Yesterday was a good but hard day. Yesterday we buried Grandpa’s earthly body. There was laughter and tears and the joy of knowing exactly where Grandpa is now and that we will see him again someday.
It was a small graveside service with family. If I would have been the one making decisions, it wasn’t what I would have picked, but Grandpa and Grandma had made the decisions years ago. And it was perfect. Because Grandpa was a veteran, Grandma was presented with the veteran’s flag in the most touching moment by my brother in his army uniform. It was so moving, and I know how proud Grandpa was of what my brother is giving to his country, the country that Grandpa loved and prayed for every day.
There was a time of sharing, and I wish you all could have heard it. Most of the people who shared were family by love, not blood. Grandpa’s sons-in-law and grandsons-in-law spoke of the way he loved them as if they were born into the family and the way he touched their lives. What a fitting tribute to Grandpa. To him it didn’t matter if you were family by blood or family by love, he loved you the same. Grandpa’s life truly was a life of love.
We are loved by a lot of people, so over and over I get asked (or my husband gets asked) how we are doing. And I wondered if people believe the answer we give. I’m okay. Yes, it’s hard. And yes, I miss Grandpa fiercely. There are tears. On Saturday, I was talking about upcoming stuff and said, “Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa” and then I stopped and realized what I had said. Those times are extra hard. The whole month of November will be hard as Grandpa’s birthday and Grandma and Grandpa’s 60th wedding anniversary passes. But today? Today I am good.
I’m in a strange place right now. As people hear that my grandpa died, I get told they are sorry, but I don’t think they understand. He was more that my grandpa. He was my friend. He was my advisor. As a child, I spent a lot of time with him. It was more than an average granddaughter-grandpa relationship. It wasn’t just once a month that I was with him or just holidays. Grandma and Grandpa were with us a lot growing up.
And it was even more so as an adult. I think that’s unusual for other families. You become an adult and have all this other stuff going on and see your grandparents less than you did as a child. It wasn’t like that for me. For a while, I was with them every week Monday through Friday and then we went to the same church on Sundays. I didn’t lose a grandparent. I lost one of my best friends this week.
These last couple months were the same even when they were different. Before Grandpa got sick, I saw him once a week, like clockwork every Wednesday I was over there with the boys. And that meant not only did I get all that time, my boys got it, too. They are going to have all these amazing memories of the times they spent with Grandpa that seem (at least to me) unusual for great-grandsons/great-grandparents. As a whole family, we are extremely close but these relationships seem even closer than that.
These past few months I had the pleasure of getting to be there a lot. I got to do the little things for Grandpa like make sure the bird feeders were full and that there was corn out for the deer. I got to sit at the table and drink coffee with him. I got to be there as he was shooting BB guns from the patio with hands that would shake and him still do a better job than the rest of us. I got the privilege of sitting quietly while he napped and just listening in case he needed something.
As I just read back over my words, I realized this wasn’t what I was going to write today, but apparently it’s what I needed to say. I guess what I want you to know today is that I am sad but I’m good, too. And when you think of me and that my grandpa died this week, take that average granddaughter-grandpa relationship you think of and multiple it by 10 and you’ll almost understand the relationship I had with an amazing man.