Carol and Bruce Orr (AKA Grandma and Poppy)Two weeks ago, Bobby's father, Bruce Orr, passed away. Although he had cancer, and had been ill, it still happened very quickly. If I can remember past the whirlwind well enough, it was a month from diagnosis to his passing. We all thought there would be more time. In fact, that was the consolation he offered Bobby when he called with the news. He said, this cancer will be what I die from, but you will have time to get used to the idea of it. None of us felt we had time to wrap our heads around it at all. The last time I saw Poppy was in the hospital. We had taken the kids down after he had surgery, before his chemo, to visit him. He was tired but had a big smile for all of us. Bobby taught the little ones how to give him big hugs around his neck, so they wouldn't disturb his many tubes. He looked fondly on all the children. He spoke kindly and softly to them, as was his way. He shared his chocolate milk and ginger ale with them. He let Ayden and Dillon push his 'happy button' (his morphine line) then gave them a goofy grin and said it made him loopy. They giggled, hugged him goodbye and that was all. This song came on the radio yesterday and reduced me to tears. (The brackets are where I changed the words to express how I felt.)
[Last Wednesday evening] they let me know you were gone
[The busy] plans they made put an end to you
I woke up this morning and wrote down this song
I just can't remember who to send it to
I've seen fire and I've seen rain
Seen sunny days that I thought would never end
Seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought I'd see you again
Won't you look down on my Jesus you got to help me make a stand
You just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
I just can't make it any other way
That last verse is for Bobby. He has struggled to come to terms with losing his father. Having faith in our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) softens the pain of death. I know Poppy is in a better place. I know he no longer feels ill or tired. I know he has important work to do. However, it doesn't make the fact that we miss someone any easier. I shared with Bobby the parts that were difficult about losing my mother. I admitted to feeling jealous sometimes when I see my friends with their mothers, or grandmothers cheering for their grandchildren at sporting events. There are many times I have a question and want to call my mother so badly, but I can't. I know Bobby is going to encounter similar things. And it will hurt. But it will be fleeting.
Poppy's funeral was nice. Everyone had wonderful things to say about him. How could they not? He was a wonderful man. He touched many lives through his work, his military service, his church callings, and friends of his children's that felt his love, not to mention his own family. He was quiet, thoughtful, compassionate, considerate and humble. He was faithful. He loved his wife immensely and spoiled her as much as he could. The two were inseparable. The world needs more men like him. At his funeral one of my favorite hymns was sung, "O My Father". By the time we got to the last verse, I could only think of my mother and Bobby's father and could no longer sing. Choked up, I tried to get through it:
When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.
~text: Eliza R. Snow
Then, Bobby's sister Teresa read a poem that Poppy used to read to the kids at bedtime. She expressed that he sent them off to sleep with this poem so it was only fitting that they send him off the same way. It was "Winkin' Blinkin' and Nod". At this point I was digging my nails into my palms so I wouldn't cry out loud. Before leaving we paused to get a photo of all the kids with their mom.
Ryan, Greg, David, Bobby, Mom, Eric, Liz, Teresa
As we arrived at the cemetery for the graveside service it had become very cold and overcast outside. Most of us had dressed for the mild spring weather we'd been having, so Bobby chuckled that it was Poppy's last laugh at us. His father was sent off with a 21 gun salute, a full military funeral. Bobby's brother Greg was the one to present the flag to his mother and it was beautiful.
The brothers all put their coats around the women and children to keep us from shivering. Uncle Eric went and got another jacket out of his car for Ayden and Dillon, and once again, amidst the tears, there were smiles and chuckles and love. Poppy would have been pleased.
Poppy had his time here on earth. He brought six, beautiful, successful children into this world. He worked hard at his career, his family and his faith. He had a purposeful life. We will all miss him so much, it doesn't even seem real yet. But I have found peace in the knowledge that he accomplished what he needed to in this life, and now I have another family member looking out for me beyond the veil. We love you and will miss you Poppy!
6 A time to aget, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
8 A time to love, and a time to ahate; a time of war, and a time of peace.