas in a pod. It's going to be so hard to be back in that church though baby boy. That church where we said goodbye to you. This should be my first funeral for an immediate family member. Our family should not have buried you before grandpa. It's just not supposed to go that way. Please help Mommy during this time my sweet boy. Help me remember the good memories I have with your great-grandpa and the amazing memories I have with you. Help me focus on that. I'm aching for you my love. Aching to have you in my arms. Loving you with all my heart, always. And missing you beyond measure! xoxox

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