Today’s post is not a sad day but a celebration of an AWESOME Grandpa. Ten years ago today, my Grandpa passed away. He was one of the funniest men I have ever known. He was always making jokes with everyone but he especially knew how to kid around with the ladies. My Nanny just laughed as she knew it was all in good fun. He always seemed to know how to put everyone at ease.
He and my Nanny were married for almost 57 years, had he made it to Christmas. Yes, their Anniversary was December 25th! As a kid, I lived a block away from my grandparents. I was down there a lot. I have so many good memories and I am very thankful for that.
Grandpa had some cool hobbies. He loved gardening and had flowers downstairs in the basement under lights at all times. He and Nan did ceramics at one point and I still have some pretty cool dollhouse miniatures made by them. He also loved to sculpt Bonsai trees- I thought this was the coolest hobby ever. He LOVED to drive! They were always going out for a “drive”- especially in the countryside. He loved Shirley Temple and Dolly Parton. The biggest hobby for Grandpa was his organ. He loved his music. He was amazing! He played by ear. He could listen to something and immediately play it. Almost every time I went to visit, I could hear the music floating out the windows and filling the room with happiness.
When I decided to travel, I couldn’t stay at home. My grandparents offered me a place to stay before I left, so I moved in with them for 3 months. I feel so fortunate that I got to spend the time with them. It will always be treasured.
Grandpa had it rough… health wise. He was so strong though. When he was first diagnosed with cancer, they gave him about a 2 year timeline. We were lucky to have him with us an extra 20 years! Near the end, it took a huge toll on him and he ended up having other complications as well. It was so hard to see him that way.
I visited him a lot near the end and most of our visits were really good. He was alert and able to carry on a conversation.One of our last conversations has stayed with me and always will. As far back as I can remember he always told me “you don’t need a boyfriend… they are always trouble”. I can still hear him telling me. At the time he got sick, I had just met George and we had only been on a few dates. My daily visits usually had me talking about my “dates” with George. He wasn’t so talkative near the end but the one visit, after I told him about my date he looked straight at me and said “what are you waiting for?” I was flabbergasted! I barely knew George and he had always been the one to tell me to “stay away from boys”. He passed away shortly after this but what came next… I am “positive”, he was the one to bring George and I together.
I have only told a handful of people about this. George was with me when I heard the news of Grandpa’s passing. Being we were so new (not even boyfriend-girlfriend status), I told him I would call him in a few days once we got through all the visitations and funeral. He insisted on meeting my parents to offer condolences. I wasn’t really ready for that but he thought it was only right. Not the best way for someone to meet the parents. It went as well as could be expected.
On the funeral day, my whole family was present. As I was standing at the front of the room talking with my sister-in-law I heard “Ummmmm, Tina”. I looked up and what happened next… I can’t explain. I like to think…no, I know it was Grandpa giving me a sign from above. Have you every seen the movie Big Fish? This is exactly what happened, no joke. I still can’t believe it. It makes me teary every time I think about it. When I looked up, George was standing in the middle of the room in a black suit with his hands in his pockets, looking right at me. I couldn’t hear anyone talking around me, there was no movement around me- it was completely silent. I was just looking at George. I will never forget that experience. After what felt like forever, I heard my sister-in-law say “Tina, go see him”. He met my entire family that day- brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. So, even though Grandpa wasn’t there in person, I know he was there in spirit helping me along.
Two years later, I married George. We walked out of the church with Grandpa’s music filling my ears and my heart. I miss him but continue to love him and his qualities that made him the BEST Grandpa in the world.