Friday, July 07, 2006

In Heaven

This last Saturday my grandparents arrived, from L.A., at my parent's house with my Auntie Annie. We enjoyed a nice evening with my grandparents. The next day they were leaving on a cruise to Alaska. Seven years ago my Grampa suffered a massive stroke which the doctors said that he would never recover from. But the Lord had a different plan than the doctors. He recovered amazingly. He started to speak and walk again. As time went on he was becoming more and more independent. A few years ago he suffered a heart attack but he soon recovered from that as well. Charles Covington was a pastor. He met my gramma a little over 25 years ago. August 15th is their 25th wedding anniversary. Her first husband had been an alcoholic and eventually left. All of us grandchildren never knew him. He was never a part of our lives. We only know Charles Covington as our Grampa. As far as we are concerned he was related to us by blood. He was one of the most wonderful Grampas in the world. When I was 7 or 8 years old he baptized me and then at my wedding he was able to stand, holding onto a chair, and ask "Who giveth this woman to this man?" and he also prayed in the middle of the ceremony. He could sometimes be very gruff and frustrating but we all have our moments. He was a very strong, tall man and his stroke frustrated him a lot. He wasn't able to go about like he used to. His love for the Lord still continued on and he always loved answering any questions one might have about the Bible, doctrine or theology. If he didn't know the answer he would look it up in his many books and commentaries until he found the answer. Every week he wrote a pen pulpit that would be put into the bulletin at his church. He was still preaching, even if not nearly as much as before. This last Sunday he and my Gramma left on the cruise. On Tuesday night they had a lovely dinner and watched a show. My Gramma said that it was one of the most wonderful days they had ever had together. Early on Wednesday morning he suffered either a heart attack or a stroke. They air lifted him to Juno, Alaska and from their they flew him to Seattle. By Wednesday night my parents, aunt, my brother and I were at the hospital with he and my Gramma. They had him on a breathing machine that breathed for him. They said that his kidneys had failed as well. There was absolutely no response at all. My pastor came because my Gramma wanted him to. He stayed with us for a while and talked with us about the decision to take him off life support. The doctor was so wonderful about answering any questions that were asked. My Gramma made sure that all of my aunts and uncles down in L.A. agreed with the decision to take him off life support. The doctors said that keeping him on the machine would not make his condition improve any, there was no brain activity. My Grampa had also requested not to be kept on life support. So my Gramma gave them the okay and they took the breathing tube out. He started to breath on his own but it was very raged and rough. The doctor said that he was mainly breathing as a reflex. Breathing is one of the last things that your brain controls when you are dying. He stayed the same for a while and my parents and my brother went home for the night. I decided to stay with my Gramma and Aunt. My Gramma and I went and layed down in a little private sitting room they had for our family. I slept from about 12:30am to 3am and then I woke up. My Gramma woke up shortly after. She and I went and sat with my Grampa while my aunt went and layed down in the room. I read the Bible a little. It was one of the ones that my Grampa had just added to his Bible collection. My aunt said that he had about 30 in all. He loved buying different Bibles. :) At about 5am my Gramma went back in the little room and lied down and I stayed with Grampa. I reclined a chair right next to him and curled up under a blanket with a pillow. I read the Bible a little bit more and prayed. Every once in a while I would hold his hand. One of the things I remember when he had his first stroke was walking into his hospital room and he looked at me and reached for my hand a little. I grabbed it and he just looked at me and squeezed my hand because that is all he could do. This time there was nothing, but I held his hand any way. His breathing was so rough and he was getting a lot of blood and liquid in his throat. A few times the nurse came in and used a tube to get some of the liquid out. It was hard to watch. I fell asleep a few times but never for long. I was always worried that he would pass and I would be asleep. At about 8am my Gramma and Aunt got up. We decided to head down to the cafeteria to get a good breakfast since all we had been eating were some pretzels and animal crackers. They had a nice cafeteria and we talked while we ate. We cried a little as well. My aunt and I went and bought ourselves each a little travel pack of a toothbrush and toothpaste in the hospital gift shop and then we brushed our teeth. It had been a while. We then went back to my Grampa. At about 10am, I think, I left the room to call my parents. They were almost to the hospital. Then I called my hubby just to let him know how things were going. My aunt came in while I was talking to him and said that Grampa was going. I told Rue and hung up. We hurried back to the room. When I got there he was not breathing and never took another breath. I sat down next to my Gramma and put my hand on his leg. She started to pray and the three of us cried. She thanked the Lord that now at that very moment he was seeing Jesus his Lord and Savior face to face. It hurt some and yet it was also so peaceful. At that moment Heaven was more real to me than it had ever been. Grampa is in Heaven!

My parents came just a few minutes after with my brother. After we were ready a nurse and the doctor came in to discuss what would happen next. My Grampa will be sent down to California where he will buried this coming Friday, July 14th. It will be a small graveside service for family and close friends and then on Saturday there will be a celebration of his life at my grandparent's church. We are all so very sad and yet we all have the peace of the Lord. He has poured out His grace on us! We are so thankful that the Lord did not let my Grampa linger in the state he was in but took him home quickly. My Gramma has lost her sweetheart but she is trusting in the Lord. He will be there when we get to Heaven. He knew the Lord Jesus as his Savior. Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me." John 14:6. Jesus also said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16. My Grampa trusted Christ for his salvation because he knew that he could never be good enough on his own to earn salvation. That is why God sent His Son Jesus to bear everyone's sins on the cross and took the punishment that we all deserve so that we can be with God for all eternity when we die. Oh, what joy this brings!

The Lord gave us Charles Covington for a time and then the Lord called His faithful servant home. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Job1:21


Ruhiyyih Rose said...

What a beautiful tribute in your article, Anne. My prayers are with you and your family! Hang in there.

rachd said...

What a beautiful photo and lovely tribute to your Grandpa. I'm sorry for your loss, but know the joy you feel knowing he is in a better place. Death is always a time of conflicting emotions--sadness for those left behind, but joy for the one who has moved on. I wish peace for you and your family. My prayers are with you.

Bonita said...

It is always a long vigil, at the bedside of the dying of our loved ones, and when release comes, it comes for all of us. A greater love and connection blankets all who grieve. I wish you a safe journey to California, Annie. My prayers for your mom, Kathy, and for all of your family.

itsboopchile said...

I wept reading your tribute to your grandfather. So much love you show.
Your memories will keep you going and the promise that you will also see him in Heaven.
Much love, Betty G

BoringTales said...

Oh my gosh! What a sad time for your family. I can't imagine how hard that must be to watch a loved one passed. How amazing though that you have that reassurance that he is with the Lord.

I hope that your trip to California is safe and well.

Take care,

Your soon to be neighbor,