Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Saying Goodbye is Hard

My heart has been heavy the last few days.  We lost a really wonderful man and one of my heros on Sunday.

I wish I had more really clear memories of Grandpa when I was younger. I blocked a couple of years, and all the memories that go with them, out of my mind and I wish I could see them more clearly right now.
Because this man was in my life from day one. He lived 3 houses down from me my whole life. And I know the memories with him are there.  They are just hidden beneath fear of remembering more bad than good. (Those are things I'm not going to go into right now).

What I do remember is that my grandpa was always gentle.  He loved every single grandkid "the most".  He was always happy.  I don't remember a time with my grandpa that he wasn't smiling, or joking around. He was a tease, he liked to have a good laugh. (He was from Teasdale after all).

This was one of my favorite things that my grandpa would do with the grandkids. I'm sad that he's cut out of the picture. But I always thought it was so cool and he was so strong to be able to do this. 

I remember him teaching me to fish.  And he never lost his patients with me when I'd finally catch a fish only to make him take it off the hook. I never wanted to touch it.

Grandpa could fix anything. And not just with duct tape. He was a real handy man. He could build anything out of some wood and nails. He could always find clever ways to fix something that was broken. Like when he fixed the strap on the pool goggles with part of a tire. (My cousin reminded me of that the last time we saw our grandpa).

Grandpa did a lot for me in his life.  He taught me a lot of stuff.  So much that there's no way to even put it into words. It never mattered how much I pushed my loved ones away as a teenager, Grandpa was always there with a big hug, whether i wanted one or not.  And I distinctly remember him telling me one time, after I'd told him I just wasn't a "huggy" person, that he was my grandpa and he wasn't going to be around forever. He wanted as many hugs as he could get.

Grandpa never complained about coming to our concerts. Piano recitals, dance concerts, graduations. He made it to every single one.  And when I was sad that I didn't get to be in the recital, he made sure to have a special little treat just for me so I would feel special.

How do you say goodbye to a person like that.  How do you say goodbye to one of the bravest, sweetest people you know? It was one of the hardest things for me to do, to look into those loving eyes and tell him I love him, knowing it would be the last time I'd see him in this life. I gave him that last hug and kissed his cheek. I told him to have a good night but I knew I couldn't promise I'd see him again.

How do I explain to my J, who's not quite four, what is going on? She's starting to wonder, starting to ask questions about why I'm having such a hard week. She's wondering why her grandma (my mom) has been so busy and can't play. I know when we go to the funeral she'll ask why he won't wake up and talk to her.

I wish I took more time growing up to talk to him. And I wish that I could get the memories I do have of him back. Or at least more clearly.  But what is most important is that he is with my grandma now. He's out of pain. He's happier than he's been in the last four years. And he's looking down on me and the rest of my family.  Grandpa would never leave us. He hasn't done that now.  I might not be able to see him now, but I can feel him. I know he's there. And I know he's where he needs to be.

My aunt got this picture of them on our yearly camp out. It's one of my favorites. 


  1. I am so sorry for your loss Jenny! He sounds like an incredible man. I'll be praying for you and your family!