Remembering Those We’ve Lost

Aloha again and welcome!

2525819057042As many of you may already know, my grandpa recently passed away, so this post is going to be a dedication to him, and to share my feelings and experience. I am one that cannot express emotion or talk without crying, intensely, so I usually stay quiet and don’t say much to prevent waterworks and mumbling. It has been almost healing to write this and share with you my past week or so, and where I can cry my eyes out while being hidden behind a keyboard! So here it goes…and at the end I will also share a household tip I have to take care of a common keepsake we may inherit from loved ones. On July 11, 2015, my grandpa was awaiting to be discharged from the hospital after being sick for a few days, where he then suddenly passed, peacefully. This was very unexpected for our family, as he was being discharged in that same moment, so we were all in shock to lose him. My grandpa, Robert James Panehal Sr., was an amazing, humble, strong, witty, and loving grandpa, who really did live a long and loved life. He was 91 years old, had 5 children, my dad being his only son, 12 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. My grandpa was a caregiver to my grandma, who was diagnosed with alzheimers the year I was born, he solely took care of her for 14 years until she passed in 2002. He was a WWII army medic, and we found out after he passed that he was awarded 3 bronze stars we were all unaware of. My grandpa loved to visit us in Hawaii, and we would visit him in Cleveland, OH as well. Towards the end when my grandma was harder to care for he couldn’t travel much. So later after my grandma’s passing my parents took us on a cruise and brought him to get him out of the house. On cruises, they seat you with other passengers at dinner. We were seated with another married couple and their mother, Kat. Kat and my grandpa hit it off immediately, and they soon fell in love and married a couple years later. Kat was also a WWII Medic, widowed, and helped my grandpa feel love again after being a caregiver for so long. As you can see my grandpa was loved by his family, has loved my grandma and their children, and then got to love again with Kat. He had many friends in a community he lived in for many decades, and was a hero to many others. But even though he had an long amazing life, it doesn’t make missing him any easier… My grandpas funeral was honestly the hardest thing I have gone through. Losing him was already very hard, but seeing how many people loved and respected him all at once, was indescribably intense. It also brought all our family together which many I haven’t seen in over a decade, so that on top of it all…overwhelming. So summing it up, it was heart wrenching, but still bitter sweet in that we were all brought together to honor one very important man. My grandpas funeral was a three day event, July 16-18, 2015. The first day was the wake where he received a lot of military honors and a 21 gun salute, all of our family and family friends were there, and my grandpa was dressed up in his military suit in a stunning casket, he looked handsome as ever. The next day was our time to say goodbye followed by a procession to the funeral and catholic mass. The church was beautiful, the day was gloomy and the sky about to break. My dad and cousins were all Paul Bearers, which brought tears to my eyes anytime I looked, all I could think about was my dad…My dad and grandpa were best friends, and he is such a strong man to hold it together and to carry his father, because I know I wasn’t, I am not even holding it together right now writing this! They carried him into the church where he had a touching service with some of my cousins readings, and where my aunt sung beautifully, and more tears came…we went outside the church where they did the military service. They played the military taps and then handed the flag to Kat, and just when I thought my heart couldn’t break anymore, there it did all over again. I really don’t understand how the human heart can handle this. The sky broke but as a faint mist, as my father and cousins lifted my grandpa into the hertz and we said goodbye. The next day was the day we were supposed to have the burial of my grandpa, unfortunately it had to be delayed due to rain. So instead our whole family went to visit the gravesite, where my grandma is already waiting for him, and we had a family memorial for him, and to visit grandma at the same time. We all said our goodbyes, and spent the day together as a family at my grandparents lake cabin. My grandpa was finally laid to rest only yesterday, next to my grandma, on Kelley’s Island, the place they loved the most.

Grandpa’s Obituary

11755746_10205518715259504_6330344860398677051_n 1514977_10205518728619838_7823784775886216377_n 10982357_10205518720819643_8984630527211728475_n 11755803_10205518728259829_8724536874706345534_n

Robert James Panehal Sr. 1924-2015

So while we were all together on that last day, apparently awhile ago my mom had asked for a silver tea set that my grandma had left to her but she never brought home this whole time, and asked to store it at the cabin until she visited next, which we never knew would be for my grandpas funeral. My mom said she wanted me to have it. I didn’t have anything of my grandmas, so this was really special to me, and sentimental in that it was during this time. I brought it home, and want to share with you how I polish my silver. Silver can be a messy and a pain to polish, but I have found this simpler way to accomplish it. This is all my silver items, all needs a good polishing, the tea set from my grandma is the back left set 🙂 2015-07-26 07.50.34 To polish silver you will need; -aluminum foil -baking soda -boiling water (make sure its boiling, hot water doesn’t work as well) Step 1: boil enough water to submerge silver item in Step 2: line either a sink or tub with foil, shiny side up Step 3: add 1/2 cup to 1 cup baking soda on top of foil 2015-07-26 15.37.49 Step 4: add boiling water to sink, over foil and baking soda 2015-07-26 14.06.31 Step 5: using tongs add silver item and submerge Step 6: soak for up to 30 minutes, turn half way through 2015-07-26 15.29.34 Step 7: take out and enjoy! 2015-07-26 16.35.52 I didn’t polish the tray yet in this picture, but you can see the difference in the tea pots 🙂

Thank you for listening to my story, I know we have all lost someone, or someday will, and I hope this gives you a moment to think of you’re lost loved ones too.


6 thoughts on “Remembering Those We’ve Lost

  1. Dear Jen: I knew when I watched you across the table at the Village Pump at Kelleys Island;, quiet, taking in all the craziness of our family around you, no one getting a word in edgewise; that you were indeed a person who internalized the emotions madly swirling around, but needed time to process…my Dani is much the same…so when I saw your blog about Dad, I knew it would be heartfelt, compassionate and insightful. It was all that, and more, thanks, Love, Alexi


  2. That was a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. What a great long life he lived and happy you could tell his story and share your precious family moments. Memories and photos help to keep our loved ones that are gone very much alive in our hearts forever. Your grandparents were both blessed to have such a loving family and a granddaughter like you to be so proud of.
    Time will heal your sorrow and know they sometimes send signs so you never forget them. Sending prayers and hugs for you Jen.


  3. On a lighter note, thanks for that great silver polishing tip. I have a few things from my mom I
    will try that on. Polish sure didn’t work. 🙂 I’m anxious to see if it comes out as nice as your
    beautiful tea set did..Thanks again. Love, Pat… P.S. I love your Blogs, they really come to life!!!


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