My grandpa is a wonderful man, and I will miss him. He passed away over night. It was not sudden — he battled prostate cancer and recovered, but then had cancer in his lungs, spine, and I think kidneys. Yet he was not in pain — last time I spoke with him and my grandma, he was only occasionally taking over the counter Tylenol. But fluid built up in his lungs, and the risks of draining it while he was still in no pain weren’t worth it. He soon went home, but still didn’t believe it was really about the end.
My mom told him when I got engaged, and while he was very happy for me his face dropped when he heard it was going to be a September wedding. He knew he probably wouldn’t be able to be there with me. That week, he and my grandma sent me a card and let me know they wanted to buy my wedding dress, as he wanted to be with me that day as much as he could. This weekend I got my dress, and the last news he had about me and Mike was that he had bought us a beautiful wedding dress. And the ring on my finger, symbolizing the love of my life, is one he picked out for my grandma.
As he always was, he didn’t want anyone to see his weakness, and wanted us to remember him as the strong man he always was in my life. Talking to his wife, he knew had to start accepting that it was near the end of his time, and he realized all his family already knew. The hard part for him was the waiting — he didn’t like sitting around waiting to die, and he was scared, but hew knew it was time and that was that. A former Boston Red Sox pitcher, he told my grandma he was in his tenth ining. Last night he was coughing some in his sleep, and then stopped. When Grandma woke up, he was gone.
Right now it’s tough, but I’m working to remember him as he would have hoped. He will be cremated as to his wishes, not wanting the body he was in as the end of his days to be our memory of him. He wants us to remember the powerful force he was in our life, so here it goes…
- My grandpa is huge — I think 6’4″. I loved riding on his shoulders when I was little, and how he’d have to duck to get us through doorways.
- I loved the stories of my grandpa’s tanning time. As a baseball player, his arms and face got much darker than the rest of him. So when he’d lay out in the sun at home, it was with socks on his arms and a towel over his face.
- He rarely talked about himself, but occasionally you got a story out of him. He pitched against some of the greats (I think Micky Mantle, and others of that time). He could always tell you about when he struck out So and So, but if you asked about other people he had pitched against he could never remember how it had gone.
- He and my first grandma always loved having my brother and I around as kids. He’d make sure to have M&Ms, and we’d sort them by color and drink special apple juice that came in little tiny apple-shaped bottles.
- His car could talk. I just wanted to know why it thought the door was a jar — shouldn’t it know it was a door?
- I remember how much I loved playing on his lawn. Since it was a slight downhill it was the perfect place to learn to do a cartwheel.
- He never forgot how much I loved his tangerines. Even once I was in college he’d always bring bags of them to my mom, and make sure that she knew to get a bunch to me. And one of the last times I visited he had me go check the tree.
I will be adding more as I go through my memories of him.
Grandpa I love you, and I miss you.
(more grandpa stories are on my old blog but I don’t think they are viewable for the world… I will have to share some of them later).