Life and Legacy

 RL Hyde
July 3, 1931 - September 22, 2012

In the midst of finding out we were moving to Colorado I received a phone call from my dear mother that my grandpa had been given only a few days maybe a couple of weeks to live. He was in the hospital in Reno, NV and his final request was that he go home to be with his family for his last days. 

I called my mom everyday and everyday his condition worsened. I wanted to go home so bad to see him and the nurse in me to help care for him, but our life in Arkansas was getting so complicated. I spoke on the phone with him on a Tuesday. He was tired and weak but still the same ol guy that I love so much. He asked about me and my girls. About Easy. I told him our big news for Colorado. He said that we had better not vote for Obama - and I assured him that we wouldn't. Near the end of our conversation he told me he loved me and I told him that I loved him. I could tell he was so tired so we said our goodbyes. 

That Friday we bought a plane ticket to Nevada for the next Friday and the very next morning he passed away. 

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We arrived in Colorado on Wednesday, unloaded the moving truck Thursday, and Friday morning I was on a plane with my little Rosebud to Reno wishing so desperately that Easy was by my side. 

As soon as we got there Mom and I hit up the floral wholesaler for the casket flowers. Red roses, Sunflowers, Spider Mums, Hypericum, Seeded Euc, Pussywillow, and wheat while my dad harvested Sagebrush straight from the desert for the final touches.

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When we arrived at the house my grandpa's worn and dirty saddle sat in the entryway. My heart ached seeing it there. Mom was the creative genius behind the casket piece and I executed it. Years ago she had build one on a saddle. I took a deep breaths as the scent of the flowers filled the house hoping I could pull it off. It has been years since I've been in a flower shop. She prepared the eulogy for the funeral as I cut and placed each stem. If there was a hole she would help me fill it if something was slightly off she would balance it. The whole time I thought about my cowboy grandpa as the Sagebrush wafted in and out of the room as people came and went...his rough hands, his scent, his tipped hat, his holler, and his scratchy kisses on my cheeks. 

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That evening as we brought the saddle into the viewing I fell apart as it was taken from my arms and placed on his beautiful pine casket. My grandma came and held me for a few moments and I was never so grateful for her love and touch. She was a beacon of light and hope telling me in that moment just what I needed to hear. She let me cry and held me tight filling my spirit with restored faith in God's plan and assuring me that my Grandpa was free from his sick body that could no longer hold him.

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The next morning proved to be equally difficult at the private family viewing and as the services were held. My mom and her siblings each gave beautiful talks. There wasn't a dry eye in the building as we missed RL's presence and as we delighted in stories from his marvelous life. 

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 22 Pallbearers and Mother Tossing Dirt

I love that each one of my cousins was there except 2 that are serving missions and my one brother that is serving in the military who wasn't able to make it. My grandparents legacy was so evident in the 22 pallbearers that took turns carrying his casket so reverently.

I love that at the burial site all who weren't family were asked to leave as my uncle explained Grandpa's  request to be buried by "his own." After special permission from the cemetery a tractor with dirt was brought over and each member that wished to was able to say something before placing dirt in the grave. My grandpa respectfully called it "Indian Style."

I love that my grandma wore a red dress. 

I love that my cousin paraphrased Elder Nelson's quote so eloquently, "Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life."

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My Handsome Brothers and I 

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My Closest Fallon Hyde Cousins

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My sweet Rosie was an absolute trooper through the whole thing. Love that she got to come along. Love that she has some of this strong, devoted, fighting Hyde blood in her. 

Love you Grandpa. 

Past posts with reference to my Hyde Family Heritage here, here, here, here and here


Rachel said...

Hayley, this brought tears to my eyes. Looks like you gave your grandpa a beautiful send off.

JCLS said...

Oh Hayley, I am sorry about your Grandpa. My Grandma passed away September 22, 2006 so it looks like we share another day in common. :) I love love what you wrote and reminded me of when my Grandma passed, Jason couldn't be with me but it was wonderful being with all of my cousins and family. Grandparents are the best. The flowers were absolutely beautiful and how special that you were able to do that.

Courtney said...

I also think you did a great job with the flowers.

Briawna said...

Nothing can replace the awesomeness of grandparents. This totally made me cry! Hope all is well is CO. Give those girls a hug for us.

P.S. The flowers were gorgeous!

Mandy Smith said...

Thanks for writing this, it's beautiful to see the legacy that he left behind. The flowers were exquisite and it says a lot that the whole family was there! I am sorry for your loss and know that one day you will be together again.

Jord said...

What a sweet and sad experience. I didn't know you put together the flowers. You can see the love that you put into placing each stem and I'm so glad you had such a personal experience with your Grandma. You are so good and carrying on the legacy they started.

Lechelle said...

I'm so sorry. I'm sorry you didn't get to see him in your final goodbye, that must have been so hard. Your saddle flowers are such a beautiful expression of your love. Elder Nelson's quote about death from his Doors of Death talk that your cousin shared is one of my favorites.

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