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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tribute to Grandpa Riggs

My grandpa Riggs passed away on April 14. The funeral was yesterday. I have to say I've never had anyone so close to me pass away. The closest was Jason's Grandma Moss. She passed away last January. I took it really hard, so when we thought my grandpa was ready to go I was afraid I'd loose it. Heres the story...

My grandpa had cancer about 2 years ago. He beat it and went through radiation. This last november he came down with Pneumonia and was hospitalized on my birthday. When he got out of the hospital he just never fully recovered and went down hill. He had been loosing weight like crazy, because he wouldn't eat much. Well about last thursday he started not eating at all. Little sips of water, some small cups of ice cream, not taking his pills. He was loosing about 2 lbs a week. So on thursday my grandma called my mom. She said Grandpa said he was "going home to Mother and Dad." My grandma asked when, and I think my grandpa said in the next day or two. We headed over to see him that night. I went over again on Sunday. He was still talking, hard to understand but he was talking. Monday they got him on Hospice and got a hospital bed there for him. Tuesday the nurse said he was unresponsive and would prob not make it 48 hours. After bunco my mom and I headed out there. I got there and sure enough he was quite unresponsive. He'd slightly squeeze my hand and I could see he was in pain. I was there till midnight and then shayna and brady took me home. I wasn't home maybe 10 minutes when my mom called and said grandpa had gone. It was hard. But I know grandpa was suffering and now he's not. He's in a better place and I will see him again.

The viewing and funeral went great. My grandma had all the grandkids that wanted to speak say some memories of grandpa. Trisha, Branson, Cade, Haylee, Jaycie, Shayna and I all spoke. Jenny read the life Sketch. Nicole did a speach on celebrating Grandpa's new life. At the grave, the American Legion did a WONDERFUL job with the 21 gun solute and the taps. I was so humbled.

My speach went like this:

My mom and sisters always joke around that if I am going to speak I have to go last because I make everyone cry. I’m going to try my hardest not to do that today.

When my sister first mentioned that grandma was going to have all the grandkids share some of their memories of Grandpa, I instantly knew what I would say. For Grandpa’s birthday, Christmas or Father’s day my mom would often give him a container of Chocolate covered Raisins. Now if you know me, you know that I do not like chocolate. Well Grandpa’s chocolate covered raisins were something else. Every time we’d go over there I’d ask Grandpa if I could have some of his raisins. He’d always say yes. I can’t remember a time that he said no. So him and I always shared our love for chocolate covered raisins and that is why he nickamed me Raisin.

Another memory of I have very distinctly of grandpa until the last few years was him sitting in his bar stool in the kitchen drinking his coffee. That was his seat, and everyone knew it.

My first time behind the wheel of a vehicle was with grandpa. I was helping him out by the barn. I jumped in the drivers seat and grandpa taught me how to drive. I pushed the break with my right foot and grandpa said no no that’s now how you do it. Use your left foot for the break. I said are you sure? That’s not how my parents drive. He said that don’t matter, this is how I do it. He was so funny and he kept on me the whole time about using my left foot for the break and right for the gas. That wasn’t easy.

When Grandpa became not as mobile that hardly stopped him. He was always riding that darn riding lawn mower to the barn and back. Grandma always called it his “legs”. Grandpa couldn’t always get to the barn very easily on foot but his legs would carry him where he needed to go.

I remember grandpa’s distinct laugh, his penguin walk the last few years and all the traveling stories he loved to tell. How he and grandma both loved their Jazz and watching those old western movies.

My grandpa’s sister shared some fun memories of grandpa I’d like to pass along today. “Billy, as he was called, caused more than his fair share of excitement in the Riggs Household. He loved cork guns, BB guns, and sling shots. The sling shots sure caused him some trouble. Once he wanted to make a new sling and asked his dad for some leather. His dad sent him down to the grainery to get an old harness to use. Well he sure found a harness, his dad’s bran new one. He cut it up and used that to make his sling shot. Boy was he ever in trouble. The sling shots cause more trouble than just that though. Billy and a friend were caught shooting the heads off the daffodils in the front yard. He also broke a window and Deanna recalls dogs and cats scattering when Billy and his sling shot were around. Deanna also said that my Grandpa introduced pigeons to their neighborhood and let me tell you, they are still hanging around the barn today.”

Grandpa was always willing to help others, especially when it came to cars. My dad recalls one time he was working on a car and he’s not sure what he did wrong but my mom called her dad. Grandpa said “Carol, before you let Steve touch anything else, you give me a call.” He didn’t want my dad messing anything else up. If you ever had car troubles he was always there to help. Grandpa often came to the recue when we needed him.

I could keep going on and on about memories of my dear grandpa. He was a wonderful man and we were so lucky to have him with us for as long as we did. I love you Grandpa always have and always will. You too Grandma.

I took about 150 pictures in the last few days so here are only a few.

My best friend Alexis. I'm so glad she came to the viewing to support me. It means a lot Lex!

Deanna and Glenn, my grandpa's siblings by his casket.

The inset in his casket. A barn like the one at their house.
Steph, Shayna, Grandma, Stacey and Mom at the viewing on friday.

The hurst.
Pallbearers with the casket.
Folding the flag.
With the flowers from Grandma
Presenting my grandma the shells from the 21 gun solute and the tribute read.
Presenting the flag to Grandma

Stacey and Shayna by the casket one last time.
The whole family.
My grandma's siblings. Laurine, Reed, Sandra (reed's wife), Grandma, Clair, Mary (Clair's Wife).

1 comment:

Larsons said...

hey stace.. wonderful post. will you please make a cd with ALL the pictures.. i dont care if i'm not in them? :) and i'll get it tonight? is there anyway you can do that for me?