On Saturday, we chatted and relaxed (and I ate) all day. In the evening, we had a big party with my cousins and my Uncle’s extended family. It was sooooo nice.
During lunch, my mom called me to tell me that my Dedelis, my maternal grandfather, had passed away in a hospital at the age of 101. I knew it was coming soon…they said his veins had collapsed so they couldn’t put in IVs, so I was kind of waiting for the call. :/
My grandfather, Frank Danyla’s parents came to the USA from Lithuania to give birth to him in 1911 to make him an American citizen. Then, he went back and was raised in Lithuania. When he turned 18, he came back to the US to find his fortune and….! Was IMMEDIATELY drafted into the military to fight in World War II. What lousy luck, right? He could barely speak English, but was promptly shipped out, where he served his time. Upon return to the US, he got various manual labor factory jobs and had an arranged marriage with my grandmother, Vincenta, another Lithuanian. (I carry her name as my middle name). They had four kids, my mother was the youngest. They were a working class family, and certainly worked their butts off. My grandfather also worked on a farm and grew produce. He kept working that farm until he was like 80 something years old. We think that’s what kept him healthy.
My grandmother also lived until her late eighties. I have tough, long-lasting genes in my mother’s side. Not the most healthy….like everyone has come kind of cancer, but definitely long lasting. My grandfather was very close minded and kind of kooky, but he always played with me and and was so nice to me. I’m the only child in the family, out of his four children. We used to live over 6 hours away by car, so we only visited twice or three times a year, but I loved him. He used to have snowball fights with me, boil me eggs for Easter, hand over 100 dollars when I visited, so Mom took me out and bought me some toy afterwards. She would always say, “Now, this is from Dedelis.”
After he became older and less and less mobile, didn’t get out and was very lonely, because nobody had time to stay with him. It was very sad.
There was a years-long struggle to get him out of his house and into this veteran’s home.
He liked it there a lot, we think. I think he was 95 or 96 years old when he moved there? When I visited him in the home, he was smiling a lot more!
Mom, my aunt and myself were SO happy about.
That’s where he stayed until he passed away. We think he felt loved and cared for, and that’s fantastic. It would have been a shame if he’d passed alone in his lonely house, but he was in a nice clean room, and my aunt was by his side. It’s okay.