Rest Well, Grandpa.

23 Jun

Somehow, my father’s father died yesterday.

When you’re a kid you just don’t think these big strong men will ever NOT be big and strong.

I haven’t sat in the presence of my Grandpa in years – both of us caught up in that rip current that is daily life, drifted miles apart. When I was a kid he used to spend part of his time in Florida, where I grew up, and the other part in Ohio, where my Dad’s side of the family is from. Dad and Grandpa shared a vocation, so they would mostly talk shop when we were together, but he was always kind and loving to my sister and I. I don’t remember being super close. I don’t think we had a crawl-up-in-the-lap relationship. But we laughed, we lived.

I have memories of driving to Disney in the back of his huge conversion van with my cousins (not a seat belt in sight, of course, cause that’s literally how we rolled in the nineties).

I remember he had a Cocker Spaniel named Tiffany, and he would always mix our names up, like “Tiffie, er, I mean Steffie…”, which would crack me up.

His Florida house had a little cottage apartment attached to it, which is – come on – like, the coolest thing ever. Perfect for playing house.

His voice. His hair (which had been white as long as I can remember). His laugh.

Eventually the travel took its toll, and my Grandpa sold his Florida house. I didn’t see him much after that. Then I moved to Texas, which pretty much ensured we wouldn’t be bumping into each other anytime soon.

I imagine Grandpa holding my father as a baby in his arms and looking at his face. I wonder if my Grandpa had any idea he would live to see this baby turn 60. That’s truly amazing to me. I can’t imagine what it’s like to see your child become a grandparent, though I can only pray I get the chance to see for myself.

My Grandpa never met my daughter or my son, who is in part named after him. I will regret that for the rest of my life.

You know the secrets now, Grandpa. I’m sorry we lost years – but I love you.

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9 Responses to “Rest Well, Grandpa.”

  1. Akriti June 23, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Rest in peace.

  2. Sara June 23, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    We definitely carry heavy hearts- one for the loss and 2, for the many lost years…
    I’m reflecting on all these same great times and visits from when we were kids! All the Christmas eve karaoke nights, and “You know,they call her J. Lo…” He’ll ALWAYS be here in the memories that will never leave us!

    • Stefanie June 23, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      Haha Babe! I had forgotten about “JLo”!

  3. Rob Carmack June 23, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    I’m so sorry, Stef. No matter how long a person lives, losing them is never easy. Peace be with you and your family as you grieve.

    • Stefanie June 23, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      Thanks Rob. I so appreciate that.

  4. Jane Howard Burnakis June 23, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Steph, What a beautiful tribute to your grandpa.. I’m sure he is very proud of you and the women you’ve become. You made me cry this morning, but they are happy tears of beautiful memories. You truly have a gift.

    • Stefanie June 23, 2014 at 11:44 am #

      Thank you Jane! It means so much that you keep up with my blog. Hope to see you next month when we’re in FL.

  5. Karen Williams June 30, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    Your children never got to meet him, but whenever I visited him in the nursing home, I would pull out my iPad and share your Facebook pictures with him. He would always linger over the photos and laugh as I read some of the funny stories you posted. I think the last story he was able to comprehend was the one where Juliette stuck some sort of bead up her nose.
    He laughed and told me that since he had never met his great grandchildren, we should jump in my car and head out to see you. Unfortunately, that was no longer possible. He bragged more than once about you naming your son Wilson. That meant so much to him. I have no doubt that he will be checking in on them from time to time from heaven!

    • Stefanie January 16, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

      Thank you Karen! It means so much to read this.

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