Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Lesson

I've heard a lot of stories of my Grandpa Jack over the past week. For instance, he never raised his voice or his hand to his kids or grandkids. Instead, he used some unconventional methods to get his point across. One of my favorite stories is that of my mom who in the midst of a temper tantrum found herself soaking wet because my Grandpa dumped a glass of water on her. Not surprisingly, it stopped her tantrum. I heard about how my Uncle Dave used to pretend to be asleep so he wouldn't have to go to church and Grandpa would pour water in his ear. I heard that rather than yell or hit his children, the worst thing he could do to them was tell them he was disappointed in them. My mother said she'd rather have been beaten than hear that. One time when I was smarting off to my grandma, he just looked at me and said "Kels.". That's all he had to say. I shut my mouth.
His patience was unending. I wish I had inherited it but I didn't and so I have to work at it. But somehow, knowing that Grandpa is watching over us I feel like I'll have some extra help when I feel my patience waning. I hope.
When he quietly slipped away from us on Friday night I was surprised at how peaceful I felt. Of course I felt sad too but he was surrounded by people who loved him. I'm so glad I went when I did. It's so important to say the words you feel to the people you love, especially during a time like this. And that's the other lesson that I take away from this experience. It's important to tell people how you feel. And tell them often. And I don't mean just telling someone that you love him/her. I mean it's important to tell people how you feel. I whispered in my Grandpa's ear that I love him very much and that I will never forget how he and Grandma took me camping, took me to the park and took me to the zoo. I told him that I will soon be able to take Jack and Dean to the miniature golf park and that I'm pretty sure Jack will be the one to get mad just like his mother used to and throw a club. The thing is I have a head full of happy memories of things we used to do but I had never told him what those things meant to me until the day he died. From now on, I want my loved ones to know what they mean to me and how I feel about them.
What about you?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Going Home - Addendum 9/24/06

I booked a flight to Indy for this Thursday, 9/14. Grandpa is getting worse by the day and I need to go home to see him and give my mom a much needed break. I'm not taking the boys with me because it would be just too much of a distraction and would add more stress. So, there won't be much posting happening in the next week or so.

Addendum 9/24/06:
Grandpa Jack died peacefully on Friday, September 15th at 10:42pm surrounded by his daughter Melinda, sons David and Monte, grandson Nathan and myself.
I'll write more later once I'm able to compose my thoughts. He was one of the kindest, gentlest people I've ever known.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Grandpa Jack

My Grandpa Jack isn't doing very well. Mom called last night to tell me that he's only lucid about half the time, is easily confused and is starting to fail. She arranged hospice care for him and is doing everything possible to make sure he is comfortable. I am sad and feel helpless. My Grandpa Jack is a kind but mischievous man who has never said an unkind word about anyone. When I was a little kid he used to delight in teasing me, the cat, the dog and anyone or thing that would give him a reaction. My brother was always a better ping pong player than me, even though he was 3 years younger. Grandpa would tell him to give me an "ephus" when we were playing. I'm making up the spelling of the word just as I'm sure Grandpa made up the word. Anyway, an ephus is when you set up the ball so your opponent thinks they have an easy slam but there's a wicked spin on it and when you try to slam it, it just flies straight out and you miss the table every time. If I played ping pong with Grandpa he would serve me an ephus every single time because I fell for it every single time. He loved watching me get mad and try to hit it harder and harder. He also liked to take me to the local miniature golf course. I used to get pretty frustrated there too and I was known to throw my club around. He loved it.
He is fiercely loyal and adored my Grandma. He cared for her as long as he could and was never the same after she died. I think he simply hasn't wanted to be here without her.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Dean the Wave Master

This is Dean. He's holding a feather. He's yelling at the waves but they don't listen.