Friday, September 10, 2010

Grandpa Fessler

My Grandpa Fessler passed away on Monday morning and his funeral was yesterday. This was a very bitter/sweet moment in my life. Almost 3 years ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given 3-6 months to live. Those 3 years were very hard in many ways watching him suffering, but I realized yesterday how important it was for him to have them. My grandpa has always held his emotions instead of expressing them, in these last 3 years he has softened and been able to express his love to his children and grandchildren in a way that probably never would have happened had he gone quickly. He also had time to get things in order for my grandma and the rest of the family. It was very hard watching this strong man, who I looked up to all my life, become so weak physically.
Growing up I loved my grandpa very much. I love the smell of cut wood because he was a wood shop teacher and I remember going and visiting him in his classroom. I have many treasured things that he made for the grandchildren in his shop each year for Christmas. He was a golf pro and when I was probably about 12 he took me to the golf course and we would drive a cart around and sell drinks to the golfers. He also taught me to play golf although I wish I would have taken more of an interest in it. He loved to play games and was the luckiest person I know! We would play rummy and aggravation. Because I am a very open and emotional person, I thought I didn't have a great relationship with him because he is a man of very few words, I started thinking about our time we spent together and realized how much I now treasure those times.
This is my grandma. I love her so much. Growing up I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house while my parents were working and I have always looked up to my grandma and tried pattern my life after her example. I spent the last 16 hours or so of my grandpa's life with her and the rest of the family that was there, and it was a very special time that I will always remember. My grandma was so strong. She lied by my grandpa's side as his body shut down, comforting him and telling him how much she loves him. After he passed she pinched his nose commented on how handsome he still was. She was sad to lose him and didn't want them to take his body away, but she was once again an example to me, she knows that he is in a better place and is no longer suffering.
(This is a picture of me and my cousin Kim)
At the funeral it was interesting to hear from his children about their experiences with him. Each was very different. I laughed and I cried as they shared their stories. My grandpa touched so many people during his life. His life sketch was amazing hearing about different times in his life. Missionary work was an overwhelmingly big part of his life and he has been and influence in over 100 people joining the church. Even until the very end of his life he was teaching the gospel and his influence was so strong several of the young men in the ward that he taught came to visit him often including the day before he died. My Aunt Vicki composed a life history of my grandpa and gave everyone a copy of it at the funeral. I am very excited to dive into this history and learn even more about my grandpa.
It was great to see and spend time with my dad's side of the family. I am the oldest grandchild and have not lived close to any of them for over 10 years although I lived close to most of them growing up and they are a huge part of my life. I am a little sad that I haven't made more of an effort to spend time with my grandparents in these last few years. We did get to visit them when we were down in Utah from time to time, but it was a little difficult because I have so many small children and the noise and crying etc. that comes along with that were hard for my grandpa. I am grateful to know that I will see my grandpa again, and that we will be a family forever. He was a great man and great example of a faithful follower of Christ and the greatest gift I think I can give my grandpa is to do my best to be the same.


Jamie said...

That was a lovely tribute to your granddad Kristy. I can tell this was a time of bringing your family together which is a beautiful thing. Your grandma sounds like such a sweet strong lady.

James and Tricia Thomas said...

That was a sweet tribute to a wonderful man!!! What a special time with your family! I love your dress by the way!