It’s never easy to lose someone you love. It’s even harder when their last moments are not what you’d ever wish on your worst enemy.
My grandpa, “Grampy”, is not the kind of soft and fuzzy grandpa that some people have. He is ornery. He is no-nonsense. He is an amazing craftsman. He tells you exactly what he was thinking. I love him. 🙂
I’m not sure orneryness is hereditary, but my entire family is living proof that it is! Some of us inherited a little more than others, but there is no denying who our patriarch is. Edgar. He can frustrate the hell out of you one moment and the next have you laughing your butt off.
Sometimes it’s hard to deeply love someone like this. He is deeply critical when it comes to anything involving woodworking! The job needs to be done right. But beneath this tough outer shell is that soft and fuzzy grandpa. You just have to look.
My favorite memories of him are simple ones. Like when I’d call the house to talk to grandma. You knew that he was on the other line listening in.
Or when my mom forgot to put summer sausage tidbits on his pizza. “Stupid, stupid, stupid.”
Or most recently when I saw a very vulnerable Grampy making faces and making my daughter smile and laugh. He was silly and it melted my heart.
These two photos were taken on what I’d probably call his Last Best Day. No one ever anticipated what would come after this. Grampy developed MRSA in his recently amputated leg and the bacteria violently took over and is in his bloodstream.
But these last few days do not define him nor will I let those memories overshadow what a wonderful life he has led.
I’m definitely not one to tell his story, but I’ll give you a little glimpse into his life.
He loved my grandma. A lot. They were the cutest.
Grampy never went to war like his brothers did, but stayed behind and took care of the family farm. He raised four awesome kids and his whole life he worked hard and led a simple life.
I love the fact that Grampy would always tell it like it is. He never beat around the bush. If there was too much liquid in his green tomato relish … he’d let you know. If you were making a headboard without proper craftsman plans … he’d let you know. If you were in charge of cranking out the summer sausage and were going too fast … he’d let you know.
He always did a job correctly and immaculately. He made the kitchen cabinets in his house, he made the wooden stairs in my parent’s house, he made shadow boxes and beds. I know that scents have powerful memories and the smell of his wood shop is one I wish I could bottle up.
If there is one word to describe Grampy (after ornery!) I’d say strong. He is one tough guy! He’s been through the ringer with losing fingers, quadruple bypass surgery, diabetes, having a leg amputated, you name it. He’s always come out on top.
I think that’s why I’m so mad about this MRSA infection. I feel like he’s been cheated. He was doing so well and his recovery seemed to be on the right track 1.5 weeks ago. I’m angry that he won’t be able to pass peacefully with summer sausage in one hand with a glass of cherry juice in the other while watching a Cardinal’s baseball game.
I know that anger isn’t a good look and doesn’t help the situation, but I feel like I need to be angry for him. I wish I could shoulder some of the burden that’s on my mom. I wish I could hunt down whatever/whoever gave him this infection. I wish, I wish, I wish … but I can’t.
I love my grandpa. I’m so happy that I am one of his grandchildren. I’m thankful that he is the unique person that he is and has never deviated from it. I love that he is tough and soft. I love that he is crabby and silly. I love that he is critical because he cares.
There is still a big part of me that hopes he will miraculously recover from this infection, but deep down I know that’s not the case. Death is not fun. Death sucks. I know it’s inevitable for all of us, but honestly I just want Grampy to go out on his terms. And maybe I’m being selfish. To want him to stay in this life, in pain, is selfish.
However, I know this life has worn him out. Ultimately I know he just wants to be reunited with my Grandma. I love to picture the two of them on a warm summer day sitting in their house. Grandma peacefully asleep in her recliner and grandpa sitting in his spot on the couch cracking pecans. Not a hospital bed or an IV in sight.
This is how I will choose to remember him.
If I can ask one thing, I ask that you pray. We all covet your prayers that he passes peacefully and not in pain. I pray that my mom and her siblings feel God’s love and comfort during this time. I ultimately pray that Grampy knows how much we love him.
Update: About 30 minutes after this tribute posted, I received word that Grampy had passed and was with my grandma and Jesus.
Thank you to everyone for your kind words of sympathy and support. We will be holding a memorial service in his honor followed by our annual butchering get-together. There could not be a better way to remember and celebrate a man that meant so much to all of us. On that note, I’ll leave you with one of his jokes:
MR not snakes.
OSAR, CDEDBD I’s
LIB MR snakes.
Now picture him with a silly smirk on your face when you can’t figure it out … and then you do. 🙂