My Grandpa Walsh (my dad's dad) earned his angel wings yesterday just after noon at the age of 86. After a week long struggle, the end was a very peaceful release. Like Kristine said, he was able to celebrate the Christmas season with all of his kids, including my Dad. Jim and I were blessed to be among those there for his last breath. My grandma was at his side and moments after, she looked up and said how happy she was for him. What a selfless thing to say and feel and it was truly how she felt. He will be greatly missed (more than words can convey) but he is with my dad in the house that God made just for him.
He was a great man who made a great family. He'll be kept plenty busy keeping an eye on all of us! If I have my numbers right, Grandpa was the father of seven, grandfather to 16 and great-grandfather to 14. The priest asked my grandma how old Grandpa was and then asked her if on the day they got married, if somebody had said he'd be with her until he was 86, would she have been happy? What a good way to give perspective during a very difficult time. I'd take those odds any day! Sorry, Jim, I'm hoping you're stuck with me for another 50 years!
My aunt Lisa said she was asked to describe grandpa in one word and she said he was simply...gentle! So true and so perfect. But I struggled because he was so much MORE than that, too. He was strong. He was a farmer up until the very end (he told us he was gathering cattle last Sunday!). He was hard-working. He didn't make it out into the field this fall but I'm pretty sure he did last year at 85! He was spiritual and holy. When Lisa, Grandma and Grandpa joined me at Dad's grave on his birthday last year, Grandpa had us say a decade of the rosary...which was the exactly perfect thing for that moment...and it was just second nature for him. He was frugal (which leads itself to a LOT of great stories!) but he worked hard and had something to show for it. He was quiet. He wasn't much of a talker (maybe he can't get a word in with Grandma around!!!) but you always knew what he was thinking or what his intentions were or what he expected. To put it simply, he was constant. He was always there, sitting in his chair. He was who he was and that was good enough for him.
It gives me great comfort knowing that Grandpa and Dad are together. I don't know why, but it does. Maybe I feel like Dad has somebody to spend time with. But neither were big talkers, so they will most likely sit in chairs on a porch somewhere and just observe all that their big family is doing. But they will have each other's companionship while doing so.
There's so much more to say about your amazing life but to put it simply, rest in peace, Grandpa. And if I had to choose one word, it would be "love." I love you!
Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.