Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Remembering Grandpa

My grandpa died on March 3. His name was Gerald and he was 89 years old.

Gerald and Dessie with my dad.

I miss him and I loved him very much. I am also thankful that he is no longer suffering from dementia. This sort of grief makes me feel conflicted. I felt this same way when my grandma died in 2010 and when my dad died in 1996. They were all terminally ill so when they died, I felt a sense of relief that accompanied the loss. I don't like feeling this way. It's really confusing.

My grandpa is now with my dad and my grandma. He is home. There was no funeral or memorial. I guess that he didn't want anything and it wasn't my decision to make. This tiny memoir is my memorial to my grandpa. I need to reflect on his life. He deserves to be recognized for being a good man.

Me and grandpa on my wedding day.

Gerald was sort of a quiet man. He was hard working, having retired from General Motors, and provided well for his family. He loved his family and enjoyed being around others. You could tell because he would get a certain look on his face. It was a combination of peacefulness and pride in his family and friends. It was a look of happiness.

Grandma and grandpa.

My grandpa found little things amusing. For one anniversary, my husband and I bought grandpa and grandma a weekend at a bed and breakfast in St. Augustine. They had so much fun. After dinner one evening, we walked them back to their room. The bed was turned down and there were chocolates on their pillows. My grandpa thought the chocolates were condoms. We laughed until our stomachs hurt.

At home in Florida.

He didn't like asking for help. We had a family cabin in Michigan - it was on an island on a lake. One summer, he needed to do some work on the cabin. My husband and I were taking a vacation to Michigan and asked him to wait until we got there so we could help. He didn't wait and ended up falling off of a ladder. He laid outside on the ground for hours before my grandma came looking for him. There's no phone on the island so my grandma had to yell for a fisherman to come pick him up and take him to the hospital.

When my husband and I finally arrived, we still went to the island. My grandpa had no problem getting into the rubber raft at the landing with his walker. He was one of the most determined men I've ever known.

He loved fishing.

He was the only grandpa I knew. I always remember him being there - as a child, a teenager and an adult. We were close - even when I lived across the country, he and my grandma were there for me. He was there for dance recitals, graduations, my move to college, vacations, my dad's death, birthdays and my wedding.

My grandpa and I before a dance recital.

One of the things that I will remember the most about him was his love for my grandma. They were amazing. She used to get frustrated with him and he would just laugh. He would sneak kisses when he thought no one was watching and he simply adored her. I hope that my marriage is as long as theirs. I pray that my marriage is as full as Gerald and Dessie's was.

Love is forever.
Grandpa, you will always be in my heart. I will remember you forever.


  1. so sweet. I'm so sorry to read this. But what a good grandpa you had. I was not close to either of mine. Love the chocolate/condom tale! Your g-pa sounds a lot like my dad. He is 90, so they are of that same, strong, greatest generation. Cherish your memories!!

    1. I often think of my grandpa when you write about your dad. They do sound similar - both headstrong and funny:)

  2. What a beautiful tribute to your grandpa! My grandpa died March 11, 2010. I have wonderful memories of him, and your post reminded me of some of them, especially your memories of his love for your grandma. May you find joy and comfort in those memories!

    1. Thanks, Shelly. It's so comforting knowing that we have our memories:)

  3. Oh dear! I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I can understand how you feel. It’s like you’re sad because they’re not with you anymore, but relieved that they’re not suffering from their illness as well. Anyway, I'm sure your grandfather is in a happier place now. So you guys should be happy for him as well. All the best!
    Marcia Sherman @ Comfort Keepers