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Time To Say Goodbye

My grandpa

For the first thirty-one years of my life, I had the incredibly rare blessing of having all four grandparents alive and very active in my life. This week, I travel to say goodbye to Grandpa C.

Grandpa C will always be larger than life to me. In every way, beginning with his impressive 6’4” stature. He and my Grandma are your classic love story, always inseparable. I stayed with them just last month, and I find it difficult to believe that I will walk into their home this week and Grandpa will not be there. Emma, Johnny, and Lily are coming with me. For once Mike’s many business trips paid off, with enough frequent flyer miles for all of us. Emma and Johnny have been asking to go see Grandma C all week. Maybe they knew something I didn’t.

Grandma and Grandpa have always been a large part of my life. We lived a mere mile away until just before my seventh birthday, and since our home abutted Grandpa’s farmland I saw him daily. He was always patient, even with my attempts to “help” often adding work to his plate. When I had cancer as a very small child, Grandma and Grandpa made their home my personal haven. While there I always felt safe, loved, and myself – no matter how confused, frustrated, or in pain I might be. They knew about sick grandchildren; they lost a granddaughter to Trisomy 18 before I was ever born. And loved her every moment of her too-brief life, sharing it with those of us who never knew her.

Grandpa C did not have an easy life. The son of a farmer, he wanted to go to college, but was kept behind to work on the farm. He sent all four of his children, and his wife, to college. All of his grandchildren have followed suit, many going on to obtain higher degrees. He battled heart problems, Parkinson’s, and Diabetes with the same gentleness and grace he used to approach everyday life. He never spoke much, but when he did you knew to listen. Frequently, he made you laugh with a gentle wit that surprised me in its simple brilliance. While we lived nearby, in my early childhood, he would come over frequently to visit. We would line up on the floor in front of him, and he would pull our feet – sending us into gales of laughter. Other times, we ran around him frantically, and he would occasionally move an inch or so and “catch” us, much to our delight. Such simple games. Such joy.

Grandpa inspired me to study hard in school and to make the most of each opportunity I received. His greatest lessons were the quietest. I will always be amazed at his gentle kindness and seemingly eternal patience; his acceptance of others for who they simply are. I never heard him complain, even as in recent years disease made daily life increasingly frustrating and painful.

Grandpa, thank you for teaching me how to live. I love you. I miss you.

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

22 thoughts on “Time To Say Goodbye”

  1. I am so sorry for your loss MaryAnne. He sounds like a wonderful man and grandpa. My heart hurts for you. Praying for you and your family xoxo

  2. Sounds like your grandpa was an amazing man! So sorry for your loss and I pray that you feel God’s comfort and peace during this difficult time.

  3. I also can’t imagine what it will be like to walk into their home and not have Grandpa Chris there. I feel so privileged to have known him the last 10 years. I also loved his sense of humor.

  4. Maryanne,

    I’m so sorry. He sounds like an amazing man, and a wonderful grandfather. Peace and blessings to you and your family.

    I’ll be praying for you.

  5. Oh Mary Anne, though we are blessed with the only real comfort and hope of resurrection and covenants, yes “grief is the price we have to for love”. I cannot swiftly recall the exact reference of the scripture where it states we should love as much as we can that we may mourn for those who go on. May you all be comforted in the way you need it and be protected on your way. MAy the kids sense that you need their support as you travel.
    I feel for you. Thanks for sharing about your Grandpa C.
    I never knew you suffered from cancer. If you would ever share share more, I would be thankful to hear.

    Lots of hugs,

  6. Your Grandpa sounds like a remarkable man who has left behind a wonderful legacy. His lessons will now live on for generations through you and your children. What a blessing and privilege to have a Grandpa that made the world a better place and inspired so much good.

    My prayers will be with you, Mike, Emma, Johnny and Lily, your Grandma and family.

  7. That is amazing that you have had all 4 for such a long time! He wounds like an amazing grandpa! I am so sorry for your loss. I hope the trip is a wonderful time, to see family, and to say good bye to such a wonderful papa!

  8. Karren Christensen

    Saw this post via Becca – it is a beautiful tribute and I am so glad you are able to travel with your children to pay tribute to him. I treasure the memories I have of my grandparents’ funerals–I know you will treasure this, too.

    Much love,

  9. I am so sorry about your loss. He sounds like such a special person. May he rest in peace. Travel safe.

  10. Thanks MaryAnne. The picture is wonderful–it captures all of Grandpa’s gentleness and love. I’ve never met a better man.

  11. He sounds like a wonderful that you are so privileged to of known.

    I hope during this sad time you all get to enjoy the visit with your remaining family and talking about your wonderful memories of your grandpa.

  12. I will always remember his sense of humor. He was a really good man. He treated me like family when I first met him, long before we were married. I will miss him.

  13. Elisa | blissfulE

    What a wonderful tribute to a man who enriched so many lives. I pray that you and your children will have peace that you can share with the rest of your family as you bear the loss and remember the good times together.

  14. Sorry to hear about your loss. I just lost my grandpa, too, and I am both amazed I got so long with him, and in disbelief that he won’t be there next time I visit. I hope you have good travels, and I hope your grandma is doing okay.

  15. My prayers will be with you, Johnny, Lily and Emma as you travel this week, but with you especially, Mary Anne as you say goodbye to your Grandpa and you are with your Grandmother.

    Your Grandpa sounds like a wonderful man, definitely a man to admire and love. The way you describe him reminds me of my own father in so many ways.

    I hope you find peace and comfort as you make this trip. Hugs, Mary Anne, and prayers.

  16. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Grandpa. He sounds like an awesome man. I always think people his age are the best generation: hard workers, wise, and have lived through good and bad. My Memaw always told me the most awesome stories and I miss those. No one these days has stories like that.

    I did not know you had cancer as a child. That is so wonderful that they made you feel so at home and well.

  17. I don’t know what to say, it seem so sad to loose someone who is so dear to you. When Prince Charles came to Christchurch to speak at the Memorial service, he said “Grief is the price we pay for love”, somehow it seems fitting for you. I hope your wee ones travel well and your shared time with family is special.
    Hugs deb xx

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