I have been so blessed to have had 3 sets of grandparents. Where most people only get 2, I was lucky to have 3. I didn’t always realize I was lucky or fortunate. Having 3 has always been my normal and I’m sure I took for granted that extra love, affection and spoiling. Sometimes….I wish I had realized sooner just how lucky I was.
One of my grandpas passed away Monday night after a long battle filled with pain, suffering, heartache but a lot of love, laughter and joy. (Unfortunately I have no picture of him to share with you all, otherwise I would). I have so many memories of my grandpa, many from when I was young. Me and my brother would play ‘Paper Boy’ on their Nintendo until our eyes were close to bleeding. My grandma always bought us coloring books and water paints so that we could make a huge mess on her kitchen table, and my grandpa would sit with us and tell us jokes until our bellys hurt from laughing so hard. When I was younger I didn’t really get half the jokes but I still thought grandpa was funny so would laugh anyway. My favorite memory of my grandpa is kind of a bizarre memory but it always sticks out in my mind. He was a big smoker for many years and would go into the main bathroom to smoke trying to hide it from all of us. Whenever I would have to pee I would hold my breath and enter the smoky bathroom. We all played dumb acting like we never knew a thing and he thought he got away with it. I would sometimes hide outside the bathroom door trying to catch him in the act but was too embarrassed and I eventually would run off before he opened the door. Thankfully, he gave up the habit but I’ll always remember the funny way in which he tried to hide it.
My grandma has been conflicted with Alzheimers for a few years now and has gotten to the point where she no longer recognizes family or friends. Grandpa stopped visiting her a while back because it was too heartbreaking. I honestly think he started to die when this happened. Many don’t believe you can die from a broken heart…..but I think it’s true. Love can carry us through life like nothing else can. It holds our hand when we’re scared, it shelters us through the storms, it comforts us when we are down, and it helps us stare fear right in the face. When we lose it, our world seems darker, harder and grim. I can’t imagine what he went through and how deeply sad it would be to know your spouse no longer recognizes you. How difficult it must be to have built a life with someone who can’t remember the memories you shared. Deep down in my heart I believe my grandma knows my grandpa is gone. I still believe in the power of true love. I believe love can overcome anything, even Alzheimers. When my grandpa passed on I think she knew in some part of her that he is gone and I know she is looking forward to being with him again where there is no pain, no sorrow, no fogginess, and lots of sweet memories.
Although, my heart is sad and heavy I am thankful I got to say goodbye to the man I was so lucky to call Grandpa! Many don’t get the chance to tell their loved ones how they feel. I know he heard me and I know all the things he wanted to say to me that he couldn’t. I can truly feel better knowing that.
Our bodies may grow old, fatigue and give out…..our breath may grow labored, slow and eventually stop….and our hearts may beat until it fades…but the memories are always there and the laughter is never forgotten.
So, my dear Grandpa….I love you and I miss you but thank you for being you and for always being my Grandpa no matter what.
“Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay. Loss is our legacy. Insight is our gift. Memory is our guide.”