Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"It never rains on a hero's parade."

I have some sad news…my grandpa passed away on Friday. It was not expected and it happened very fast. I know it was better for him to go quickly but I’m sure we all would have liked to see him one last time, as selfish as it is.

I’ve been moping around for the past few days, avoiding talking to people. The funeral will be sometime this week or possibly next week as he will be cremated.

grandpa

This is how I remember him…laughing, telling stories. This was taken at his 50th birthday party. He was an extraordinary man, a larger than life man. A soldier, a firefighter and a paramedic. A tall tale and a hero.

I haven’t touched my sewing machine since I heard the news…I haven’t done anything but read and sleep. Finally, last night, I felt like making something. A quilt block. For him.

grandpa's block

It’s made with scraps because I knew he wouldn’t have wanted me to make a big production out of it…digging through my fabric, obsessing over colors. It was also a way to reflect on the way he lived his life, making the most out of what he had. He raised six children and they never went hungry...one time he even stole a chicken, leaving a case of beer on that person's front porch after payday, his idea of making things right.

I picked out pieces in green, his favorite color (because he was Irish, he’d say). He loved to hunt and fish, loved nature and bird watching. The last interaction we’d had was this past Thanksgiving when I helped him identify a woodpecker he’d never seen before…just before he left my parent’s house for the last time.

I think I'll use this quilt block to start a family quilt, a block for each person I care about. It'll be a fantastic mishmash of colors and styles and feeling...a representation of love in all its forms. The thought is very comforting.

I'd like to get back to my normal life soon (he would have wanted that) but for now I'm not feeling very creative. I miss my grandpa and know that things just won't be the same without him. I wish I had gotten to know him better, I wish I could remember all the stories he told me over the years. I wish I could know all the stories he never told me. I wish I could feel his scruffy beard stubble against my cheek and hear his deep rumbly voice.

I wish for so many things but most of all I wish he knew how much I loved him, how much I'm going to miss him. I don't believe in heaven or hell or afterlife or reincarnation and neither did he. What I do know, and I hope he knew, is that he impacted our lives (so many lives) more than one man should have had the power to do. We were all very lucky to have known him, to have loved him, to have been loved by him. Goodbye seems too final for someone so strong, so alive in my heart. And that gives me comfort in these sad times.

For now, I wish you all well and I'll be back to post about happier things later, possibly even today. The good helps with the bad and I look forward to that.

5 comments:

  1. It's always tough to lose someone we love and admire. You are doing beautiful things with your pain and I think it's going to help you in the long run. My grandfather passed away unexpectedly too so I know how it feels to wish you had more time. You are in my thoughts!

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  2. Thank you. My grandpa was the core of our family and it's going to feel empty without him. I'm sure that in time it will get better. I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather...I suppose there's a life lesson in all of this, about making more time for the people that matter the most. A hard lesson to learn but an important one for the future.

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  3. I'm so sorry about the loss of your grandfather. Just reading about him made me wish I knew him! He must have been a great person.

    Your idea to make a family quilt is beautiful, and a wonderful way to pay tribute to people you love.

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  4. Thank you. I never know what to say to people when they lose a loved ones so I appreciate your kind words. I'm leaving for the wake right now. I hope there are more laughs than tears. There really should be because there are so many good stories to retell. Thanks again.

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  5. I love the idea of a family quilt. I hope you make it.

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