It wasn’t whether or not I would write this post, it was more a matter of when.
For some, blogging about personal life issues feels taboo and while I’ve never been one to sit back and pretend like everything is okay, I partly agree. There are certain stories or situations in my life which are too rough and raw, or ones I simply don’t have the liberty of divulging. When I do share, I do it because I find writing to be therapeutic and it allows me to move forward, in a way.
My sweet Grandpa passed away unexpectedly at the end of August and losing him hit me hard. Much harder than I ever could have imagined. Perhaps my mind is too small to comprehend someone being on this earth one minute and gone forever in the next.
Ironically, nothing I wrote seemed good enough and ultimately I thought I’d share a piece that my sister wrote.
My Grandpa Don was ornery, selfless and absolutely lovable until his very last moment with us. He worked hard well beyond his retirement (two weeks ago today he was chopping down a tree), but took plenty of breaks for iced tea, reading the paper and countless games of solitaire on the computer. He introduced me to ginger ale, sarcasm (tearfully at first, though I eventually caught on and joined in his love language) and a love for pickled foods. He forced me to drive when I was terrified and certain I didn’t need to learn (in a fantasy world my older sister would tote me around forever, plus ‘my great grandma never drove, people took her to the to grocery store her whole life, it was great’).
He patiently played Phase 10 on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, always kept the fire going at Grandma’s during winter, and kissed her on top of her head more times than I can remember.
Grandpa’s family and his spirit stretches across the U.S. and around the world, he loved his kids, his adopted kids, his grandkids, grandkids that he sometimes raised as his own kids, his kid’s-new-husband’s-kids (that he and Grandma delightedly welcomed as their granddaughters twenty some years ago), his hockey billet kids, friends and neighbors, his entire scattered and eclectic family.
He wore khaki pants and button down shirts, used hairspray to keep his few silver strands in place, and almost always had a toothpick jutting from the corner of his smile. He smelled like the outdoors, a splash of aftershave and an occasional field fire. He got a kick out of listening to oldies, watching family, his cats (I promise there’s nothing sweeter than a 77-year-old man cuddling a kitten) and tinkering. When Jess and I were young, he built us a swing set with a tree house. We used and loved the hell out of it and then it sat for some years. He pieced it apart, breathed new life into it and hauled it to our folks’ house for Daws, Harp and Cam to enjoy.
He was simply the best.
My heart physically hurts knowing he is gone and some days are filled with more tears than others, but how could they not be? Those tears are a testament to his greatness.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from my Grandpa was not to half-ass anything. And I mean anything. Growing up, everything was always done the right way, no matter how long it took. That’s the sentiment I’d like to meditate on moving forward – especially when it comes to this blog.
The ebb and flow of life has never felt more real and I appreciate you letting me share everything that encompasses my life with you all here, including the tough, sad parts.
*Inspired to open up and get things off my chest by my friend Annie. Snapchat photo of my Grandpa’s newest kitten, courtesy of my baby sister, Harper 🙂