My grandpa passed away a few weeks ago.
Even though we knew that he was close to the end I can't say that we were ready.
Although, is anybody ever ready for a loved one to die?
I love all my grandparents but I have to say that I had something special with Grandpa Stemen. He was always making me laugh and embarrassing me. (Like the time he had everyone in Cracker Barrel sing Happy Birthday to me)
I got him back though, one time in WalMart I loudly declared that he had coffee breath and told him to get some gum for his breath.
He taught me a lot about a lot of things. Even though most of my friends never got to meet him, he still influenced them through me.
If I've ever teased you or picked on you, that's Grandpa. He picked on everyone he loved.
If you've ever seen my tomboy side, that's Grandpa. He took me fishing and watched baseball with me and showed me that I can still be a girl while having fun.
If I've ever told you a joke that just makes you want to lose hope for humanity, I probably heard it from Grandpa. He loved to laugh and make people laugh. (Even if that meant stooping to the obscenely lame)
That was one of my favorite things about Grandpa: he made me laugh.
One time I was fishing with him (I was probably nine or ten) and he had to put the minnows on my hook because I didn't like to touch them. I walked down to a spot underneath a drooping tree, checked my hook, and flung my line. I was a little overambitious, however, and my poor minnow flew through the air and got caught in the tree. I hollered at Grandpa that I needed a new minnow. He laughed and baited my hook again. I cast the line, and once again, the minnow flew off the hook and into the tree. Grandpa was cracking up by now and told me that we should name the minnow Tarzan. He gave me yet another minnow and once again, its final resting place was the tree. Grandpa told me that my minnows had earned enough frequent flier miles and told me to move to a new spot.
I don't know that I'll ever be able to go fishing again without remembering my minnows and their frequent flier miles.
He taught the whole family to laugh. Even at his funeral, there were smiles and jokes exchanged. Perhaps that was because we realized that Grandpa wouldn't have wanted us to be sad. There's a hole in all our hearts now that won't be filled until that day when we see him again, but we don't grieve without hope.
At the funeral Geoffrey and I were the only family members in the room when the coffin was closed, and I have to say I don't feel bad for those who missed it. It was awful having to see my grandpa, who was always the life of the party, closed up in a box that was destined for some hole in the ground. It felt so wrong to see him, but not him (because he's in Heaven now) lying there, not really there, only a shell. The family came in, people said things, we cried...Geoffrey and I played the piano (I barely kept it together because Grandpa loved to hear us play) I played the piano (like a true church pianist) for one of Grandpa's favorite hymns, To God Be The Glory. I went up to the piano and picked up the hymnal from the side of the piano. Holding true to my luck, I dropped another hymnal on the keyboard somewhere in the nether regions of the lower keys, creating a noise more horrible than anything I ever knew a piano could make. I was mortified but I know Grandpa would have laughed.
The scene at the graveside was morbidly picturesque. It was exactly the kind of day you would expect for saying goodbye to a loved one. The sky was the palest grey and the wind was cold and biting. We gathered around and I wondered if anybody driving by and seeing us would care how greatly this affects our lives. Things will never be the same. We'll always miss Grandpa, but he's having a grand time with everybody in Heaven and we'll follow him soon.