So, I’ve been MIA. Other then new food recipes lately, I haven’t posted much or worked much. And there’s a reason for it.
My grandpa passed away. He had been having a wonderful day with my grandma and was installing some drawers in their garage when he apparently collapsed.
My brother called me late that night. I had been playing soccer out in the sun all day and was winding down for some champagne and a sushi bowl when I got the call. I almost didn’t answer. I was half asleep. But something made me answer, and as soon as I did, I knew that there was something very wrong. I could hear him crying. For whatever reason, my first thought was that he was joking. I knew he wasn’t – I mean, why would anyone joke about something like that? He definitely wouldn’t. But it was my first instinct to deny that this had truly happened.
His death was sudden, unexpected. He hadn’t had any heart problems previously.since he is the first grandparent I’ve lost, it has been particularly hard.
The sudden passing of my amazing, 84-year-old Grandpa Don sent me home for about 3.5 weeks. A whole month, basically. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to go home for so long, both from a financial perspective and from a career perspective. Many bosses, let alone PI’s of a graduate student, wouldn’t have been so understanding. But she was. And I’m very grateful for that.
It felt very surreal for awhile once I got back. The idea that I wouldn’t see him again, for whatever reason it didn’t sink in. It felt more like he was on vacation, or that he was in the hospital like he was before. Not that he was gone and that I would never see him again.
And then we got to see his body one last time, and things really started to set in. Seeing my grandma – his wife of 62.5 years – cry along with my dad, my brother. It was hard. Really hard.
My month long trip home wasn’t all sad. I had many good times too – golfing with grandma for her birthday to pick her back up, hiking with my good friend in the Cascades, going to visit another friend in Port Townsend, a Father’s Day beer festival, being there for the birth of my best friends little girl, etc. There were so many great moments when I was back…
While I was back home, a number of other deaths occurred, some of
Only a couple hours after getting home from the hospital to meet my best friend’s little girl
Not a week later, I found out that my soccer coach from high school was struck by a drunk driver on his way to work and was killed also.
Something was just relentlessly reminding me that (and pardon my French here) life is FUCKING short. And that if we’re not living a life that we love, we better check ourselves. Because the next moment is absolutely not guaranteed.
THE EMOTIONS THAT FOLLOWED
It’s odd when someone passes away though. Somehow, in the moments that follow, there’s a part of you that feels guilty every time you feel a significant emotion. Guilty for having any moments where I felt joy when I should’ve been grieving. Guilty for grieving because my grandpa would want me to feel joy. Guilty for anger because I had so much to feel blessed about in my life that I shouldn’t feel any anger.
It was like this insane cycle of feeling like what I was feeling I shouldn’t have been feeling. And it was hard to navigate.
I think the saving grace of everything was the fact that I was primarily responsible for putting together a photo slideshow for grandpa’s memorial service. At first, I thought this would be too difficult. But I really felt that reminiscing, going through all of those pictures, learning all about these aspects of my grandpa’s life that I didn’t know about…in many
I knew my grandpa was a tremendous man, but these pictures taught me so much about all of these amazing things that he had done in his life.
LESSONS FROM MY GRANDPA DON
The hardest day, by far, was the day of his Memorial. The final viewing at the funeral home, his funeral with full military honors at Tahoma National
It was so final.
But, the hardest part was hearing everyone tell stories about grandpa. My cousin, through tears, got up and talked about how Grandpa taught him that anything you want to do you absolutely can if you put enough into it. He was a Master Gardener and an
I wanted to speak at his Memorial. Well, more specifically, I wanted to describe one particular aspect of my grandpa to everyone. I didn’t know if I could do it without crying, but I think I realized that day that no one expected me to not cry. So, I walked up on stage and looked out into the incredibly packed church before me and told them exactly what I remembered and loved most about my grandpa.
Grandpa was the epitome of an unbreakable spirit! He’s the guy who, no matter what he is going through, is always able to see the silver lining. When I was in high school, he
A number of years later, he had some health issues which landed him in the hospital for a month or so leading up to my brother’s wedding. He definitely had his moments, but truly nothing could break his spirit. At
No matter what, grandpa chose to be happy. He chose to enjoy life, to live life to it’s absolute fullest. He chose
Life doesn’t always give you exactly what you want. Life doesn’t always give you
I love you
As one of my grandma’s friends from church said – God must have needed someone to tend his garden, and he only takes the best.
Truer words have never been spoken.