GRADUATION!! (Grad School)

Wednesday, March 26


I have tried to write about this weekend repeatedly, only to come up with disjointed phrases. So let’s try it this way:

Gramps passed away on Saturday March 15, 2008. I had a chance to talk to him the Sunday before he died. Very little was said, but I was again reminded of how important it is to be able to say ‘I Love You’ one more time.

I worked for a week, but I don’t remember much of it. That seems to be normal though, hence I have a blog to remind me. 

I arrived in California late Friday night, after brief hellos, I was tucked into a mattress on the living room floor. Dad took pictures. Not sure why he wanted to commemorate the fact that it was almost 3 am my time and I was exhausted.

Saturday: Grandma made pancakes. I was kind of surprised how normal the routine seemed. The only thing missing was Gramdpa. Breakfast was followed by errands with Gretch, frames, ink cartridges, lunch, nylons, and blank DVD’s. More family arrived.

Sunday: Grandma made German Pancakes; such goodness I had never known. YUM! There was an Easter egg hunt because Grandma wanted things to be as normal as possible. The last of the family arrived and we all got ready for Church, where we took over a sacrament meeting. I think we literally doubled the meetings attendance though most of our heads were bobbing in fatigue by the time the Easter program started. Lol!

Sunday Night: The Viewing started right after church……I am not a fan of viewings. As I have stated before in this blog, I deal with death by reminding myself it is like a friend who has moved far away. The person is gone from sight but I have a chance to see them again someday. Viewings do not help this, for lack of a better word, pretending. I choose not to find closure in the empty vessel left behind.

I will forever and always see Grandpa Hinkson standing tall, fanny pack around his waist with a goofy smile as he cracked silly jokes in the living room of the tiny 3 bedroom apartment in Ohio when I was 11. 17 years have gone by since that day, but I still have vague memories of him telling us we were family, there would be no step or half or anything else. We were Mom and Dad and brother and sister, we were FAMILY.

Sunday night was about visiting. I didn’t know many of the people that came to say goodbye, but many of the cousins were there. It was nice to be able to talk and visit with family; to laugh and joke about the way Gramps had been in life.

Monday: Monday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the temperature was nice, and there was a slight breeze. There was some more time for a viewing and then time for family to say one last goodbye. I resisted the urge to look in the casket. The urge was more to follow the expected protocol; I didn’t want anyone to think that I didn’t care. In reality, I have found that it does more harm then good for me so I decided that the protocol was not important. It was hard to watch my father, my aunts and uncles, and especially my Grandmother as they gathered around the casket in a loose semi circle to see Grandpa for one last time. I doubt there were any that were unmoved by the grief that was there.

A beautiful funeral followed. The bagpipes were poignant; the speakers and music was appropriately respectful, and the eulogy was a great look at the life of a righteous and wonderful man. The graveside service had all the honors that a respected serviceman should have and loving dedicatory prayer given by my uncle.

At the end of the services there was a lowering of the casket and members of the family were allowed to participate in shoveling the dirt, one shovelful at a time. Most chose to take part. I did not. Another thing that was not necessary. I did take an opportunity by throwing a purple flower onto the casket. It was enough of a good bye for me. There was a slight detour to lunch as we took a scenic route…Lol! By the time we got to the luncheon we were starving and grateful for the food that was provided by the Relief Society. Monday night was filled with the departure of family members and the preparation for my own departure. There was time to talk and visit more and it was good just to be there among family. It was so nice to get to know them better. I hope to continue to build on those relationships. Family is so important.

Tuesday started out like normal…..with Pancakes. Lol! With goodbye hugs Gretch and I left. She dropped me off at the airport on her way home to Northern CA. The trip was long and uncomfortable but I filled it with a new book. Not one I liked but it kept me busy until I was picked up at the airport in DC.

I can’t really explain all the emotions that were involved in this trip. Let’s just say the weekend trip felt like it lasted much, much longer. Grandpa was an amazing man; he taught me about keeping an upbeat attitude and about the importance of family. He will be missed in this life and there are many of us that look forward to seeing him again in the next. We love you Gramps!


Richard said...

Like you, I do not care for viewings. Like you said, I don't find closure in an empty vessel. However, this time of year more than any other, I am reminded that I do find closure in the empty tomb.

I much prefer to follow the advice given by Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah in a letter shortly before the First Battle of Bull Run. He said, "Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again." Although he died in that battle, I am sure that they did meet again. I am equally sure that I will meet again with all of my loved ones who have passed through the veil before I do, and that I will be there waiting for those who follow me.

You are in the prayers of your friends. Never forget that.

Rae said...

Thank you Richard.

Tiana said...

This was well written my very talented sister. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love you!

Boo said...

I am sorry Rae. Grandpas are such special men. I regret I was not able to spend more time with mine. Your Grandpa sounds like a great guy. I wish I could have met him.
I love the photo at the end. Timeless.