Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Saying Goodbye

My grandfather died this morning. He was 99 years and 4 months old. Two weeks ago, I thought he would make it to the 100-year mark. But, then he stopped eating, and we knew it was a matter of time. He died at home, his wife by his side.

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This is my favorite picture of Granddad.  He was 94 years old here (2007)

Despite the distance – he lived in Maryland – and the fact that I saw him infrequently, he has been a consistent presence in my life forever. Since the day I was born.

When I was six years old, he shaved my head and put stiches in it after my brother spun me around and cracked my head on the edge of the coffee table. He was pretty self-sufficient that way. No need for a hospital ER when you can take care of it at home!!

Every night (until very recently) he had a cocktail – an Old Fashioned. I have memories of him muddling the orange wedge, bitters and sugar into the bottom of the glass and topping it off with bourbon. See? Daily drinking does produce longevity – or it did in his case.

My grandfather was an incredibly smart man, who had an undying passion for trains. He even built steam engines – his pride and joy. Although he became legally blind many years back, he finagled a magnifying system that would allow him to read recipes and to cook. Mostly serious by nature, I remember rare times when he would break into deep, teary-eyed laughter. It surprised me to see him like that, because he was always so serious, almost stern. His laughter made him real, relatable and warm. Seeing him laugh made me happy. He had kind eyes.

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Granddad holding my son Sam – almost 15 years ago

I think when someone very old passes, you still aren’t prepared. The finality and reality doesn’t completely hit you until it is really over and done. Death is so strange. Someone is here, then they are not. There is the sensation that my parents are next in line, then me. Yet, things never really go in order, do they? When we are young, we think we will never be old. When we are young, we never think we will die. But, we will and we will. Let’s enjoy the ride while we’re still on it and able to feel the wind in our faces.

Today my mom, my aunt and my uncle lost their father, and I am very sad for them about that.

My grandfather had a long life and a life well lived – 99+ years ain’t too shabby. Goodbye, Granddad.

Beth

93 comments:

  1. You really are a wonderful writer, an inspiration to us all. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  2. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  3. What a beautifully written tribute to your grandfather. Thank you for sharing. Sorry for your loss. But so glad you had him for so many years. My grandfather (dad's dad) was a very very dear person in my life. He played such a huge roll in my life. He passed away 2 years ago. I think of him often and wish I could just pick up the phone and call him like I used to. I dream about him sometimes...so clearly...and I am certain he comes to check in on me and tell me how proud of me he is just as he did when he was alive. 15 grandkids and I was the 7th but I think I was one of the closest. Miss him.

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  4. Sorry for your loss but it is great thing that you were able to have him around for almost 100 years!

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  5. Wow, 99 years of life! That's amazing.......

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  6. So sorry for you loss...you have such wonderful, vivid memories of him and I know you will always hold them close to your heart.

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  7. So sorry for your loss, but what a beautiful tribute.

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  8. So sorry for your loss. It is a strange sensation when you know that your parents are probably next and then yourself. So live your life to the fullest, just like your grandfather did, by the sounds of it!

    Blessings

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  9. Many condolences, no matter the age, a passing is always sad. However, a ripe old age is still a blessing in so many more ways. You will always know he lived a full life and with that can come so much more peace. :-) Many thoughts and prayers for you and your family during this time.

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  10. Tears are in my eyes. What a wonderfully written tribute. I was thinking of my own Great grands and how my Grandy was much the same stern man. But, once in a while he would pop a locust shell on his nose and scare the tar out of me! treasures are the memories and the imprints they have on the people we have become. Thanks for sparking my own memories today. Cheers to your Grand.

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  11. Love to you darling~~He is in good company. My Mom passed away two weeks ago at just about 89 years old. I am sure they are very happy now, but it still doesn't make it any easier..loss is never easy. xx

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  12. Deepest sympathy for your loss. My Nana died on 9 April 2011, aged 86, and I still miss her every day. She was a wonderful woman and I'm so grateful that my children got to appreciate her - as your children appreciated your Grandad. I ran a lot while my Nana was sick and when she died - when I had a big red sweaty face, no one noticed my tears! Prayers and thoughts with your Mom, your family and you during this time. Take care.

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  13. My sincere sympathies to you and yours, Beth... I'm very sorry for your loss, but thankful that you had so many wonderful years with your granddad!

    Sarah
    www.thinfluenced.com

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  14. Deepest sympathies on your loss. 99 years is amazing...he sure did experience a lot in that lifetime. It's great you have such fond memories of him.

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  15. My Grandfather died on Frday June 20th. One week before his 90th birthday. He too stoped eating and passed at home with his bride of 62 years by his side. His memorial will be Saturday the 28th, which would have been his 90th birthday. The family is having an all you can eat pancake lunch at his favorite dinning place, IHOP. We will finish by letting go of baloons in the parking lot. I feel your loss and pain, jsut know that another saint has returned home.

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  16. Very sorry for your loss. Sounds like a great man.

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  17. One of my great-Uncles lived to 99, and he had at least 1 shot of whiskey a day. I'll always remember his whiskey glass, and the smell of his couch. Thank you for sharing your memories of your Grandfather with us. Wishing you and your family peace.

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  18. I'm sorry for your loss. It's hard to lose someone who is so influential for us. He sounded like an incredible man.

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  19. He does have kind eyes! Lucky you, having him for almost 100 years. Sorry for your loss.

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  20. Wonderful post - what an amazing life. So sorry for you loss.

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  21. RIP Granddad! Thank you for your wisdom once again! I will keepyou and your family in my thoughts and prayers!

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  22. 99 wonderful years! Sounds like he made the very best of life too. I know I felt a sense of calm when my grandfather died because I knew he had lived life the way he wanted to and he was done and ready to go. Hugs!

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  23. This was so beautiful Beth. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of how much love you had for your Granddad.

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  24. Condolences to your family. Enjoy the celebration of his life that is undoubtedly going to happen with your family and friends.

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  25. Oh Beth! So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you & your family.

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  26. My sincere sympathy to you and your family. It's always a shock. And it's never easy to say good-bye. Blessings.

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  27. I'm sorry about your grandfather Beth. Thanks for sharing your loss - it reminds us to enjoy each day and not take our loved one's for granted.

    Karen

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  28. What a lovely tribute to your grandfather.

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  29. My deepest condolences to your family.

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  30. Wow.. 99!!!!!! The things he must have seen and lived, what a blessing he was to you and your family. I really am sorry for you loss but what a GAIN for heaven..~Nora

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  31. I am so sorry for your loss; my heart goes out to you and your family. My grandpa (Papa) passed away 12 years ago, one month after I graduated from high school, and the moment that I read that your grandfather passed, my eyes welled up with tears for both of our losses.

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  32. So sorry for your loss Beth. This was a beautiful tribute to your granddad. Reminded me of my own grandfather who passed away several years ago. Thinking of you and your family during this time and sending you lots of peace. - Summer

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  33. Good for your grandpa, living such a long and rich life, and producing a loving family. He achieved all the ultimate goals!

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  34. So sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers...

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  35. I'm so sorry about your grandfather. What a long, well-lived life he led from the sounds of it! And what a great tribute from you. Hugs.

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  36. I'm so sorry. Ho wonderful that he lived to be almost 100. You are in my thoughts!

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  37. I'm very sorry Beth. You are so lucky to remember so much of your time with your grandfather.

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  38. Thank you for sharing how wonderful your granddad was. Your story was definitely a special tribute to how great he was in life. I'm so sorry that he has passed. I also think that 1st photo is just darling of him.

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  39. I am so sorry for your loss! I recently lost a grandparent as well. He sounds like an amazing man and your tribute to him was a great one.

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  40. what a wonderful tribute to your grandfather, beth. he sounded like such an amazing man. 99 years is a long life,and im sure he lived it well and it sounds like he gave many wonderful memories to keep with you and your family!
    a loss is never easy,even if its expected. do know that many thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!

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  41. Sorry for you loss Beth. He sounds like a wonderful man.

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  42. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  43. We are so sorry for your loss. Our grandma GG died on Monday, July 16 and we are still in so much pain. Our only solace is running...so we will run in her memory!

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  44. So sorry for your loss Beth. Your post was beautiful and I love the picture you have of him at 94, a treasure for sure!

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  45. A beautifully written post. I am so sorry for your loss Beth. Your Grandfather looks like a kind and wonderful person in your pictures. My thoughts are with you and your family xx

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  46. Very touching words. Much love to your and your family as you cope with the sadness of this loss.

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  47. Sorry for your loss and well written.

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  48. This was absolutely beautiful. The second i finished i cried like a baby. I lost my grammy last year and we were very close as she raised me a lot of my childhood. I miss her everyday. I am sorry for your loss. Grandparents are such amazing people to have in your life. That first picture of him is darling i would treasure it always if i were you.

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  49. So sorry for you loss. Cherish the memories and remember the joy he brought to your life and the lives of the rest of your family. Love and good thoughts to you and your family.

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  50. I'm so sorry for your loss, seems like he lived a very fulfilling life and to pass away at 99, that is quite an accomplishment! I am sure that he will be watching over you every day :-)

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  51. Lovely tribute. Lost my grandfather in Nov at 98+ years old and yet still was sad I didn't get to see him again. Had planned to over the holidays. So sorry for your family's loss.

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  52. It must have been so peaceful to have his wife there - great and long life. RIP.

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  53. Sounds like an amazing man. I bet he still doing amazing things on a greater stage. Prayers

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  54. I'm so sorry for your family's loss.

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  55. I'm very sorry to hear about your grandfather, Beth. He sounds like a fantastic man. I'm glad he was in your life for so long.

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  56. Ok, I'm crying....but it is a good cry because you wrote a movin tribute. You are blessed to have had him in your life.

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  57. What a lovely and loving tribute to your grandpa. And you are so right...any loss of a loved one is very hard. Peace be with you and your family :)

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  58. I am very sorry for you loss. 99 yrs..what a life! you are very lucky to have had him for so many years. I am 43 and I have never known either one of my grand fathers. I have met only 1 of my grand mother and I saw her only 3 times in my life because she was living in Hungary. This is a very lovely tribute to your grand father I agree with Marjorie.

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  59. Sorry to hear that, cocktails tonight in memory. 99 is a good age.

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  60. Really sad. Condolences to all of you. He had a great life.

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  61. THoughts and praters go out to you and your family for your loss

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  62. What a lovely post/tribute to your grandfather. Sorry for your loss.

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  63. Sorry angel :(

    This post was very moving and im sending my love to you and the family

    Xxx

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  64. What a life!!! That is amazing, he sounded like a wonderful person.

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  65. So sorry for the loss of your grandad. A wonderful man. Many blessings sent your way.

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  66. I'm so sorry, Beth. It is always sad to lose someone you love, no matter how old they are.

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  67. Hey Beth. Sorry to hear about your grandpa. No matter how old your grandparents are, it's always really hard to lose one. I'm sad that he was that close to being 100. It's so cool that he had an old fashioned every night. My boyfriend has one most nights, as his father does, and I'm guessing his grandfather does too.

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  68. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. He sounds like a wonderful person and it's great that you have these sweet memories of him. Hugs to you and your family.

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  69. I'm sorry for your loss. 99 years ain't too shappy! He was a cutie.

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  70. So sorry to hear of your grand dad's passing. He sounds like an amazing man. You're right, it is never easy.

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  71. I'm so sorry for your (and your family's) loss. What a sweet tribute and pictures...sweet, sweet memories!!
    Ellen

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  72. I'm sorry for your loss. This entry brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing those memories of your grandfather with us. Grandpas are so special, especially when their laughter brings forth such fond memories. May you and your family be comforted by the love he gave, and the memories you have of your time with him.

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  73. So sorry for your loss. I feel that those that depart from this life, never really leave us and are always around in spirit - I hope you and your family continue to feel your grandfather's spirit.

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  74. So sorry for your loss. I don't think we are ever prepared to lose someone special in our lives.

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  75. Your post was a wonderful tribute to your grandfather. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  76. I'm sorry Beth. Your post touched my heart. I lost my grandmother in April - she was 95. Think about the changes in the world your grandfather witnessed in his lifetime. It's mind blowing, isn't it? Hugs to you & your family.

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  77. aw. This was a really sweet memorial to your granddad. He sounds wonderful. I love that picture of him too, and I didn't even know him. My sympathy to you and your family. Losing a loved one is never easy, even when they have had a long, full life. Hugs.

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  78. So sorry to hear of your loss. All my love, thoughts and prayers with you and your loved ones as you celebrate his life!

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  79. I'm so sorry for your loss. My condolances to you and your family. I enjoyed your tribute to him; he sounds like a wonderful person!

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  80. I’m so sorry for your loss... This is a beautiful tribute to your Grandfather.

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  81. So sorry to hear of your loss - old or not it hurts when a loved one leaves us. Thanks for sharing a little piece of who your Grandfather was, beautiful words, words to keep close to your heart.

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  82. So sorry for your loss, Beth. I lost my grandmother last week. She was sick and it was expected, but still, it was a shock. Death is strange like that.
    You and your family are in my thoughts.

    By the way, Sam was quite the pork chop!

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  83. This post touched me :) What a long life and what an incredible man. You did a wonderful job describing him and your memories together. May his sweet soul rest in peace.

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  84. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost two grandfathers last year and it was heart wrenching. Take comfort in that he did have those 99 years and a wonderful family.

    I'll be thinking of you as I'm lucky enough to board a plane tomorrow to surprise my grandfather for his 75th birthday.

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  85. Very Sweet blog about your Grandad,,what a sweet Man. God bless to you and your Family !

    Tammy

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  86. Know what caught my eye in the first picture? Before reading your post? His eyes. Lovely eyes. Bless his soul. Lifting your family in prayer. You are so right. We are never ready for the finality of death. Never.

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  87. So sorry for your loss. My grandfather passed last year after a long illness, and no matter what, it's not easy. It's great having such special memories to hang onto though.

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  88. I'm so sorry for your loss, your grandfather sounded like a truly wonderful man. hugs

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  89. My prayers go out to your family. I know this pain, having lost my grandfather 7 years ago. He was the most amazing man I've ever known. We are so lucky to have known our grandfathers for so long and be able to pass on their lessons. The best way for them to continue to live is through us and through passing on the wisdom, funny sayings, and love that they taught us. Take time with your grief, recognize there will be good days and bad, and just take it one day at a time.

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  90. My condolences to you and your family. Your granddad lived a long life that few seem to be chosen to have. God bless him. He is in a better place now i'm sure and has left behind so much for you all to carry forward. Enjoy your memories. Remember his love.

    Mrs White
    http://bringingfurmanhome.blogspot.com

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