James Martin Priest

My grandpa died today. We've known for years that his body wasn't long for this world....but I was emotionally unprepared for this. I was very close to him, and spent time with him and my grandma every week, either at family Sunday dinners or I would take the twins over to visit them. The girls just adored my grandpa, he had them trained to know exactly where the cookie jar was :). I knew if I brought them over to visit I shouldn't plan on feeding them anything else the rest of the day. All during my undergraduate and master's degrees my grandparents worked in the third floor of the library and I would stop by, eat lunch with them, chat....They have never seemed 'old' to me.

When others have told me about their loved ones passing away, I usually think about how leaving a body in pain for a better place isn't a bad thing. And it isn't. But experiencing it is different. What hurts is all the things we won't be able to share with him anymore. He won't be there at dinner to make us laugh with his stories. My daughters won't grow up knowing him. What hurts most is worrying about my grandma. They did absolutely everything together, and like she told me yesterday, when you're one, you're one. I don't know how she will do with this.

Three days ago I was visiting with them at the hospital (my sweet sis was in the car with the three lassies watching Toy Story) and the nurses had to insert a new IV into his arm that went straight to his heart. They asked me to hold his hand, and seeing him in that much pain wrenched my heart. Oh I cried and cried. I'm glad such a great soul isn't shackled to his body anymore, but I will miss him. The last three days I've just sat with my grandma and cried with her, and then we'd both try to cheer each other up....

My heart feels like lead in my chest, and I've been so weepy I am starting to feel numb. I'm worried about my dad. I've never seen him so sad. He's had to wear a lot of hats this week: doctor, dad, family leader, support. This is hard.

Grandpa was the most charitable person I have ever known. Both my grandparents gave whatever they could whenever they could, and selflessly helped everyone. I'm not saying this through the lens of grief or remembering things more fondly than they were, but grandma and grandpa are the closest to perfect I think you can get in this life. I mean that.

I'm trying to let myself grieve but also keep taking care of my girls, and keep unpacking. Its strange how having this house has been one of the happiest times of my life, watching the girls play in the yard and the joy that we've had owning our own place, has been coupled with undoubtedly one of the saddest times of my life. Its like both end of my emotional experience have been stretched.

This next little while will be really hard, for everyone, and I'll try to be a cheerful support as best I can, especially to my dear grandma. Distractions are a good thing.

On top of everything else, its Daina's seventeenth birthday. Poor kid. But I told her we're going to have a 'make-up' birthday, in Disneyland. We'll sing 'Happy Birthday' to her in line for the new Little Mermaid ride. I wouldn't be surprised if after everything has calmed down, we make a break for the happiest place on earth.


  1. **hugs**
    Sometimes realizing how much of your grief is really all about you helps you process it better. But allow yourself to stretch at both ends for a while. That sort of stretching makes for marvelous refined people.

  2. So sorry to hear of your grandpa's passing. I've had several family members die in recent years (as you know), and I've realized that it's a good thing to grieve. I hope you and your family feel lots of comfort and love at this time.

  3. I know Shelley, I feel the same way.