My gramps would be 102 today, it’s hard to believe it’s been almost eight years since he died. Gramps was the only father figure I had in my life and he was rock solid. On the first date, he made the guy give his driver licenses, car plate number, home phone number, parent’s name, where he went to school, and what movie he was taking me to see. I was mortified and remember telling granny if this is would happen every date I wouldn’t be dating.
My gramps loved me unconditionally, always living by example and telling me I could do anything, be anything. When I was a young girl we would watch Miss America and I would say I want to be Miss America, he said okay, you can if you work hard and really want it.
In all my life he only lost his temper three times, two I deserved. The other, well…..he was too sick, dying really and I don’t count that one. I had the privilege of being a caregiver to my gramps while he was dying. You find out what a person is made of and what you are made of when you’re faced with death.
He had kidney failure and we knew he would go into a coma a couple of days before dying. One morning he woke up talking but not making sense, I knew we were getting close. I made his favorite meal, potato soup, and called family. He would not get into the hospital bed until that day, he had refused. That day he knew the end was near.
We talked about how he would be with my granny soon and see his parents again. He loved my granny so much and was ready to see her, she had died several years earlier. I feed him or tried to, I ended up spilling soup down his face, we laughed.
There wasn’t a need to say a tearful goodbye, we had months to talk and share our feelings, say what we wanted to say and so there weren’t any tears. He was not in pain, just sleepy. What a beautiful way to die. Being able to talk about good times and then go to sleep.
My gramps loved to play Lotto scratch-off games. In this photo rendering, he is enjoying several cards we bought for his birthday. It was always the simple things that made him happy.
I know he’s proud of me and was the daughter he never had.
I miss him terribly and not a day goes by without thinking about him or the lessons he taught me.
Happy Birthday, Gramps.