Thursday, November 21, 2013


Tuesday afternoon, a little after 1 pm, I got a call from my grandma.  Grandpa stopped eating and Hospice gave him about 2-3 days.  A couple of phone calls, texts ("Uh... we are going out of town and won't be going to such and such"), and two hours later, the family was in the minivan headed west to see Grandpa.

A little after 6 pm, we surprised Grandma by showing up.  She was there alone with Grandpa, as no other family had come into town yet.
 We got the chance to say our goodbyes.  I think Grandpa knew we were there.  It was hard to see him sick and wasted, but I'm glad I had the chance.

We took Grandma home, and spent a little more time with her before piling back in the car to drive back home.
This morning Grandpa passed away.  While the kids were at school and I was exercising, he passed into the next life.  My heart aches that we've lost a wonderful man from our mortal life, but I'm glad that he's no longer confined to his bed and so sick.
Helmuth Nissen turned 91 years old this year.  He was born in Denmark, survived Polio and walked again after he was told he never would, was part of the Danish Underground Resistance during WWII, became a jeweler, traveled much (his "vagabond days"), converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, immigrated the US, and eventually married my Grandma 40 years ago.

He was talented, artistic, patient, caring, thoughtful, trusting, and a stubborn Dane.  He loved to tell stories from his past.  He never lost his Danish accent, although he became an American citizen so many years ago.  He made my wedding ring.

Although he was not related to me by blood, this is the man I know as my Grandpa.  Because of his influence, I married someone wonderful, rather like him.

You will be very missed.  But I am thankful for my knowledge of the gospel and the Plan of Salvation, and look forward to seeing you again someday.

I'm thankful for my supportive husband.  He dropped everything to come with me on Tuesday, even though it meant half sleep-walking at work yesterday, and staying up until 10:30 last night catching up on his master's homework.  He even came home during his lunch time today to give me a hug.  I love you, Ryan.


Tasha said...

Thank you for writing this Danae.

Sunnyside CTE said...

It is a complement to be compared with this man. My love and appreciation for him is great for all years he spent loving and caring for Danae before I knew her. He is a great example to me what it means to be an American. He was a Dane but was also a proud American who cored fr himself and family. We would be better off with more men like him. Love you Danae