“I still have four grandparents.”
As of last Saturday morning, this statement was true. For me, and one I said often. As of last Saturday afternoon, I can no longer claim this amazing fact as my own.
My Grandpa Roberts, my Gramps, passed away peacefully at his home this past Saturday, surrounded by his family.
For as many times as I have typed and texted that statement over the past few days, it still reads as something surreal. A dream, perhaps?
Yes, he was 93. He lived an extraordinary life. He was a solider brave enough to defend his country and fight in World War II; yet humble enough to model compassion and unconditional love to his family. He was a poet, whose words further conveyed the depths of his faith and demonstrated his sentimental side. He was a grandpa to more than his own biological grandchildren; to friends, to neighbors. Bud in a bottle, or Hamm’s in a can. Lucky Strike till the end. A loving husband of 67 years to Adabelle Juanita, he passed away in the home he raised his two children.
I told my family that his obituary reads like a storybook. And as all good stories must ultimately come to an end, his time here on Earth is now done. It is a reality that I understand, but am still learning to accept.
My Aunt summarized it similarly: “So difficult when your heart says PLEASE STAY and your head says YOU NEED TO GO.”
Logically, it all makes sense. Humans do not live forever; all you can hope and strive for is a life well lived and to see your family grow and flourish. I have nearly 30 years of memories with my Gramps tucked away, and I am so thankful for each and every day I was able to share with him. It was his time and I did not want him to suffer. With 3 other living grandparents still around, I should be thankful to still have that generation around as an ever present influence in my life.
30 years of memories means that you don’t know Christmas, or a family birthday celebration, or a casual lunch of Gram’s famous Sloppy Joes without him. The memories are infinite. Personal violin lessons, playing Lincoln Logs on his floor. Learning how to operate a scroll saw and a sander and everything in between. “So what’s the good word?” Trips to the Ozarks, Yellowstone, Victoria. Advice in marital longevity. A war story here, a relevant scripture there. Dancing with my Grams at my wedding; at every wedding. Stories of Prohibition, while tasting (&loving) John’s moonshine.
His presence was so obvious, so expected, that it’s hard to fathom any family gathering without him there, rounding things out with a prayer only he could pray. Who will tell his stories? We all know he is the master storyteller.
It’s unfathomable, yet necessary. It’s the ‘passing of the torch’ as my own Pops said. The generational shift. The family will live on, because he built this family and that’s what we must do to honor him and his legacy.
It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it will happen.
love you gramps…always and forever.