**this was written over the course of a week
My grandpa passed away less than 24 hours ago. It’s funny how you never can truly prepare for it when the time actually comes. We were lucky enough to have a pretty good idea of when he would pass so everyone could say their goodbyes. I chose not to see my grandpa during these past few weeks. Let me explain: I had gone to see him in the nursing home back in October when the doctors were saying that it didn’t look like he would have much time left. I saw him on that day and I was able to speak to him and hold his hand. Most importantly, I left that day telling him how much I loved him and giving him a kiss on the cheek as he had always done to me. I was at peace. It’s interesting looking back on all of my encounters with him. Every single time I gave him a hug to greet him and a hug to say goodbye, he always told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. Growing up, I wasn’t always so fond of this gesture. Maybe it was because no one had ever done that to me during a greeting or departure. I remember never truly appreciating that type of affection that he gave me. As I am now in my mid 20s, I have come to never take those little gestures for granted and to count my blessings that I always knew how he felt towards me. I sure would love a kiss on the cheek and a “love you” with one of his warm smiles.
He was such a quiet man and a gentle soul towards his ten kids and 39 grandkids…yes, 39. My brother Shane reminds me a lot of papa Dave. He sits back in a crowded room and is very attentive, but rarely speaking. He will smile and laugh at all of the family banter and you can tell he is at peace when his family is surrounded by him. He’s got a smirk that I can only describe as one that Jim Halpert from ‘The Office’ could make.
What better way to spend his last few weeks of life on earth than being surrounded by his kids that brought him so much joy and love. It’s been such a blessing to be able to see all of my aunts and uncles travel back to Illinois to honor my grandfather. I heard stories about him as a police officer, him as a father and his time in the navy. I would lay in bed at night and tell my husband how grateful I was for the Hoving family and their undeniable love for eachother.
This past week has been an absolute whirlwind. I personally have honored my grandfather by taking part in a huge spaghetti night at my aunt Jean’s home-something my grandpa made frequently for a meal with 10 children. We were able to take my nephew to a restaurant where we live that has electric trains that deliver our food on them. All of the memorabilia on the walls were train artifiacts. This place. This WHOLE place reminded me of papa Dave. Afterall, one of his greatest hobbies was tinkering with electric trains. I remember watching him run the trains as a kid or him explaining the different train cars that were running around the Christmas tree.
I was able to be apart of his wake where yes, there were tears shed but also a lot of smiles and laughs (I think looking around and seeing his 39 grandchildren running around everywhere makes it hard NOT to smile and laugh at all the innocence and love they bring). We laid him to rest on Friday where during the funeral I was able to reflect on the fact that he was a great provider for his ten children and he would be so proud of his legacy he left behind.
The week ended in sort of a full circle moment when we baptized our daughter Eleanor. The whole mass I kept telling myself that I knew papa Dave was present at Mass. I believe that when I see a butterfly that someone who has passed is near me. There was one that kept flying around at the party after the baptism yesterday and all I could do was smile. I knew he was with all of us.
My grandpa often mistook me for my youngest aunts Kate or Meg. I never seemed to mind and actually took it as a huge compliment. The cool thing was that the last words besides “love you” to me from my grandpa was “you’re the one who started all of this huh?” To which I replied and said, “yes.” He smiled and said, “good for you.” That’s written in my notes on my phone and I will hold on to those words. I hope I make you proud, grandpa. You sure made me honored to know you and carry on your legacy.