I have a good excuse for not writing this time around.
Right now, I am sitting on my parent's couch with my feet up, enjoying their company. I hadn't planned to come home until Christmas so the trip was definitely a surprise.
Last Thursday morning, my mother called me to inform me that my dad's father was in the hospital. By the time I made it home Thursday night, I was too late to say goodbye.
It's been a really long couple of days to say the least.
I'm home until next Saturday to spend some time with the family. I had to leave my baby at home, which was the hardest part of leaving for this long, but work has been flexible and it's nice to have some time to see my grandma and parents. I can take comfort in the fact that I have seen my grandpa every time I have been home in the last couple of years, but seeing that I live across the country from him, that's not saying much.
He was an incredible little man, even if he came across as cranky most of the time. He was independent and stubborn to a fault and it's been difficult to watch him failing in the last couple of years. My grandfather never outgrew the childish twinkle in his eyes - his sense of humor was still quick and witty even if it took him much longer to shuffle his way across the house than when I was a child. He insisted the day he went into the hospital that he get a haircut. I will always think he knew something was coming. Grandpa was gruff sometimes but we always knew that he loved us and that he was proud of all that we accomplish. He could do crossword puzzles better than anyone I've ever met. When I was a child, he smoked a pipe filled with cherry-flavored tobacco and though he quit years ago, I will always walk into my grandparents' dining room expecting to see him sitting at his place at the dining room table, doing his puzzles, sorting through papers, and smoking his pipe. Over the last couple of days, I have remembered so many tiny moments with him - the time as a child that I saved sticks from our backyard and gave him kindling for Christmas, the hundreds of fish fries that I have enjoyed with him and grandma at the bar, the hours spent at their home just spending time with them.
Needless to say, the loss will be felt by my entire family for years to come. Even though he was aging... even though his last memories where of dinner at this favorite bar, with a steak in his mouth and a drink in front of him... even though it was clearly his time... this really isn't easy for anyone. Death never is. But he lived a long and fruitful life and saw so many things that many people only dream of.
We love you, Grandpa. You will be missed. You already are.