Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I originally mentioned this item in my usual Random Tuesday Thoughts post, but then decided it seemed inappropriately placed with the nonsense I was rattling on about. Plus, this thought is not random at all, as he crosses my mind every single day. According to the calendar, my grandfather passed away five years ago today. I can't decide if that seems like really long ago, or not. It is amazing to me how time has helped happy memories fill in the spaces that were so painful when I was initially trying to say good-bye. He is everywhere in my world.

Anniversary dates of peoples' passings just mark milestones of time for a day nobody really truly wants to remember. Five always seems like a monumental number (along with every multiple of it). Birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones we've lost give that chance to reflect on past celebrations, and there is a place for cake, which never hurts. I feel like I want to say something today, but am not sure what, so I dug out the copy of the words that I spoke at his funeral. (Yes, that paper I could find with a minimal search effort, but the items I cannot account for are mind boggling). Here goes...

I know my grandfather is here with us-approving of the fine craftsmanship of his final resting place. Well-sanded pecan wood, medium satin finish, and he would've balked at the price and made it himself.

I'd like to thank you all for coming. My grandfather would be so touched to see so many faces. Touched and appreciative. It didn't matter if you spared five minutes or three hours to visit with Grampa-he was always just happy and thankful for the visit. The smallest gestures never went unnoticed. The five rolls of Lifesavers I bought him last summer from the [hospital] gift shop were accepted as if they were the best item of the day.

Grampa was not a man of too many words, but the ones he chose mattered. They were always kind words, as he didn't see the point in talking ill of anyone. He also kept optimistic and didn't dwell. Occasionally he would comment that he didn't understand something that was going on, or something he was working on. No anger, frustration, or complaining, just simply the admission "I can't understand" or "I can't figure out..."

He was unique in his subtle ways. He was genuine in a manner you could always count on. You could tell he was interested in you, and he would carry on conversations about so many different topics, depending on the audience-but always with true enthusiasm.

I remember how much I enjoyed cutting the lawn on the old red tractor. The best days were when I was still small enough for us to ride together. I felt so safe and important. About six months ago, Grampa and I were driving back from a doctor's appointment. I looked over at the man who was probably a bit shorted than his driver's license stated, and thought "We've come full circle-now I get to drive." That is what I told him when he thanked me for the ride.

I hope he realized it was we who are thankful. Blessed with the amazing memories we have of a grandfather, great-grandfather, father, brother, uncle, husband and friend.

As we mourn his loss, let's also celebrate his life. Share a story, a laugh, and when need be, a tear.

In his memory, take pride in what you do, take time to do things to your satisfaction (no matter how long it takes), and appreciate what people have to offer.

For as long as I can remember, any time I stopped by, no matter what he was working on, which machine was running, or how high on a ladder he was, his response to my "I don't want to interrupt you" was always "It's ok. I was just about to take a break." And then he'd stop to visit.

So he's taking a break now-getting ready for his next project.


  1. I love this! So tender! Anniversaries like this are so bittersweet - bitter; knowing that there is nothing we can do to fill up the void they leave behind and sweet with memories and the knowledge that we will see our loved ones again. You can't help but cry!