3/25/2012 10:48:00 AM

Dadone, me, Nate and Dad @ Nate's Baptism

Friday night my grandfather passed away.  It was 9 o'clock . . . about an hour after I left the hospital.  My Mom and Dad and Aunt Anita were with him when he went and they said it was very peaceful.  I'm grateful that they were there and that he didn't struggle or suffer.  I also very grateful that I was able to spend some time with him Thursday night - even though he couldn't talk, we held hands (he squeezed my hand tight) he looked at me and I knew that he knew I was there and that he loved me and he knew I loved him, too.

My grandfather and I had a good relationship.  It wasn't always great and I will admit that the last few months I didn't make the effort I should have to spend time with him.  Of course, I regret that now.  However, my grandfather knew that having 4 kids kept me very busy and I did ask about him, talk to him on the phone a few times and think about him often.

When my children are being stubborn, I blame it on my grandfather.  Funny, I know, but he was one of the most stubborn individuals I've ever met.  When he made a decision it was set in stone and no one would ever be able to talk him out of it.  I don't ever remember a story where someone said that my grandfather admitted or knew he was wrong...I'm pretty sure in his eyes he was always right and the rest of us, who sometimes thought otherwise, just didn't know what we were talking about.  There was no real compromising with my grandfather.  It was his way or the highway and a lot of times people I love a great deal were hurt because of this, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally.

I know it hurt me when he decided not to attend my wedding but I also knew that's the way he was and there was no talking him into coming once he had made that decision.  All that was left for me (and my family) to do was to accept it.  He never meant to hurt me personally with his decision, though, and I got over it (or at the very least didn't let it ruin one of the best days of my life).  He did send me some silk sheets and a bottle of champagne to celebrate, though...completely different than the wedding gift he game my dad.  He obviously wanted his granddaughter to have great-grandchildren  for him a lot sooner than he had wanted his son to have his grandchildren.  :)  (okay, I won't leave you guessing . . . he gave my dad a GROSS of condoms - not a pack . . . an entire gross - that's 144 total - for his wedding present.)

Dadone, me, Danika and Dad @ Danika's baptism
My grandfather had a very big heart - sometimes bigger than it should be - when it came to his friends and he gave to so many people.  He loved my kids and always smiled when they were around.  He loved to joke around with them and share stories of when he was younger.  He always had a story to tell.  He knew so much about cooking and food that I knew exactly who to ask about the differences in this spice or that and what I could substitute if I wanted something different than what a recipe called for.  Dinners with him at the table were almost like cooking lessons.  He loved good food and everything had a special name with him.  For example, sauerkraut was German Spaghetti and my favorite macaroni salad that he made (it had dill in it) was called Russian Macaroni Salad.

When I was younger, I thought my grandfather was invincible.  He was so strong, big and full of life.  When I saw him Friday, I couldn't help but become overwhelmed thinking about what he looked like lying in his hospital bed.  The difference years make . . . it's hard to accept.

The next few days are going to really stink...I hate funerals (okay, I know I'd be very hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't hate them) and funerals where I will see so many people I love upset are even worse.  I am definitely in that stage where I know what happened and what is coming but it hasn't REALLY sunk in yet.  I've been through this enough times, though, to know that at some point in the next 3 days it will hit me like a ton of bricks and I will have my breakdown.  Then . . . it will happen a few weeks later (probably at Easter because my grandfather always shared a special Easter Saturday brunch with us) and then it will happen again . . . as much as I hated the book The Year of Magical Thinking, I will say that the first year without someone is it's own special journey.

I would greatly appreciate prayers for my family (especially my father, aunt and uncle) as we get ready to bury our patriarch.  It is going to be very emotional and probably even a little bit stressful as we go down memory lane with each other and ultimately say goodbye to a man who is responsible (in one way or another) for giving us each other.


Thank you for giving me my wonderful family.  Thank you for always having a smile for me and my children and for loving us the best way you knew how.  We love you and will miss you dearly.

Love, your eldest grandchild,

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