Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Grandpa

Yesterday, I buried my grandfather. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. He was the only grandpa I've ever known and he was very close to my heart.  I agreed to say something at the funeral.  I, of course, wanted to put something together ahead of time.  That was definitely the hardest thing I've ever written in my life.  I had a very difficult time putting it together.  What I had to do was tell myself that I was just writing a blog post about my grandpa, instead of writing something I was going to stand up in front of 50 people and say about my beloved grandfather the last time I will ever see him, his funeral.  That is what kept going through my mind when I was trying to think of what to say/write.  Now can you see why it was so hard for me to put it together?  (Not like you couldn't before I said that.)

So, since I wrote my "speech" like I was writing a blog post, I thought it only appropriate to share it with all of you, the people I share just about everything with.

Before I get to that, I have a little side note... I have received many emails in the last few weeks from readers of my blog.  I want to let you all know that I am not ignoring your emails.  I love hearing from you and fully plan on writing you back.  I have spent so much time and energy (energy that I don't have) with my grandpa in the last few weeks while he went from the hospital, to the nursing home, back to the hospital, to hospice, and finally, laid to rest.  I have had to spend what little energy I have left over with my family and on the many fundraisers I have committed myself to.  I will be catching up on emails and blog comments in the upcoming week(s).  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Now, to my grandpa, who I love dearly.  May you rest in peace...

Why do I love my grandfather?  Let me count the ways...

I'm sure you're thinking, "He's your grandpa, of course you love him.  Everyone loves their grandpa.  That's just the way it is."  Well, yes, that's the way it is in life.  Everyone loves their grandparents.  Right?  This is different.  My grandpa is different.  There's no way to not love him.  Everyone loved him.  So, I didn't just love him because that's the natural way of things... because I'm supposed to love him.  I loved him because of who he was.

He was kind.  No matter who you are, my grandpa treated you with respect.  My grandpa grew up in a day and age that not everyone was treated equal.  He was no different.  Many times I would question my grandfather's views on people who are different than you and I.  I didn't always agree with the things he said.  However, he always seemed to surprise me.  Anytime we were out and about together I saw a completely different person than I expected to see.  I didn't see a person who treated people poorly based on the color of their skin or the religion they practiced.  I saw a person who respected everyone equally... who treated everyone with kindness.  

Because of that kindness, my grandpa had many friends.. many people who loved him.  I know it's cliche, but he would give the people he loved the shirt off of his own back if they needed it.  He was always helping others in any way he could.  After I got my nursing degree I was always trying to help him with anything medical related.  However, it wasn't as easy as it sounds.  Why?  You ask.  He wouldn't let me!  Every now and then he would call me with a question, but not as often as I wanted him to.  He would always say, "I don't want to bother you."  Before I got sick he didn't want to "bother" me because I was busy with my kids and my job.  After I got sick, he didn't want to "bother" me because he was worried I would be asleep or not feeling well.  That always drove me nuts.  Why?  I guess because I took after my grandfather.  I wanted to help!  All I wanted to do was help him.

He was smart.  I loved to sit and talk to my grandpa.  We would just sit and talk for hours.  We would talk about the war, his service station, current events, or whatever else we would randomly come up with to talk about.  I may not have agreed with all of his opinions, but I respected them none the less.  He had a reason for believing what he believed.  His life experiences gave him a view on life and I respected that.  I may not have agreed with it, but I respected it.

He was funny.  He was ALWAYS making me laugh.  Always.  I think his main goal was to make me smile.  If that's true, he succeeded.  He was always joking and playing around, when all he really had to do was look at you with his infectious smile.  He was joking so often that I didn't know when he was serious.  When I was a child, I had gotten in trouble one time (I was such an angel of a child, you see).  I was staying with my grandparents, as I often did during the summer as a child, and had gone across the street to visit with the neighbor without telling my grandparents.  When grandpa finally tracked me down he was, obviously, very upset.  He grabbed my hand and sternly walked me across the street.  As he did so, he said something to me to let me know how upset he was.  I laughed.  Yep... laughed.  He immediately let me know that he wasn't joking.  I always remember that day as the one day my grandpa wasn't kidding. 

He loved his wife and his family.  One of the best qualities my grandpa had was how much he loved his wife.  Out of all of the qualities I strive to imitate, the way he loved his wife is the best.  Even after 65 years of marriage he loved her more than ever.  They still held hands and kissed like they were newlyweds.  When he spoke of grandma it was always very apparent how much he loved her.  When I think of how I want my marriage to be, I always think of my grandparents.

I have spent a LOT of time with my grandpa.  However, it's not the empty time that won't be filled that I'll miss.  What I'll miss is the lessons I learn by talking to and being around my grandpa, the smile and laughter I always have when I'm with him, the kindness I experience when I'm around him, and most of all the enormous amount of love that I feel by being with him.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Losing a grandpa after breaking a hip is something sorrow filled. I know..