I wrote this about my grandfather two days after his passing. Kind of my way of “dealing with it”. I never edited it, I just wrote what I thought right then and there. I doubt everything I ever wanted to say is in here, but there are so many things to say about someone I doubt I could write them all down even if I wanted to. So here’s to my Grandfather, the best man I had the pleasure of knowing, and taken from this world by a disease he didn’t deserve.
On June 2nd 2015 2:30pm my grandfather passed away. I have spent a good chunk of my life, around half, living with my grandparents. He was always the kind of man to do things himself, the manly man, the provider, honest working man. While I was growing up with him he would go to work for three days in the morning, three days off, three days at night, and three days off yet again. First and only job he had his whole life. Never heard him complain about his job, never heard him really even talk about his job other than if I asked what he did at work or if he came home with a split open thumb. He never went to the hospital either, always a “you’re fine, you don’t need a doctor” which in turn everyone that has ever been raised by him has a scar or bone that they probably should have gone to the doctor for, but alas did not.
My grandfather was a very intimidating man (to me at least), you never messed with him. From the second you see him you know who was boss, and when he raised his voice? That would silence a house, or as some stories go he silenced an amusement park because two kids cut in line. He was the strongest old man I knew, always lifting weights or running on the treadmill while watching Star Trek. I have speculation that this is what caused his ALS in the first place. Not only an intimidating man, but mysterious. To me at least but that might be because I never had the guts to approach him and talk to him. I didn’t see him as a “sit down and talk about our problems” kind of guy. He did however open up a bit, and it’s those moments that you knew he meant what he was saying, and if it was advice, you should take it.
Movies, coin collecting, and fishing were his pride and joy, what he spent most of his time doing that I remember. Star Trek was by far his favourite thing to watch. Every time you went downstairs to the basement you would see him sitting in his recliner watching either an old western or Star Trek with a coke in his hand. I never liked those kind movies or shows but as I grew older that’s all I really knew besides cartoons. So I can say because of my grandfather I have a place in my heart for those black and white VHS western shoot ’em up movies. He didn’t just watch these movies only, oh no. He had a movie collection that looked like it could give the Great Wall of China a run for it’s fame. Everywhere you looked in the basement movies everywhere. What I admired the most was not the amount of movies, but how he organized them. Every time he watched a movie he would put an index card in there with the last time he watched it, the next time he will watch it, the rating, the title, the year it was made, and maybe a short description of the movie. Based on how much he liked the movie would determine how often he watched the movie. That level of organization is astounding and how he kept track of it all was beyond me.
The other thing he enjoyed immensely was coin collecting and organizing. Just like his movies his level of documentation of the coins was unlike anything else. He had these plastic boxes that had compartments in them that would be labeled with the year the coin was made and where the coin was made. When I moved out from Montana to Virginia he always asked me for coins with a “D” or a “P” on them because in Montana those weren’t easily found. He of course worked out a deal with me like he always did and paid me more for the coins then I sent.
The beginning of my life is not only just a blur but a big conspiracy where there are so many different stories surrounding the subject that at this point, I don’t even know if I want to know. But what I do know is my grandfather was there. Helping me with my math homework, showing me how to draw for art class, and reading to me before bed followed by a hug coupled with a deep hum followed by a kiss goodnight, maybe even a tuck. He never asked you to help him with anything, you just wanted to help him. He would paint the house every 2 years or so, and paint the garage at the same time. Never asked for help, you would just go out there and say “Hey Grandpa, you want some help?” His response would always be a laugh followed by an “I don’t know, sure”. If I had to pinpoint his most used word, it quite possibly might be “sure”. The way he always said it, in his deep voice and always lengthened the word like a “suuuure” not in a sarcastic way, but in a way where he was pleased by your request to help. I don’t think sure was a word by it’s self with him, he would always look away for a second, say “hmmmm” or “I don’t know” with a smile or smirk then say sure.
Now time for the sad part, in about 2013 we noticed he was becoming short winded and not being able to lift like he used to. So my family took him to the hospital and he was diagnosed with ALS. If you don’t know what ALS is it basically dissolves the muscles. So after that watching him go from the rock that I always saw him as, to watching him struggle to lift his arms above his head. Watching someone loose the ability to do what he loves was heartbreaking. It got to the point where he couldn’t lift his coins anymore. All those years of organizing and collecting gone in an instant. His movies were harder to do as well. We had to sort them out for him and he struggled getting them into the player. Even in his last months he was able to watch his movies, even if he didn’t understand them that’s all he knew, that’s what kept him entertained. Later on he was diagnosed with pick’s which attacks the brain and then latter on dementia and who knows from then on. Once you see a man go from someone to someone who doesn’t even know who you are, you realize then that the man you knew died a long time ago, and you are taking care of a shell with memory spikes. It was good to see him notice and recognize a lot of people he talked to in his last days.
Thank you for all you did, I love you, and I miss you.
Had a dream about him last night as well. That’s what really prompted me to open the document. I had no idea it was today that he had passes, June 2nd. I’ve had dreams before about him, but to have one on the day he passes it’s like my body/mind knew.