This last Saturday morning, I received a call from my dad telling me my grandpa had passed away early that morning. As I’ve been thinking and grieving the past couple days, a few things have really stuck out to me:
1. I am so grateful that when a loved one has passed on, I have thus far had no regrets about what my last encounters with them were. Although it’s been awhile since I’ve seen my grandpa, I did take the time to write him a letter just a couple months ago. Even though I had no idea that those would be my last words to him, I’m so grateful I took the time to catch him up with what we’d been up to and to tell him that I loved him.
2. I need to write more in my journal about my memories and experiences with my family. I was searching through my journals for entries about the vacations I’d taken where I’d seen my grandpa, and what did I find? All sorts of paragraphs about such-and-such boy that I liked at the time (and how much I missed that boy), but only a line or two about those experiences with my family. So, because I don’t want to have any more regrets, I want to write down a couple of my memories now.
Grandpa, I remember going to your cottage on the banks of Lake Erie in Ohio. I remember you and Dad going out to fish, and me tagging along to watch the two pros at work. I remember you snoring on the big mattress in the cottage’s front room. I remember how, due to the humidity, you would go shirtless whenever possible: fishing, sleeping, eating, whenever.
I remember a different vacation–a later vacation–when we went to see you in Oregon, where you were living with my aunt and uncle and their family. I remember you remarking on what a beautiful young woman you thought I’d become. If I remember correctly, you even called me a “fox,” which made me giggle. I remember sitting at the kitchen table for hours as you entertained us with stories of your youth and of your adventures. One of your adventures involved you falling through an outhouse to the unpleasant “storage area” beneath, which made me gasp in surprise and horror. You were always a brilliant storyteller, and we were spellbound. It will always be a regret of mine that I did not write down those stories, Grandpa. I’m looking forward to hearing them again in the hereafter.
Even though my grandma (above) passed away when I was young, I remember how much you both loved us, and how much you loved each other. Although death is bittersweet for those left behind, I am rejoicing in the fact that you have been reunited with your sweetheart. Say hi to Grandma for me, okay?
Can’t wait to see you all again.
Love you, Grandpa!