David Edward Clounts Sr.

David Clounts Sr. was my husband’s grandfather.  He took my husband into his home when his mother abandoned him at a young age.  He helped raise my husband.  He contributed in making my husband the soft spoken, kind, and patient man that he is.

David was diagnosed with cancer last week, and was told he had five months to live.  We had planned to visit him next Tuesday after my fertility appointment.  I was going to make him pineapple upside down cake when he got home from the hospital.  If you have cancer, you get to eat whatever you want with zero consequences.  I had planned to spoil the crap out of him.  We thought we had more time.  Maybe even time to get pregnant, and bring a little good news to him during a devastating part of his life.

This Monday we got a call that his kidneys were failing and we needed to leave right away if we wanted to say goodbye.  I had a meltdown at work and left right away while my husband packed.  We made the five hour trip to Dallas in three and a half.

I won’t go into the details of how he looked, but he was in so much pain.  We watched him at some point take off his oxygen mask, shakily pull in his wife, and kiss her.  It broke my heart.

I don’t want to go into the details of how he died.  I want to talk about how he lived.

I knew David Clounts Sr. for eight years of my life.  He accepted me into his family from day one as if I had been there the whole time.  He was funny.  A real jokester.

He loved his iPad.  On it he would challenge us to beat his high scores on various puzzle games.  The man could do a Sudoku game in no time flat.  He admitted to Facebook stalking my bearded dragon, Lizby, thinking she was such a neat pet.  He loved videos about animals.

David was extremely frugal, but also generous.  I personally watched him spend twenty minutes deciding which brand of boxed mashed potatoes were the best deal.  But when I was in college, he was ready to buy us a house without thinking twice.  He helped everyone he came in contact with.  Whether it was explaining how to fix something, helping his family both personally or financially, or adopting various stray animals that had been abandoned on the road near his house.

With animals he was so funny.  A random stray dog would show up down the road, and end up on his stretch of land.  If I went to pet it, he would holler at me from across the yard.

“No!  Don’t pet it, we don’t want to keep it!” but five minutes later he would be petting the animal himself.  When the dog stayed for good he’d say,

“It’s because you petted it.  Now we have to keep it.” but he didn’t seem too upset by it.

There were always cats around outside that he fed.  Now there are only two left, but I remember so many animals around his house.

Current residents:
Max is a black mastiff.  Tex is a mutt, but he’s black and tan.  Molly belongs to Diana, the aid that takes care of his grandmother.  She’s a Britney spaniel.  Very cute.  Puff is a grey and white cat that will try his hardest to climb up your leg to get patted.  Jewel is a solid grey cat that continuously cries at you no matter what you do.  If you touch her, if you look at her, or pick her up, it will evoke a long drawn out meow from her.  Reno is a dog that lives with my husband’s father David Jr. who lives across the way, but Reno comes over to play.  Cricket is a rather mean cat that keeps to herself and lives indoors.  Don’t cross her path.  There is also a bird that loves being talked to.

In the past I remember Animal (Annie), a sweet, light colored, tortoiseshell cat.  A fat, shy striped cat named Stripes.  Tom, an orange tom cat.  Beebee, who looked just like Tex, but was so shy and loving.  Honey, a creme colored dog with curly furred ears, and Ace, Tex’s long haired brother.  No animal was turned away, and if he couldn’t feed them all he had friends who would take them in or re-home them.

I’m really going to miss calling him on my way home from work to hear him pick up the phone with a,

“Hellooooooo?” as he always did.

I’m going to miss coming down from upstairs in his house after spending the night to find him on the couch playing on his iPad.  He’d ask if we slept well, told us there was coffee, and he’d scoot over so I could sit beside him and lean on him sleepily.  I’m going to miss hearing him say he loved us whenever we’d end a call.  I’m going to miss hugging his neck before and after each visit.

I’m going to miss setting the table at this house before sitting down to a meal that my husband’s grandmother had cooked.  He had a specific fork that he wanted to use, and he loved sweet tea.  At the table we always set out butter, bread, and sweet pickles no matter what had been cooked.  He loved cookies.  He loved pecan wood, and pecans in general.  We’d find him picking up stray pecans around our old apartment any time he came to visit.  He was a man who worked with his hands.  He had a million projects, and saved EVERYTHING.

I didn’t have grandparents growing up.  They died before my teenage years, and I don’t remember them very well.  When I started dating my husband, I inherited the both of his and I’ve felt so much love these past eight years.

We loved him so much.  He was always kind to me.  He visited me when I was in the hospital, came to my very first surgery ever, buried my cat for me, changed the oil on my car, taught me how to do my taxes, taught me how to play Sudoku, spoiled me every Christmas and birthday, and helped pay for my wedding.  There are so many other things that this man did for me without ever asking for anything in return.  And that was just me.  I’m sure every family member has a lot to say, and a lot more memories.

He never asked for anything from anyone.  I can remember times where we’d ask if he needed us to help him chop wood, and we’d find him finishing chopping wood an hour before we arrived.  He hated it when we bought him gifts, but always acted like we’d gotten him the coolest thing ever.

I’m even going to miss his obnoxious sneeze.  It was so loud that you could hear it all over the house.  Almost like a bark and a sneeze put together.   🙂  Scared the crap out of me every time.

I’m going to miss his holey t-shirts that his wife begged him to let her turn into rags.  (holes bigger than my hand)  I’m going to miss his many baseball caps, and his cigars.  The smell of tobacco smoke reminds me of him.

He loved making “trash”, which is a chex mix/nut combination that you stir with butter and Worcestershire sauce.  You then cook it for a few hours, turning it every half hour.  We made it during the holidays.  He also loved making home made pizza that my husband says he’d trade with other kids at school.  It was a famous pizza made with cinnamon bun dough, and we’d cover it with toppings together.  (Mostly he’d eat the toppings and dictate where the rest should be set)

I felt like I was a part of something seriously special when I was around my husband’s grandparents.  While I know that his grandmother still loves me and will hopefully be around for many more years to come, a big part of the magic feels like it’s fizzled out.  A light has been shut off, and now we’re in a dark place, feeling empty.

I held his hand the last time I saw him and promised to take care of his grandson.  I told him I was so sorry that he was having to go through this pain, and that I hoped he felt better soon.  I told him I loved him, and that we’d do our best to help make sure his wife was taken care of.  I told him it was going to be alright.  As far gone as he was at that time, he looked at me and squeeze my hand so hard.  I will never forget.

The next day after we got the news that he’d passed away, we went to the hospital to collect his belongings.  I held his glasses and watch in my hands and felt like a part of him was still there with us.

That night, my husband and I both mentioned the next morning that each of us had felt his presence in our hotel room.  I know he was checking in on us to make sure we were okay.

We loved him so much.  I already miss him.

I know I’m not the only one.

We grieve that he will not be there when we have our own children.  We wanted so badly to see that happen.  We hope that he will get to meet them before we do in heaven.

David, you were the rock of this family.  The glue.  You were a warm, soft, glowing light filled with love and generosity.  Yet you were a tough, hardened worker with rough hands and a feisty personality.  The likes of you will not be seen again.

I love you.  We love you.  We miss you so much.  Rest in peace Papa.

 

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Obituary can be read here.

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