Just a little over a month ago, my grandfather on my mom's side passed away. It was terribly sad, even though we had been prepared for it. It's the finality of it. I no longer have any grandparents.
I am comforted with the knowledge that I spent lots of time with him growing up and have countless memories, that he met my husband and attended my wedding. I also feel blessed that he met both of my children and spent some time with them. My last memory of him is a simple one, and not one I have shared with anyone else until this very moment. The family got together for Christmas, even Grampa, despite the fact I know he wasn't feeling well and probably wanted nothing more than to hole up at home and relax on the couch. This by the way, was the day before he was admitted to hospital where he eventually passed about 2 weeks later. He had just arrived a few minutes prior and he was in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, he was taking everything in and Abby toddles by. He smiles, reaches down and does that little hair ruffle thing with his fingers on her head. That warmed my heart and actually brings tears to my eyes as I write this. She looked up at him and then kept going. He mentioned how big she was getting and how well she was moving around.
I was fortunate enough to assemble the photo boards to be displayed at his funeral. I went through countless albums, smiling over old photos of him and my grandmother. Others sent me their photos to remember him by. I also felt I wanted to say something at the funeral, to share just a few of my memories. Below is what I put together in tribute.
My name is Amy; I am Howard’s second eldest grandchild. I am also Lynne’s daughter. When I learned about grandpa’s passing, so many memories came to my mind. I really wanted to share some of them with everyone.
Growing up, I spent so much time with both of my grandparents and I assure you, nothing was more important than family. It was such a joy to have all the family gathered together and Grandma and Grandpa loved being that central hub where we all converged. Not unlike most families, Christmas was the biggest event and over the years as the family grew, so did the number of seats at the table, but that didn’t matter, the meat just got sliced thinner and more water added to the gravy. Just recently, Grandpa was spending some recovery time at moms and I was there for the day. At one point, I decided to put up mom’s Christmas tree for her. As the decorating started, Grandpa came to join us in the front room and we had so many laughs discussing Christmas’s past.
Of course, my memories just don’t surround holidays. I remember Grandpa falling asleep on the living room floor and snoring so loud, I’m sure the windows shook, but he would wake up instantly if you changed the channel.
The dinner table rule: If you sit beside Grandpa, you have to eat everything on your plate, but the reality was it was probably the best place to sit, because if you couldn’t finish it, there was a good chance Grandpa would.
He was notorious for changing the channel on the TV and then leaving the room. I know I had many moments of stunned silence as Disney was switched to the news and then he was gone.
He was a jack of all trades and if you needed something, there was a good chance he had the parts somewhere or could cobble something up that would work.
He was generous to a fault and would put everything on hold to help you out.
Our sadness at his passing should be comforted with the knowledge that his death is not an end. He lives on in his children and each generation that comes thereafter.
I didn't make it through my name before I started crying. Each time I practiced at home I at least made it to the end. But in the end, I was proud of myself for standing in front of that crowd and sharing. I was also glad to have 2 of my other cousins up there for support, crying along with me. Our memories similar despite our age differences.
There were also 4 songs played during the ceremony and when I hear them, I smile and sometimes shed a tear as well.
I Believe - Diamond Rio
Love, Me - Colin Raye
You Can Let Go Now - Crystal Shawanda
Voices - Chris Young
I hope you enjoyed my tribute.
What would a tribute be without a photo!
|Taken in 2007, Hayden was 6 months,|
It was Grampa's 80th Birthday