This fall, our family lost our patriarch, my Grandfather. He was the best grandfather that any child could ever hope to have. He would be silly with us, yet stern when we needed it and never made us feel less than the most loved child on the planet (there are 8 grandchildren but each of us felt like his only). Every second I got to spend with him is a second I will treasure for the rest of my life. My brother was able to muster up the strength to deliver his eulogy and honestly, he captured our grandfather’s essence so perfectly, I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it as well as he did.
I’ve lost important people in my life before, but this is probably my first “adult loss.” We were able to be with him for his final hours and I was able to witness the peace in the room, the love of all our family gathered around him and how he left this earth – allowing us all to feel “ok” just like he always had. My world, as I had known it for 29 years, was a little different and a piece of my heart was missing that was just there a week ago. I was never going to be greeted by his big grin, friendly blue eyes and warm, strong hug again. I was never going to be able to sit on the couch and tell him of promotions, future travels, or silly dad jokes again. I would never walk into my aunts at Christmas again and say “Merry Christmas, Gramps!”
I was prompted to write about this because this will be our first Christmas and Thanksgiving without him. I hear Christmas songs and I am reminded of the feeling I had when I was a child. My parents drove an anxious and excited young version of me and my brother over to my grandparents home. We would get so many presents and most importantly just all enjoy being around one another. As we got older I watched my grandfather just observing the chaotic, loud room around him. Watching the family he built laugh and still enjoy being around one another and it was almost to say he knew, that soon, there would be an empty seat at the table where he sits.
This holiday season won’t be the same. While he won’t physically be with us, I know he will be there. He will be laughing with us, and seeing the practical jokes and the celebrations. I can just hope, with all my heart and soul, he knows that all of our lives were changed because he was a part of it, and because hes gone .. our lives will never be the same.