(Here is a little bit of what I planned on speaking at Grandpa’s Memorial a few weeks ago…I think I basically stuck to it. 🙂 Two of my cousins and I got up to share a little bit of what Gramps meant to us…)
As I sat in the airport waiting for everyone to arrive I couldn’t help but think of all of the memories of my Grandma and Grandpa that revolve around the airport – while playing basketball at UNT, they’d be at the airport each season when we arrived to play NMSU – and Grandpa would know each of my teammates by name. Throughout college, many lay-overs were spent in El Paso en route to Phoenix – we’d spend hours eating, catching up, and playing games (usually Boggle – and at a young age it became my life’s mission to beat my Grandpa at Boggle – it took years, but I finally succeeded!). Once, my Grandma couldn’t make it to the airport (she was home making pounds of brisket for some event they were hosting) so my Grandpa sat and took notes on our conversation so that he could relay it all to her. As I flew into El Paso this Friday, my heart sank realizing that he wouldn’t be out front to pick me up.
As I sat in their house this weekend, memories flooded me. I could hear his whistle as he walked down the hallway patiently waiting for Grandma, I could hear his chuckle as we told stories or recalled memories while on their patio, I heard his frustration with the remote – possibly the only thing I ever heard him speak negatively about – I could hear his cautions to my dad as he crawled up on the roof to clean, I could hear his and my Grandma’s commitment to laugh at least once a day coming true.
I think all of us here are aware of what an incredible man my Grandpa was – I don’t think collectively we could think of anything negative to say about him. A huge part of that is probably due to the fact that, despite the aforementioned remote control, I never heard my Grandpa say anything negative about anything or anybody. Even in the hospital, he was thanking the nurses for their care. We’re so blessed to have that example to follow – although sometimes I struggle with it! Between his love, integrity, compassion and dedication, there’s a lot to live up to. I’m so thankful for the man that he is and the memories that we have – grateful he didn’t suffer long before passing on and glad we can all be here to celebrate and honor his life.
As many of you might know, I’ve followed in grandpa’s teaching footsteps – although I teach elementary school special education, not high school math. Just this past Thanksgiving, I decided to administer a formal assessement on him. The results adequately concluded that my Grandpa was a very superior man – and we can all say we are better people because we knew him.
Grieving is an interesting process – the other day, I found myself crying three times. Once as I looked at his picture in my office, I cried for the people that didn’t get the chance to know my Grandpa. Later as I walked through the cereal aisle and passed the Frosted Flakes – although he hasn’t eaten them in years, I’ll always think of him with this cereal. And before I went to bed and looked at their picture on my nightstand, I cried thinking about how I won’t be able to call him anymore. However, there are also moments of gladness – times when I’m so happy he didn’t suffer longer than he did, so glad that he lived almost 88 years to share his life and love with so many people, and I’m so thankful for the past ten years of my life when I got to spend so much time with my Grandparents. It’s awesome not to have any regrets…Looking forward to Heaven!