Saturday November 26, 2016 I lost one of my heroes, my grandfather.
My grandfather, you’ll see me refer to as Grandaddy, was a lot of things to me. Most importantly, he was my biggest supporter. We talked about a lot of things and…. people (smile). I vividly remember participating in a parade with him … I was the backseat of a SHARP convertible old school. So nervous I pee’d on myself. We returned to the masonic lodge, I got cleaned up and it was nothing. Grandaddy didn’t get upset, he was just cool like that. Fast forward to my senior year in high school when I’d work in his garage with him selling Stacey Adam shoes to all his friends. He never pushed me away when they came around he’d tell me to pull up a seat and listen. And I did. After high school, granddaddy told me (yes, told…. ) to apply for an entry level job at the company he was working for. The same company I work for now, some 20 years later. He helped me elect my first 401K contributions and decide on a college major. Even though he was in a wheelchair, he was sure to attend my college graduation.
I could count on him to tell me what I NEEDED to hear, not what I wanted to hear. Our conversations were very real. He taught me so many things mainly about being a strong and quality person. Whenever I felt like giving up, on anything, he’d be the one to remind me that nothing worth having comes easy. Work hard. Always do your best and look good while doing it.
My kids were both born in Chicago but that didn’t stop him from building a bond, when we moved back two years ago he wasn’t able to take them anywhere but he found a way to entertain them. Wheelchair rides around the corner until they got too big. Of course that made him the coolest person in their mind. At the beginning and end of each visit we all lined up for our grandpa hugs.
I find myself teaching my boys a lot of the things he taught me such as the importance of maintaining good eye contact and good sturdy handshakes. Maybe that’s why I’m so tough, a great man played a role in molding me.
I debated on rather or not to let the boys attend his funeral, wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do. Growing up kids didn’t attend funerals but because of the bond the three of them had I decided to let them go. They watched in admiration as friends and veterans said their farewells. As we followed the casket out my six year old said “we will see Grandaddy in our dreams now” …The things kids say….. But he was absolutely correct. Grandaddy will forever be in our memories- and dreams- With that said, his passing isn’t a goodbye, it’s an I’ll see you later.
In closing, Grandaddy I know you’re no longer in pain and that’s what relieves me. I know you’re in heaven watching us. Smiling and shaking your head at these “rascals” … they’re so busy! Don’t worry I’ll keep them busy and fed 🙂 We miss your big smile, those strong handshakes and tight grandpa hugs. We will keep you alive through the many memories.
We love you Grandaddy
“It’s been a long day without you my friend and I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again. We’ve come a long way from where we began. I’ll tell you about it when I see you again…”