It is really hard to believe that it has been two years since my Bampa passed away. It seems like only a week ago when we got the call that he had died and we all ran up to the house.......
Nana came over for supper tonight, and as we were eating, I remembered that we had been eating dinner when the call came. Of course, we had been expecting it, but at the same time, it seemed so unreal. Part of it, I think, is that it came so gradually. My Bampa was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer about a year and half before his death. As many of you probably know, pancreatic cancer is the most painful cancer...
It became a tough part of our life. To think that something precious to you was slipping away was really hard. He was normal for most of it, not really changing. Except for a few emergency hospital visits, everything remained the same..... except one thing: he was not a Believer. He had not yet taken those steps to inviting Jesus into his heart as his Savior. I can't really explain the sadness that would sometimes creep over me. It was this reality that hit me in the face like thunder, saying that once he died, I would never see him again. It is like an impending doom.
Months passed by and he altered slightly. Mostly losig weight and beginning to look older than he really was. Bampa always looked very young-much younger than his age!
When he became seriously ill, we did hospice care (took care of him at home instead of sending him to a nursing home or hospital). That was rather tough.. no, really tough. To see your loved one fading away is never easy. The weirdest thing was that he had faded so much, it was like he wasn't there. It was just a shell of him, but HE was gone. So, when the call came, it didn't really hit me, though I don't think it ever does for anyone until later on. I still catch myself thinking, "Oh, Bampa would think that was so funny! I'll have to run up and tell him about it." Or, when we came home from bull sales. It was always so much fun to run up and let Nana and Bampa know how the bulls averaged, etc.
Having grown up in New York, we always teased him about the way he said things. "Donkey" was pronounced "dunkey" in his vocabulary. "Huge" was "yuge", "bottle" was "bottul" (not that he spelled them that way, only pronounced them that way.) It was always so much fun.
He served in the navy, worked for NASA, and had a vivid love for learning, so listening to his stories was always interesting! He was so knowledgeable... he could tell you just about anything.
One of the best things about him, though, is that he made you feel really important... as if you YOU were his best friend. In fact, there were so many people at the memorial service that would get up and say, "Well, I always though that I was his best friend..." He was just that way, always interested in what you were doing, learning, working on, etc. It didn't matter if he didn't care for sewing or crocheting. If he knew I was working on something, he always wanted me to tell him about it. It was such a good lesson for my own life to be like that. To be kind, considerate, and interested in others more than I ever was.
Although it has been 2 years, I still get an ache in my heart everyonce in a while. I love and miss Bamba so very much. I wish everyone could have known him, could have heard his stories, could have heard his funny accent and pronunciation. Though this may seem rather silly, I really feel like I will see him again. Not because I think God had mercy and let him into heaven without him receiving Jesus, but because based on some things that happened, I think maybe he did accept Jesus in the end.
In Christ's Service,