This morning at 6:12am I got a phone call from my dad. I didn’t want to answer it, not just because I didn’t want to wake Jad, but mostly because I knew what his call would mean: my grandpa had passed away.
I didn’t cry then, but I lay in my bed wishing that if I went back to sleep, the news wouldn’t be true. But, instead I slowly got up and called my dad back.
As I spoke with my dad and mom, we shared feelings of sadness, but also joy – joy that there is a lovely family reunion going on right now with Grandpa, my aunt Betsy, my Uncle Roy, and Grandpa’s other deceased family; relief – relief that he is no longer suffering; hope – hope in the gospel of Christ that promises that families exist beyond the grave and we will see each other again.
No, I didn’t cry then. I stayed strong as I told Jad and the kids, all at different times. Everyone was solemn and sad at the news. And then, later that morning I cried. I was so sad. I felt horrible that I didn’t get to see Grandpa one last time – we had actually planned to go see him this morning (my parents, my sister, and myself). We didn’t expect him to die so soon after going into hospice a couple days ago, but I suppose God needed him home.
I went back to bed for a little while to ease my sadness, and was awakened by a call from Barbara, who has been a grandmother to me my whole life. She is my grandpa’s devoted and faithful wife, who we all love dearly. She is so loving and strong, and I felt peace as we spoke today.
The rest of the day has been hard. I have been keeping myself busy, but with the feeling of loss hanging over me. Jad has been good at helping me out and doing some of the many things I had to do today for me.
But this post isn’t about me and my needs. I write this to honor my grandpa, Marvin Thacker.
Grandpa served faithfully in the Air Force. In November 2012 he visited Casey’s school for Take a Vet to School Day and told of his service.
Then in November 2021, the last time we visited him and Barbara (since after that he was too ill to be around the children), he told stories of his service to my kids. It was that time together that helped Rigel know that he also wanted to serve in the Air Force. He has faithfully stuck to that dream.
He loved talking to my kids on Facebook Messenger, and he and Jad built up a relationship over the years as well.
He was also so giving. He has given Casey and Jad very nice clothes and shoes that they greatly appreciate. He loved collecting nice things since he didn’t have them growing up.
Grandpa always was so humorous and never lost that sense of humor. He loved sports and was an expert golfer.
He and Barbara sent money to each of us every birthday and Christmas our whole lives, and we always looked forward to that along with a card. My kids have enjoyed those kind gestures since they have been born as well.
I remember as a kid travelling down to NC (we lived in VA then) and visiting their home. I remember the smell of the honeysuckle and watching old movies like “The Apple Dumpling Gang.” I remember going to buffets every time we went to eat together. I remember eating out of the candy jar – Grandpa loved candy and chocolate.
I’m grateful that my children had some special memories with their great grandpa as well.
Grandpa loved to travel all over with Barbara. Their love of travelling and being together always brought a smile to my face. I will truly miss Grandpa, and the outstanding pair that he and Barbara has made for all these years.
A friend of mine lost someone very close to her nine years ago, and as a way to comfort her, I sent her this link in hopes of bringing her peace: Life Has Purpose | ComeUntoChrist (churchofjesuschrist.org). I hope this same link can bring hope and peace to Marvin Thacker’s friends and loved ones at this very difficult time.
I adore this poem by President Gordon B. Hinckley and I hope it also brings peace and hope for the future:
Goodbye for now, Grandpa, until we meet again. I know you will be watching over us and never far.