Last night I received word that my grandfather passed away. He was 90, and in declining health for about the past year, so this did not come as a surprise. Yet, the tears fell. Apparently it doesn't matter how much you expect it, or how much warning you have...the tears will fall.
Last night I was laying in bed when it seemed like a dam in my mind burst. Memories with him and of him flooded through my mind uncontrollably. Memories from my childhood.... memories of going into their basement into his office and finding him working there. I liked the smell of the basement, the musty smell mixed with fresh laundry...and last night I could smell it. Memories of him playing games with me. Memories of going for walks around the block and to the parks nearby. Memories of going to church with them. Memories of the gatherings of family and friends at their house. In the summertime, picnic tables would line the driveway...and in winter, gathering at the tables in the house. Memories of his laughter echoing as he interacted with those gathered there. Memories of him pushing me on the swing in the backyard behind their garage. Memories of many times simply spent together. Me asking questions, and him answering. Sitting on the front porch, greeting neighbors as they walked by, just enjoying life, simply. And even though he quit smoking a pipe many, many years ago...whenever I smell one, I think of him. I don't remember him ever smoking it around me...but I remember liking the lingering smell on his jacket as I would give him a hug. I even remember where he kept his pipes...in a cubby/ledge next to the stairs on the way down into the basement. I remember as a kid, picking them up at times on my way down the stairs, closing my eyes, holding it inches from my face, and gently breathing in as though I was smelling the perfect rose.
Then more memories of more recent times flooded in...of the few times I have been able to get out to Wisconsin to see them. Of my kids doing some of the same things I did as a kid with him. Of Skyping with them, and wishing I had made time to do that a lot more.
Tears mourning the man I knew and will always remember fell.
Memories of his smile, of his laugh, of his smell, of his embrace, of his voice, of his love.
His patience, kindness, infections smile and laugh, his giving and caring nature, his sense of humor, his sincerity. How his eyes twinkled when he smiled or laughed. How he could draw people in, making them feel at ease and like part of the family. His devotion to his wife, my grandmother....and the love and respect they always shared for each other. All memories I get the privilege to cherish for my lifetime and are part of the legacy he has given me to pass on to my children.
I am so thankful you are my grandfather!
I cannot express how much I love you and how much your love has meant to me.
Heaven is blessed to have you.
|Here with my oldest son, Ryan...who was the first of his great-grandchildren.|