Friday, January 3, 2014

Grandpa without Grandma.

I found out how fragile life is this week.
Everyone says it, but you just don't feel it until death finds someone you love.
My grandmother passed away last Friday.
She slipped from this life quietly into the next.
She was an old lady.

The most heart wrenching part of the week was being around my grandfather. He would not be described as sweet but rather stubborn and crotchety. More ornery and cranky than cuddly.

My grandfather will steal your car if you leave your keys lying around. He will tell you exactly what he thinks of your clothing, your children, your car, your life choices...He is a no-holds-barred kind of guy. And always has been.

He was a railroad man.
A gambler.
A smoker.
He is and was a little rough around the edges.

My grandfather is a little confusing. Because even though he might holler and gripe and complain about anything and everything, he was good to my grandma.
And I love him for it.

I spent this week watching my grandpa grieve the loss of a woman he was married to for almost 69 years. I watched him weep when he had peach cobbler for dessert because it was my grandma's favorite. I listened to his stories of how he met his sweet Joann Benedict. He talked about Grandma being a good girl. And he liked that. He talked about their four daughters, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren.

He talked about being a newlywed. 
He kept rolling his gold wedding band around his finger.
He told me, in his raspy, Texas twang, choking with emotion:
"This here ring means something, and I don't mean maybe." 

I sat with him before we walked in for the funeral and he told me about the cowboy hat he chose to wear. (We are Texans, people) He got his hat the day before he retired. He wore it for his last day of work on the Santa Fe is his favorite, and he said it was Grandma's favorite too.

Grandma and Grandpa. 
Grandma was a fun woman. She could beat the pants off of me in Scrabble. Every time. She was precious, sweet, giving. She was a caretaker. A friend. A fierce BINGO player. A lover of people. Of God. Of Grandpa.

In their older years his hearing got bad, so did hers. They got tired. But, they would still expect you to have some coffee and sit and visit for awhile. With a hot cup of coffee they would start to tell their tales. Of neighbors. Of friends. Of people that have long since gone. Of family. 

I have spent the last 34 years of my life with a grandma and a grandpa. I spent summers in the hot Texas sun picking green beans with Grandpa because he absolutely refused (I mean REFUSED!)  to eat store-bought green beans until grandma quit canning. Then he really didn't have a choice, it was store-bought or none at all.

I got to eat wonderful home-cooked food and listen to Grandpa crow that he lucked out and married the best cook in the entire world. I got to sit with Grandma and pit cherries, play cards, and watch old Doris Day movies. I was treated to lectures from Grandpa about the state of TV these days...nothing on but sex shows! And instructions from Grandma about how to be neighborly...just be friendly. 

I got to watch Grandma keep Grandpa in check...he is predisposed to be a wild-man. No joke.
Grandma seemed to be a calming force in his life. And they always came as a pair. For me, it has always been Grandma and Grandpa. One with the other. A matched set. 

Now, it's just Grandpa.
Grandpa says he thinks he will miss Grandma forever.
I know he will.


  1. Beautiful. You have a way with words. My thoughts and prayers for you all and for your Grandpa.

  2. My condolences. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your precious thoughts and memories.

  3. Very beautiful and such a great way to describe the inner soul of two people who cared so much for one another. I hope you and your family remember those good times together and know that your dance family is praying for you and here for anything you need.

    ~DC Danceworks~ KW

  4. Love your grandparents love story. Love your description of your grandparents. Love that you got to spend time with both of them. Thank you for sharing your story and pictures. You have a gift of both.
    Love, Margaret Long

  5. This was so beautiful. I'm sorry about your grandma. Thank you so much for sharing this. Truly beautiful and honoring and heartrending.