So...my grandfather passed away. I'm not sure I can be as eloquent in talking about it as he deserves, but since this blog has turned into a place for me to remember things, I want to be sure to say a few things.
My grandfather was pretty much the coolest person in the world. He grew up in a tiny town in Virginia, fought in World War II as a paratrooper, and then came back and started his own business from nothing. My favorite memories of him involve my thinking he was the Godfather (a la the Mob) as he sat at the head of the table and always took the bill for out 10+ parties. He loved poker and even has a framed royal flush he got one time. He told me recently that until his last trip to Atlantic City, he had never left the place in the hole. I like to think I have his poker luck:) He was a night person- whenever I spent the night at my grandparents, my grandmother would have me yell upstairs, "granddad! Gram and I want breakfast!" and he would wake up, with no complaints, even though he preferred to sleep 'til noon, and would go fetch us something. He used to pay for the entire family (that's four of his children and all nine of his grandchildren) to go Ocean City, MD every year for a week. I remember him getting into the water once. He loved bluegrass and, even though I resisted as a kid, I now realize he had some pretty kickin' taste. He visited my grandmother every day he could since she had to start living at the nursing home.
The last time a family member passed away, I was maybe 13 and it was my great grandmother. My grandfather was at Thanksgiving so, to think that just a little over a month later he is not with us is pretty difficult to process.
My mom told me that my grandmother, who has been in a nursing home for a few years (where he was his last couple of weeks), convinced a nurse to take her down to visit him the night before he died. This makes my heart warm since my grandmother can't always express what she wants in a way for us to understand. I imagine her insisting she be taken down to see him. The nurse told my mom that she stroked his arm for awhile before being taken back up. I guess he passed early the next morning.
I am also glad my mom got to see him the day before.
Here is his obituary in The Washington Post.
Scarlet (grandchild # 4:)