It’s been a week since the services for Gramps were held. A week since I saw Gramps for the last time. One week will turn into two, then into a month, then into a year, and then into two, five, ten, twenty and beyond. Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes there are lots of them. Sometimes, something so simple will happen and I’ll be brought to tears – the faint scent his aftershave as someone passes by. A glimpse of another man with greying hair and eyes similar to his. Seeing the kind of milk that he used to drink or crackers that he used to eat. It will be so different going home for Christmas break on Sunday and not seeing him walk out from the TV room to embrace us and ask how the drive was. And yet all of this is normal. I know that, but somehow it doesn’t make the process any easier. But Gramps was an amazing man. So I’m sharing what I wrote and read for his memorial service on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 because I feel it’s important for everyone to see him like I did.
After 94 years on this Earth, Gramps passed away Friday, December 4, 2015 at 9:20pm.
It’s so hard to summarize an entire lifetime of memories about Gramps without leaving something important out, but I’ll try my best. While he was biologically, grandfather he was much more like a father to me. He taught me how to ride a bike, and bless his heart, tried to teach me how to play different sports like soccer and basketball. Neither of which I learned how to play very well.
When I learned to play the flute in 7th grade, he was one of my biggest supporters. He took me to my weekly flute lessons for almost three years – sitting in the car or going up to the small, mostly empty Orange Blossom Mall. He took me to various auditions and held me while I cried when I thought I totally botched an audition for All-State. He never missed a concert.
He taught me how to drive in the Northport Middle School parking lot – which I know was a highlight because it meant that he didn’t have to cart me around everywhere any more.
He beamed proudly at my graduations – from high school at Lincoln Park Academy to my Masters in Education and the University of Florida.
He walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.
He cried tears of joy as he held Harper, his first great-grand child. While I’m not sure that she’ll really remember much of him, I’m so thankful that he was able to meet and spend time with her. His memory lives on in her spirited personality and her love for people.
As he got older, he loved telling the family about his own childhood and time in the military.
He always said that his greatest accomplishment was his family, and he loved us all so.
I know that each of us will keep his memory alive in all that we do, as he will never be far from our heart.
Picture taken on 11.28.15