Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Good Grandpa


My grandpa passed away two weeks ago. 
When I first heard the news that grandpa was gone, I felt relieved. I spent two days in his hospital room that weekend and I saw that he was not himself anymore. He was incoherent and restless and suffering. I felt so thankful that it was finally over, that grandpa was finally enjoying his new body in heaven, free of all pain. 

It took me three days to realize that I had actually lost my happy, youthful, kind, and loving grandpa. All at once I realized that it was not the man who lay dying, wrestling with brain cancer, that I would mourn for. That in fact, it was the man who wore cowboy boots and walked with a distinct spring in his step who I would miss. And that it wasn't the man who couldn't walk or talk anymore that I would long for one more day with, but instead the grandpa who used to take me fishing and ice skating and who once made me ride a horse for EIGHT HOURS to get to the most remote and beautiful camping spot I have ever seen. 

When I was little, grandpa used to come home from work in the evening and fix himself a drink. Sometimes it was bourbon and 7 or maybe brandy on the rocks -- whatever the drink was, there were always cherries at the bottom. I would sit and watch him sip his drink, smelling the liquor and hearing the ice cubes clink around in the glass. He would talk "grown-up talk" about his day and I would wait for the prize. When he finished his last sip, he would hand the glass to me and I would fish those cherries out of the bottom. Man, those cherries were good! 

Grandpa loved the outdoors and loved sharing his time and experiences with me. He was patient with me too, as he could be certain that every time I caught a fish, I would scream when I tried to get it off the hook. To my dismay, Grandpa never found it an acceptable excuse that I was a vegetarian -- if he cooked a fish that he caught, I was expected to eat a little. One summer, grandpa took me and my cousins on the grandest tour of Colorado that there ever was. We rode a train over a beautiful mountain pass, watched a mother deer coax her newborn through a stream, picnicked in the middle of dense forests, and took hikes to experience beautiful views. 

If there ever was a man who was good at grand-fathering, it was my grandpa. I always knew that he loved me, that he was smitten by me.He never stopped showering me with hugs and quality time and "I love yous." He always made me know that I was important to him. Grandpa used to ask me every time I saw him if I was going to go to college. It was extremely important to him. And when I did choose a college, he backed up his words by paying for me to go. That gift he gave me - the gift of my education - is one that I will forever be grateful for. 

I know my grandpa was proud of me, and to be honest, I was proud of him too. He was a hard worker who loved his wife and his family. He enjoyed life. He laughed and danced. He traveled and camped and experienced creation. He always had time for people who mattered to him. He was generous. I am so blessed to have known my grandpa, to have understood his love for me, and to have had such a wonderful and wise man in my life. 

I miss him very much. 

3 comments:

Kari said...

this was beautiful.

Kimberlee said...

I am so sorry for your loss, but I am also so happy for you that you have such precious memories. He sounds like a beautiful person!

Tarah said...

so sorry for your loss...your grandpa sounded like an amazing man! really enjoyed the part about the cherries! : )