Wednesday, July 22, 2009

17 years ago today....

17 years ago today I found out that my grandpa had died. 17 years. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been so long, and other times it seems like forever…

I want to tell you all about him, but I’m not sure that words can capture the man that he was. He was an army veteran and a veteran’s advocate. He worked blue collar jobs, and was president of his local VFW chapter. He didn’t have a lot of money, but would give you the shirt off of his back (literally) if you needed it. He opened his home to anyone in need. He never swore. Even in combat. He thought that using swear words meant that you had a limited vocabulary. If he was at home, and sitting, he was probably asleep or falling asleep. He snored. Loudly. He smoked a lot. He taught his last dog how to bark by getting down on his hands and knees in the living room and making barking noises at her. He looked larger than life in a business suit (his normal attire) and short and frail in a sweat suit. He had a pair of pants that he called his “snicker” pants- they were so crazy and ugly that people would “snicker” at him when he wore them. He loved them! He used to come over on Saturday mornings and bring me doughnuts from Krispy Kreme that had pink icing and sprinkles.

He was one of my favorite people the whole world.

I saw him the night he died. I was at Acme with my mom and he and my Gram walked in the door while we were going toward the check-out. I was excited because I was supposed to go to a pool party the next day. They suggested that they pick me up and take me to dinner afterwards (to celebrate my good last report card.) It was going to be the BEST DAY EVER!

I remember the last hug I gave my grandpa. I always gave him my best hugs. I remember that I didn’t want to let go, so while I was walking away, I ran my hand down his arm and held his hand until we weren’t close enough to touch anymore. He smiled.

My Gram told me, later, that the last conversation they ever had was about where to take me for dinner.

HUNDREDS of people came to pay their respects at his viewing. People were lined up outside the building and down the block to say goodbye to the man that I called “Grandpa.” Even at 10 years old, I was in awe of the number of lives that he touched.

17 years ago, and I can remember it like it was yesterday. 17 years feels like a lifetime.

I love you, Grandpa. Even after 17 years, I can still feel you with me. I pray that I can teach my children the values that you instilled in me during the short time we existed on this planet together. I know that, when I hear the first cry of my baby, you will be smiling down on us with pride and celebration.

18 comments:

Fiddle1 said...

My eyes tingled when I read this. What a fortunate thing that you lived close to your grandfather and were so close to him! Beautiful post. I loved it. Also, congratulations on your pregnancy! I tried to find your history of TTC on trusera.com but couldn't. Is it somewhere else?

~ICLW

Katy Lin :) said...

:*( what a beautiful post! thank you for sharing this

Katie said...

awwwwwww What a good post :'(

Michelle said...

This brought tears to my eyes. He sounds like he was a wonderful man! ((HUGS))

Megs said...

Beautiful post :) Definitely brought me to tears because it made me think of my granddad. We were very close also.

The Red Headed Mama said...

Lovely tribute. I feel the same exact way about my Grandma. It's funny how someone who, in the grand scheme, is only in our lives for a short time can have such a huge impact.

tomi said...

Thank you for sharing - I had been thinking about my Grandpa too and still miss him even though he's been gone nearly 30 years.

*iclw*

Kerri said...

This post really hit home for me, as I just lost my grandfather back in May. I am pregnant now, and we will be naming my son after him. Your grandfather sounds like an amazing person. What a nice tribute you wrote to him.

Just me said...

I had an (unexpected) special goodbye with my grandpa too. I reminded both of us of a little joke he had with all of the grandchildren as I said goodbye at Thanksgiving. I missed spending xmas with him and was devastated when he died in Jan. That goodbye made me feel a little better about it.

Hope Endures said...

What a beautiful post...your grandpa sounds like a truly special person.

(ICLW)

WiseGuy said...

Amen to "I can teach my children the values that you instilled in me during the short time we existed on this planet together".

In your memories, he will always live ...and in your children his values will survive! Hugs.


ICLW

Beautiful Mess said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry! Your grandpa sounds like a wonderful man. I wish you had more time with him. I am glad you have such a vivid memory of him and your last day together. You will be able to pass that down to your children. So beautiful, truly.
*HUGS and ICLW*

katery said...

awww, sad! my grandpa was an awesome man too, i loved him dearly, i called him poppy. i wrote a poem about him when i was in the 5th grade and my mom framed it. i hope you are enjoying many good memories today.
iclw

Demara said...

That was a sweet read. THX for sharing!!

it reminded me of my Grandma who has ovarian cancer right now and is dieing.

I love her :'(

{{{hugs}}}
I'm sure your Grampy IS smiling down on you and your baby right now!!!

Cara said...

What a beautiful tribute to a man who touched your life in indescribable ways. He will always be part of your life...

iclw

Mama Bear said...

What an awesome gradpa!! what a great last memory you have!!!

Kate said...

Some moments remain etched into our memories no matter how much time passes. Beautiful tribute.

marriageman said...

I dread the day when I will join many of you in losing a grandfather. Both of mine are still living, praise God, but they are aged and their health is slowly slipping away. They are both such good men. I will never amount to what they are in terms of character, work ethic, patience and kindness. But I'm going to try. I pray that I get to keep them for as long as possible in this life.