My grandfather died on March 26th, 2010. He was the closest thing to a father I had. I’m beyond melancholy. I’m devastated.
He loved our Grandma so much- and when I used to ask what his job was, he’d say “To make Grandma happy”…I’ve probably held out faith in “Happily Ever After” because of their honest-to-goodness love story. Ultimately he was one in a million- determined on being my Grandma’s Elaine’s Prince Charming. He showed all of his granddaughters that true love exists- that it’s worth waiting for- and that we all deserve to have someone in our lives that loves us like he loved our Grandma.
He knew Neil- our father, had failed us. He was the only person in our family that ever admitted it. He apologized even. He tried to make up for it with trips to Yellowstone & voluntary trips to see Old Faithful geyser for the hundredth time, Flaming Gorge & the rocky islands where he taught us that the the tails of lizards fall off when you grab them- because the lizards keep running… and to his garden in the backyard- where he always let me pick the biggest most beautiful ripe tomatoes. I’m a tomato farmer now- and I’d never have known the joy of gardening, without his influence.
He’s impossible to replace and the world is a darker, quieter place without him. I’m sad my kids don’t know firsthand how much he loved to horrify us by biting the heads of the fish he’d just caught. Eww- it was completely gross… and totally Grandpa. He liked to push us to be different- to question everything while being respectful and reverent. Zach hit me once and Grandpa grabbed his hand and said “Zachary do you know what happens to boys who hit girls?” and Zacky shook his head no… and Grandpa kissed him on the cheek, spanked him and said “Boys who hit girls, go to jail” It’s something I tell my kids. My son would never hit a woman, and I have my grandpa to thank for giving me the tools to effectively teach that lesson.
He really knew how to hug you. He really loved with his whole heart. He never questioned the choices people made- even when I was baptized Catholic and had been most reluctant to tell him. I finally blurted it out after Grandma forced me to talk to him about it.
“Grandpa… I’m Catholic.” I stammered.
“Jennifer, I love you- and Catholics make the best Mormon’s. I’m happy you found something that gives you comfort. Now, when are you bringing the kids to visit?”
He was just that way.
He taught me how to bait a hook- how to toast the perfect marshmallow- and ALL about love.
After being doted on by my grandparents as a child- then seeing them age and enjoy great-grandchildren- only to see my Grandma go too soon- and see my Grandfather miss her so much. I can be happy for him today. I know he wanted (more than anything) to be with my Grandma again.
Which comforts all of us, somehow.
There’s not a flight out before his funeral- I’m going to miss it… and It truly sucks to be the oldest sibling and not be there for my younger sisters & brother. Sob. Sob. Sob.
I can’t believe I’m going to miss it. 😦
Life is rough this week.