Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You'll be missed

Grandpa and Grandma, looking dapper.
On Monday, Grandpa completely stabilized and was taken off of 24-hour hospice; it seemed his journey would be a bit longer than expected.  I have to admit, I more than entertained the hope that he would linger for a while longer and perhaps I could attend the funeral upon my return from TNNA.  However, this morning my father called me just minutes after Grandpa passed away.  He was at peace and all of his sons were present; knowing that he was surrounded by family is certainly a comfort.  The funeral will be this Saturday in Kansas City, and though I am unable to attend, my sister in Portland found a flight back.  I'm glad that one of us can be there to lend support - I just wish I could join her!

It's funny the things you find out about someone after they pass away - for instance, I had no idea that Grandma and Grandpa took my Dad and his brothers to the World's Fair in Montreal.  Though I knew that his career was in the Kansas education system, but I had no idea how extensive his resume truly was.  Even the list of the many towns he and his family called home throughout the years yielded a few surprises!

Many of us are contributing memories to be read at the funeral - here is what I wrote:

Grandpa was always on-the-go.  He always seemed younger than his years to me, because he wasn’t about to let his age prevent him from visiting his son & family in Hawaii, taking a road trip down to Arkansas, or embarking on any sort of adventure with family or friends. He and Grandma came out to so many cross country & track meets for both my sister and me – not to mention all the other school events we had along the way. Their support and enthusiasm meant a lot to all of us. 

I remember visiting Grandma and Grandpa in various places throughout Kansas, though Pittsburg and Lawrence are the most vivid for me.  I joined him and dad at the Meyer family reunion a couple of times, though my fondest memory is of the float trip I took with Grandpa, Grandma, my Dad, and my sister, Adrienne.  Grandpa and Dad made the mistake of letting all three girls team up with their own canoe – then again, perhaps it was a decision they encouraged on purpose, because we ended up providing them with a good laugh or two as the day wore on.  At one point, our canoe got stuck in a shallow spot, and could NOT get free.  There was much laughing and eventually, the canoe was overturned, we were all soaked and overtaken with the giggles.  Meanwhile, Grandpa and Dad were casually observing from downstream.  (It’s also important to note that Grandma ended up being the one to accidentally flip the canoe, though if you asked anyone at the start of the day, I would have been the prime candidate). At any rate, that trip numbers among my fondest memories.

Grandpa was at my high school and college graduations, and I feel very lucky that he could also be at my wedding in Kansas City seven years ago (Grandma, I’m sure, was there in spirit).  Neither him nor I were big on phone calls, but I do remember one year when he called to wish me a happy 30th birthday – it really made my night! One of my favorite traditions was the family meet-up at one of Grandpa’s favorite spots, the Free State Brewery in Lawrence.  Tyler and I credit those outings as the reason why we became passionate about craft beers – a legacy that, as any beer connoisseur knows, is worth passing on. Whenever we hoist a delicious beer from Free State Brewery, we will give a little toast to honor and celebrate Grandpa. 

Christmas 2009, Grandpa is wearing the scarf I knit for him.
Though I'll miss Grandpa very much, I am comforted to know that he is no longer suffering at the hands of dementia and he has finally been reunited with Grandma.