My Grandpa passed, I forget how many days ago. It was quiet and peaceful and my parents, Grandma, and Aunt M. were there with him.
They brought out his old Army picture. He was a WW2 Vet who served in the Army's corp of Engineers as a typist. Later he became a school bus driver, a teacher, and later a college librarian. He was awarded a "Master Teacher" award by peers and students at the college he worked for, which is kind of a big deal.
This was back on his parents farm. And this was the day he and my Grandma got married 66 years ago in her parent's home. Grandma said he watched her slip and fall down a flight of stairs in high school, run passed her, and she still married him.
He liked to fish, travel, look at maps, tell jokes and stories. He and Grandma took me to museums when I was younger and national/historical landmarks. He taught me a lot about gardening, how to paint a shed, and put up with my crazy hair-brained ideas as a kid. He came to every band and choir concert, every play and graduation he could. And he ripped apart every damn paper I ever asked him to look over just to make sure it was good. He was also the only family member who asked me what my writing processes were/are. Well, aside from my Dad but Dad doesn't have to ask because I've already told him. He even let me borrow a word processor for a whole summer to work on a story because my mom only let me have two hours of computer time a day.
He always talked about wanting to come see me up here in the Pacific Northwest. And we liked to talk about the weather in our respective places.
He was at war with the squirrels in his backyard. For years this went on. I bought him a stuffed toy squirrel one year for Christmas that he immediately tried to throw away. I used to hide under his pillow or in his bed. Once I even taped it to the ceiling above his bed so he would look up and see it when he tried to go to sleep. I'd often have to rescue the poor toy from a makeshift noose hanging between the dining and family room. But I'd just go hide it again, sometimes in his underwear or sock drawer.
Grandpa wrote a 300+ page history of the college he worked at. It took him a couple of years and then a couple more for someone to finally edit and publish it. They cut a majority of the book, but somewhere, Grandma has all 300+ pages.
My Grandpa was also a devout Christian and part of Gideon's International, the American Legion, and Association for Retired Teachers. He knew I wasn't going to church anymore. He didn't fuss at me for it. I guess he thought Grandma did enough of that. I think he only yelled at me 2 or 3 times in my whole life.
At the funeral, one of my Aunt M.'s friends said he was the model of what a good Christian, father, and husband should be, and that he provided a safe place for everyone to be. She's right.
At the funeral I felt him come in and sit next to me in the pew. Like always he rested his hands on his cane and laughed at something someone said. He was with me for a little bit before he moved away, I think to be near my Grandma, but I was caught up in something someone was saying and then we left had to go to the after funeral receiving line where we thanked people for coming.
Grandpa's flag, given to my Grandma at his funeral by officers from the Army.
I wish I could write something more, something more elegant and deserving, but this is what I can manage. And I think Grandpa knows all the things I want to say or tell him, and how much he meant and still means to me.