Saturday, December 10, 2016

I will miss you

Dear Papaw Chester,

I got the news this morning that you are gone.

Just a few days shy of your 92nd birthday; D and the kids and I were going to come visit today to celebrate.

You had made yourself a cherry pie and were retrieving a napkin from the kitchen to head to your favorite chair that everyone wished you would replace with something more sturdy for your bad knee.  It was walking to that chair that you passed onto and into whatever comes after this life.  I like to think you have moved to another dimension, unseeable and unknowable to us, but still hovering nearby.  You are in our hearts, of course, but maybe also closer to us that what distance and busyness often allowed in this dimension.

I have pulled out some photos of you, but it makes me cry to look at them.  It makes me cry because I will no longer be able to take pictures of you with my that I have treasured these many years.  We have all been so, so fortunate to have our Papaw (and our great Papaw) in our lives for so long.

G said his heart hurts, and I told him that is normal.  Your loss is their first loss of someone close to them in their young lives.  Even though I am sad for myself, I am mostly sad for my kids and your grandkids and your children.

I am ever so thankful to have known you, my adopted Papaw, my not-by-blood-but-by-commitment Papaw.

I probably said everything I ever wanted to say when I posted this.

In the course of those 6 years since I wrote that you slowed down quite a bit. We stopped coming to your house for meals, and you stopped coming to Mamaw's house on Sundays.  This past summer you gave up your garden.  Did you know it was coming or were you just wise enough to accept aging without fussing and fighting?  I admired this about you, Papaw.  You seemed to just roll with the punches, doing what you could with what you had available.

Given how I sometimes feel at 43 years of age....the tiredness and achy were always my hero because at 91 you could put on your own pants and fix your own dinners.  You were always a rock star in my book.

I threatened D quite often with sending him to you so you could teach him to cook.  I will always think with fondness about those meals you fixed us, when we invaded your house, and it busted at the seams.

Although I am sad, I am also so happy because I took advantage of enjoying and appreciating you---the photos, the quick visits, the birthday drop-ins with balloons.  I have no regrets about this, and that is probably one of the best feelings to have even in sadness.  I think it is easier to appreciate someone else's grandparents when you don't have them for very long to begin with in your own life.

You weren't a perfect human being and to suggest that would be syrupy sweet and not in my style of remembrance.  But you were a fine man, a man who lived a simple life, a man who valued family.  A man who headed a family that I now (and for 19 years) have called my own.

Thank you for that.  

No comments: