Grandpa Ivan

Well this post is long overdue, but life these last couple of months has been extremely busy, so busy that it’s almost a blur. This blog has been pretty silent recently, up until a few days ago and now it seems that I can’t shut up.    Please bear with me…

Shane’s grandad Ivan Dennis departed this life for his eternal home November 7th, 2014.  Yes, about 6 weeks ago.

Tabitha photobombs Grandma and Grandpa pciThis picture was taken in July.

I was actually driving to Tennessee for my Jubilee, the day he went to his eternal heavenly home.  He had been told a few years ago that he had either leukemia or lymphoma; he decided not to find out which one, because he wasn’t going to do anything about it. And everyone was o.k. with that.

Isaac and I had gone to the hospital that Monday, everyone else had gone Tuesday.  He hardly acted sick, but he was in I.C.U.  and they let Tabby (8) go…they don’t let youn’un’s in ICU unless…

As Isaac and I left, I leaned over to give him a hug and kissed him on the forehead, he said “you may not want to get to close, I don’t know what I’ve got”  Always thinking about everyone else.  That was Ivan.

So, I was beginning my Jubilee.  It had been a hard start already, with Hannah’s accident 2 days before.  But I was looking forward to spending the evening/overnight and next morning with my Aunt and Uncle in Nashville, as we had planned.

But that trip brought lots of change of plans…

I was about 2 hours from home, Shane called and said they had started morphine. It was just a tiny amount, just to make Grandpa comfortable.  We knew it was the beginning of the end.  But we really thought I’d have time to make my 2 1/2 week visit and return home before he left this life.

We were wrong.

Shane called a few hours later and said

Grandpa’s gone.

He ate a steak dinner for lunch. Sang Jesus Loves Me (one of his favorites, if not his most favorite).  Asked the family to sing hymns, sat back closed his eyes and breathed his last.

I don’t think anyone expected it so soon.

When Shane called, I was having a hard time being sad.  I mean I wish EVERY believer could go home that way.

I thought about flying home for the funeral, but all the driving Shane would have to do to get me just didn’t make sense.  It would have been a minimum of 6 hours plus the driving for the funeral 1 1/2 hours away and the burial in Iowa.  So I mourned in Tennessee and they mourned here.

Until Shane came into my life, I hadn’t had a Grandpa.  Grandma’s yes, but both of my Grandpa’s were gone.  Grandpa S died when my Daddy was little and Grandpa R hadn’t been part of our lives since my Mom was younger.  Both of Shane’s Grandpa’s were special to me, but because of proximity, we spent more time with Grandpa Ivan.

He was a very special man.  He was one of, if not the most loving, patient, tender-hearted men I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  (It’s where Shane gets his wonderful qualities).  He loved everyone and was a humble man that went about his life without much fanfare.  He had a sweet, gentle spirit.  Always the gentleman.  He could figure out how to make anything work.  And he always worked smarter, rather than harder.  Every summer, he’d pull out this contraption he had made to carry the large window air conditioner that belonged in the living room for the season.  It took him and one other to use it, but no one’s back was ever strained in the moving of that big air conditioner.

Many years ago, he built a closet for us in the little apartment we had when we first moved to Missouri.  It took him all day, but it was a masterpiece when he was done.

Yes, a closet masterpiece.

He always had time to listen.  To play dominoes, or to get down in the floor with the kids and sit cross legged to play with them.

ivan and isaac 002 When we first moved to Independence, we went to church with the family.  Many days, I’d hear a knock at the door.  It’d be Grandma and Grandpa.  Or we’d go to their house for lunch. Or we’d go over and hang out…sometimes Ivan hung out with the kids

Ivan and kids in the tree 001

Then we moved.  And they’d come out for the day.  Maybe this was one 4th of July, or maybe a birthday.  It was in the our first few years out here because that hammock has been long gone.  A couple years ago they came down for Thanksgiving.  Shane’s dad had brought one of his pistols and Shane got out a couple of our guns and they went out to shoot, Grandpa went with them.  I stayed in the house but Shane says that even after not shooting for many years he could still hit the mark. He would have been about 83 or 84 then!  And probably hadn’t picked up a gun in many years.

ivan in the hammock 001Grandma Nadine and Grandpa Ivan helped me with apples the first couple of years we lived out here because my kiddos were too small to help much, and there were A LOT of apples.  We made lots of applesauce that day.

Then Grandma started forgetting things.  Grandpa was here caregiver.  Almost 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Loving her tenderly until he could no longer do it.

Grandpa didn’t cook.

So for the past several years, we’d make extra and freeze it. It was their Christmas gift.

A “Meal of the Month Club” we called it.  Really, it was way more than 1 meal a month.  Usually it was delivered to Shane’s mom, and she took it to them.  Every time I’d fix a meal, I’d ask myself.  Is there enough for Grandma and Grandpa?  I loved doing it, and would pray for them many times as I scooped their meal into a container for the freezer.  One time I sent a package of noodles, I got a phone call asking how to cook them.  So from then on, I cooked them so he’d only have to heat them up.

One afternoon about 2 years ago we were visiting Knoxville, we were at Goodwill, Shane and Hannah on one side of the store, and me on the other.  My cell phone rang. It was Grandpa thanking me for the “good food” I sent.  But I had forgotten to label something that I had sent so he described what it looked like and I tried to tell him what it was.  Finally, I am almost yelling the letters to spell B R O C C O L I into the phone (WHAT is it with Broccoli and our relatives????)  It was a turkey, broccoli, and rice casserole.  I look up to see Shane and Hannah trying to stifle laughs and  acting like they had no idea who I was!   So now, just for fun one of us will start… B R O and we’ll all laugh.

Grandpa never had a computer, didn’t want a cordless phone or caller i.d. He did have a cell phone at one time but I’m not sure he used it very much.  He was slow and methodical about everything he did.

He was a precious blessing to all who knew him.

I’m so thankful that Grandpa didn’t suffer.  I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a sweet Grandfather for 20 years of my life.

He is missed greatly! But I know we will reunite with Him someday…