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?

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