Wednesday, August 28, 2013

RIP Grandpa Jim

On Monday, August 5th around 9:30, Big Jim was in a horrible car accident while driving to meet his sons at the movies. He lived to say his final goodbyes to those he loved, and passed merely 8 days later August 13th, at 6:42pm.  
The woman who hit him was a DUI and hit and run:

It has been a trying couple of weeks for our family.  I will not get into it now because there is just too much to explain and express. But I will say that this experience has taught me, and the family, so many things and has forever changed our lives.  We have been greatly blessed throughout this experience and really want to remember and focus on the good, though it is extremely difficult to get past the bad.  I loved this man as if he were my own father, and I will morn his death forever.  We will miss our "favorite" dearly. 

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks: 

During the first three days, Jim was alert and able to communicate via communication board. It took a few minutes just to get a word out, but when we were able to decipher what is is that he wanted to say, we were all thrilled and very proud.  This was not a small task, and Cameron took it upon himself to be the communicator (since he was the best at it).  For some of us it would take 15-20 minutes just to get ONE word! During these few days, we all were able to tell Jim how much we loved him and were proud of him, and he was able to tell us the same...the last thing that he said to me as I hugged him before his surgery was, "you're a sweetheart".  I could read his lips clearly (which had been extremely difficult), and I cried and gave him a kiss and hug and told him I loved him.  That was the last time that he really tried to communicate with me.  I couldn't be more grateful for that moment.

  This was a pic from the morning after the accident after we had learned that Jim was paralyzed from the neck down, and would probably remain on a respirator for the remainder of his life.  He was awaiting surgery to stabilize his neck, and was in decent spirits (thinking that it was going to "fix him"). Jim knew that he was paralyzed and even though we told him that this surgery would not reverse the nerve damage, I believe that Jim still had hope that feeling would come back to his limbs.  It wasn't until after the surgery that reality stepped in and he knew that hope was gone.  This is when he started declining.
There were many tragic yet beautiful moments such as this one.  The love between Jim and Elaine in the recent years was so inspiring to see.  They truly loved and cared for one another, and I am so blessed to have been a witness to that love.  
These are some of the pics that the kids drew for Grandpa. We wanted to put something on the ceiling since that is all Jim was able to look at day in and day out.   Macey's picture is on bottom, Dylan's in the middle which shows a "Happy Grandpa" in lieu of the accident.  He told me he wanted to draw Grandpa lifting up the car and being a superhero and smiling through it all.  Sydney's is at the top and she and grandpa are "playing" together.
There were many times during those first few days and the day after the surgery when Jim wanted to physically see his arms and hands.  I think he wanted to make sure that he wasn't moving them on his own. I think his brain at this time was telling him that he was moving his hand into a "fist" and he needed to see for himself to make sure that this was/wasn't the case.
Here was a pic (one of many) of the boys surrounding grandma during their grief.  There were many family meetings that took place over the course of those 8 days, and many family hugs and moments of support and love.  The Mount family is a strong one, and together they were/are able to get through this.
There was a lot of crying and a lot of laughing during these long tough days in the waiting room. We were only allowed 2-3 people in to see Jim at a time...so you can imagine the waiting room full of all (but 3) of us crazy Mounts. It wouldn't be a Mount event without laughter to help us through :)  
 Kurt Rambis (fellow Laker and current assistant coach), heard about the accident via "Reddit" and sent a care package to the hospital.  Jim was such a Lakers fan, and it really meant a lot to the family.  He sent a ball signed by the team, as well as one signed by Phil Jackson, an ugly shirt that was perfect for Jim, some bobble heads, and some other gear. 
President Bush also wrote a very sweet personalized letter!  It was so sweet.  Glen beck sent this picture too.  Jim would have LOVED to see these and I would have loved to be able to laugh and talk about these pictures with him (since our political views are so different :)  I almost might switch sides after this :)  Such thoughtful people to send this stuff.  Conservatives are good for something after all!  LOL!
 During our trips back and forth to the hospital, and to Elaine's, we spotted the state trooper (the same one from the scene of the accident) doing the official investigation at the crash site. Another tender mercy (#202).  We stopped to ask him questions and he emotionally answered everything he was allowed to in order to give us some closure.  We saw the flags of where the cars were hit and where they ended up, etc. We were so blessed to have such a dedicated and respectful man helping us out. It was emotional and hard, but we are all so grateful to know how the events of that night played out.
One of many hugs...I still can't believe it...not sure when I will...
 A last goodbye from the family (Allan and Coco are on the phone)...
We had said several prayers and given many blessings at this point...the family was there in the end loving and holding on to their amazing dad.  Those final moments will forever be ingrained into my heart and soul.  It was the hardest thing I have ever had to see/watch, but I am so grateful that I was able to be there. 
Tender mercy #203 
No man should have survived this crash. I am forever grateful for those last days that we had together with Jim. The other pics were tough to see...the cabin was a bit smashed...the tires were knocked off...the back and front windows were shattered...It brings me to tears every time I see these pics...but I wanted to have one of them on record

Grandpa passed peacefully and without pain.  A mercy (#300) that he and we were all given. He wouldn't have wanted to live like that for the remainder of his life, but he could have.  There was no medical reason as to why his body started declining...the Dr told us that he believed that Jim's will to live was gone.  We all agreed.  Jim held out as long as he could to provide the comfort needed to his family, but he didn;t want his family to have to take care of him, and he didn't want to live a life such as this one. What an inspiration and what a merciful God.  Jim was "one of the Great and Noble ones" and I believe that Heavenly Father allowed him, because of his service and devotion to him, to have this time with his family. I feel he was granted extra time to say goodbye and put his family at ease. That may sound corny, but there really is no doubt in my mind about that.  He was a choice spirit here on earth, and I feel he was rewarded greatly in the end because of that.


In Preparation for family and visitors for the funeral services:  
Dylan and I helped clean up a bit for the guests at Grandma house.  Dylan was greatly affected by Grandpas death and wanted to help out.  He keeps saying that he wants to mow grandmas lawn for her someday the way grandpa used to do it..."with blowers and everything".  Such a sweetheart.  He cried and cried when he heard the news, but a few days after the funeral, Dylan said to Cameron, "I'm not sad anymore about Grandpa because I know he is happier now in heaven".  I am so grateful for the gospel and knowledge of our Heavenly father and the Plan of Salvation!
One of my favorite moments in the hospital was when we decided to skype with Grandpa.  We brought our kids to the waiting room even though they were too young to go in, and we walked the iPad back to grandpas room.  The kids were able to talk to him on the iPad and it was during this conversation that we saw Jim light up the most.  He started blinking his eyes like crazy and distorting his face for the kids.  They were able to talk to him and tell them they loved him and when we asked him to blink his eyes to say he loved them back, he couldn't stop.  He wanted them to know that he loved them, and I was so incredibly grateful for that.  I think we all cried while watching that beautiful moment.  That memory will stay with me forever.  It goes to show what an AMAZING grandpa he was.  Dylan had to bring the latest grandpa project with him to the funeral.   He brought his sword with him and brought it with him even into the chapel.  :)  He wanted to feel Grandpa with him.  He still keeps it close by at all times in the house.


 Tables at the viewing and service:

the Grandpa Table: many of these pictures are hung up in Grandpas workroom
 (Dylan's Gun that he drew him is on the right)
 His hobbies:
 His legacy:
The sign in:
 I will have/add more about the Eulogy and service as I feel fit to write and express more about it all...but here is the last picture I have...at Jim's burial site:

I will miss this man more than I even know. 
 I will miss his Christlike example in my life, his never ending service, his charity, and his hugs.  I will miss the way that I felt when I was around him, the way that he made me feel like I was the most important person in the room, and the way that he whispered to me often that I was "his favorite".  I will miss the hope and potential that he saw in me, and the sheer love in his eyes when he talked to me.  I will miss shooting hoops with him and beating him at HORSE.  I will miss watching him make projects in his workshop with Dylan, and having him show them off to me afterwards.  I will miss him teaching my kids how to fish, and how to find "just the right spot".  I will miss him jumping in the Lake with his hat on. I will miss him sitting on the doc and cheering us on as we water ski and tube.  I will miss our political chats and arguments.  I will miss his Fox television! I will miss his desire to show me and tell me every little detail about his trips with his wife, and the newest tool that he has bought.  I will miss doing projects with him, tying quilts, laying wood in the attic, building a workbench, tiling our kitchen floor, etc...(I don't know that I can ever leave this house since he is such a part of it). Above all, I will miss his eternal optimism and wisdom.  That optimism that I need when I am struggling with something horrible, something spiritual, something hard.  I will miss his face. This face. I will miss him.  I will miss him.  I will miss his stupid jokes, and his "REDNESS".  I will miss HIM.
I will miss this great man with all of my heart, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is where he needs to be, and that he is fulfilling his calling in the next life.


I love you Jimmy Dee and I am so grateful to have known you for as long as I have.  I am so grateful for those talks early on when you told me I would be great for your son, and when you guided me on how to push him and take care of him .  I'm so grateful for your support and your love...I never felt deserving of it.  I am so grateful to be a part of your family, and your legacy.  Thank you.  Thank you for helping me become the woman that I am today.  Thank you for passing on your greatness to your son...he learned all he knows from you and your amazing wife...If I can't have you around, I know that he comes the closest to filling those shoes. I never knew a greater man, and that is no lie. I love you.

You made us proud Jimmy, and you done good :)

1 comment:

Jennifer Corbett said...

Wow...so well said! Thank you for sharing and expressing this. It is so how I feel about him as he has been in my life my whole life. Love you all and Big Jim.