As I mentioned in my last post, my grandfather died on February 26, just about 6 weeks after Cowboy was born.
I was close to my grandpa and it made me sad. Sad to know that I won’t see him in his cool chair every year at his house. Sad that I won’t see him enjoying his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. Sad that he won’t see his 15th great-grandchild, my little Cowboy. Sad because I know how much my mom loved him. Sad because I know now if I’m lost in Utah, I won’t have my personal map to call. Sad because he’s gone and we won’t see him for a long time. Sad because I didn’t get to say goodbye.
But in a way, it made me happy too. Okay, maybe happy isn’t the right word. Relieved? Released? It’s a complicated emotion that I’m not sure of the word. But we’ll go with happy now. It made me happy because I think he was ready to go. He was looking for his father and has for sure seen him now. Happy because I got to see everyone in my family. I miss them so much sometimes. The ache for family togetherness is greatest for me around when I have a baby. I so want to show him off and have everyone in the family meet him. And Grandpa’s funeral gave me the opportunity to do that. So I thank him for the opportunity for my family to ooh and ahh over my baby. For the memory of my uncle walking into my Nana’s house not knowing that I was there and dropping everything he was holding so he could hold the baby. For seeing my whole family walk into the church and know that EVERYONE was there. For knowing that Grandpa passed surrounded by those who love him.
The funeral was lovely. My brother and his wife sang (I could listen to them all day) and my mom, aunt, and uncles shared memories of him. There was a bag piper at the grave (which I totally want at my funeral) and the honor guard from the army was there to salute him.
Taps was played by a guard standing alone in the snow with the mountains in the distance.
All the grandkids got flowers to place on his coffin after the service. I saw my Nana exhausted and sad but welcoming the guests to the viewing and the funeral and the luncheon after with grace and dignity.
I think my favorite memory of Grandpa is of him driving. I have been a passenger on many road trips with him. Trips where we drove in his big silver van with a TV and a VCR in it. That was a big deal when you are 10. He drove me to Canada (twice), California to visit his sister and her swimming pool, Washington State to visit his brother, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, and all over the west. Disneyland was amazing. I remember sleeping in the car at least 2 times because we couldn’t get a hotel for some reason, and I remember running out of gas and walking to a station with my aunt. I remember long roads of corn, sleeping in the back of the van, and watching a lunar eclipse out the window while he drove.
I lived with my grandparents during 2 moves. Their house was the second house I ever lived in. I still have the address and the phone number memorized. I turned 12 in that house. I almost turned 16 there too. I remember the diet coke in the fridge in the garage. I thought that was SO cool. I remember when their back porch was nothing but fake grass and had a grape vine growing up a trellis. I remember when they put in their great room and took out that back porch. I remember smacking my head on their short short stairs. I remember listening to Grandpa snore in the middle of the night. I remember how proud he was of all of us. And then I saw the delight he took in the babies that came into the world.
Miss you Grandpa. You were and are dearly, dearly loved.