Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Sorrow

I've been trying to write this piece for a month. I keep putting it off. Maybe, in some way, I know that posting it makes it real. Makes it final. So instead of trying to write, and rewrite and procrastinate more, I am just going to post it.

My grandpa died last month. He was 98, and had outlived almost everyone he knew, including his wife of 70 years, my beloved grandma who died almost one year ago. We were all really surprised that he lasted as long as he did after grandma went, we all figured he would go within weeks, if not days of her.

I took the kids and went up to see him when we were in the states in June/July of this year. I said my good byes. He had a few lucid moments while we were there - asked me about David (who couldn't travel with us to Alabama at the time) and how I liked living overseas. He played with the kids - he could wiggle his ears and it used to amuse the hell out of me when I was little and it was no different for Blaine, he thought it was a riot. The day we left, he hugged and kissed me and told me how much he loved me and then said "I don't expect to see you again". He was my last living grandparent. I was so lucky to have been able to know him and my grandmother as an adult and to have had such a wonderful relationship with them both. I'm not a big believer in God, but I do believe that my grandmother was waiting for him because their souls are destined to be together. I'm glad he is out of his pain and suffering - the last few months have been very hard on his body. I am glad he is at peace. But as glad as I am that the suffering has ended, I'm still sad and weepy because he's gone.

The hardest part of him being gone is that it is truly the end of an era for our family. Every summer vacation was spent on the farm. The past few years have seen my parents going to the farm a few times a year (a 14 hour drive) because of my grandparents' poor health. But even when my grandparents started failing (to use a very southern term), their house was always a vibrant gathering place. Friends, family, neighbors - the word always got out when my mom was in town and everyone would come to sit a spell and visit. Even after my grandmother could no longer whip up a feast that she would modestly call "Sunday supper" everyone would still come down. Only now, it was usually my dad doing the cooking. My grandmother loved it when her son-in-law was in the kitchen - she loved it when he cooked Thanksgiving dinner for them.

So many memories, so much history, so many wonderful times. All of them happened in that small, green country house. Now all that's left is the empty house and what I hold in my heart.


Type (little) a said...

My condolences. He sounds like he was a wonderful man, and by the way you write, I can tell you loved him very much.

Rest in piece, Grandpa.

Nancy R said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. We've lost both of my husband's grandparents in the last three years - and I say we because we've been a couple longer than some of his youngest cousins have been alive so I considered them my grandparents too.

One of the neatest things the family did was to share favorite memories and stories via email about Grandma and Pop once the funerals were over and everyone was back to life. It was a wonderful way to celebrate their lives.

I wish you peace.

fredpate said...

I was there and at the viewing I asked him to wiggle his ears one more time for me.

Not to mention that Cody stuck a pack of chewing tobacco in his breast pocket.

To know a grandparent for so long is a joy that very few can have. We have been blessed.


Cassie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, zilla. Your post made me teary-eyed. I've not had grandparents for 15 years. The hardest part for me is knowing my children will never know how wonderful my grandma was..