It has been such a rough year with losing two grandparents. Over and over again throughout my life I have lost so many people. More than I can count on two hands; more than I could count on two sets of hands. I think it has done some things for me. It has made me fearless in life. It has made me realize that life is so short and so precious; that I should make each day count. It has made me chase dreams, to live an authentic life, to love big, to take chances, and to not be afraid to live.
I am so thankful for the people and their lives that have taught me that. I am thankful for grandparents that were so authentic in their own lives.
My grandfather was like a father figure to me. He loved me like his own. He was my safe refuge as a toddler. I was untouchable as long as he was near. We would eat jars of Miracle Whip together and he always had a joke to tell. He constantly joked and picked on my grandmother whose general response was a roll of the eyes and show of a slight smile with a stern “Grandpa!”.
He was onery and always looking for a good laugh. I remember staying with him and my grandma in an apartment they had when they sold their house. The neighbors exterminated causing a rush of cockroaches into their apartment. When I stomped one, my grandfather told me not to do that because they were grandma’s only friends and she would be sad. When I apologize to my grandma, I knew by the look on her face and the roll of her eyes, my grandfather had done it again. My mom tells similar stories from her childhood.
He was a big hugger and always laughing. He couldn’t sit still and loved the outdoors. He always had projects and was always dragging strays home for grandma to take care of. He did not know a stranger. Everywhere we went he spoke to people like he knew them all his life. When I was young, I thought he knew everyone.
He never pretended to be someone he wasn’t. He never acted like he was more educated than he was. He never felt inferior to others. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him, he was just busy being him. He loved fishing even though he was afraid of water because he couldn’t swim. He would spend hours fishing or talking about fishing if you let him. He found a treasure in everything. His room and garage and yard were full of “treasures” he could turn into something.
He cried when I left for Europe. He was afraid I would never come back. This hurt my heart when I heard this. He use to carry the Father’s Day cards I sent him around with him and show them to his friends. He called me his “baby girl”. My art work was framed and hung all over his house. I am so proud to be the granddaughter of such a man. He is loved and will be genuinely missed.