Four months ago, my darling and sassy Gramp passed away. He was one of the most important men in my life – I grew up with him every summer, all summer long.
We would count down the days until we got to come back to New Hampshire to see him. That man was patient – he let my mom, sister and I live with him all summer and always just went with the flow. He was one of the craziest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Back when you could meet people at the gate in the airport, he would dress up and wait for us. My favorite memory from that was when he showed up in a skirt, with balloons stuffed in his shirt & a horned viking hat with blonde braids. I remember my mom cracking up and my sister and I being horrified and so confused (Where was Gramp? I remember asking). What I would give now to have a photo of that.
He used to wake up every single night without fail and get into the freezer & spoon ice cream out of the carton and eat 3 Oreos (we knew this because we’d find the crumbs and spoon sitting in a pool of melted ice cream every morning).
He was adored by every person who meet him & he was sassy until the very end.
When he was on hospice, the visiting nurses association popped in every few days to help him bathe and do physical therapy. One morning, I asked him how his bath went and he said to me, “I had a professional lady come in today and wash my hair! Can you imagine? A poultry farmer getting his hair washed by a professional lady!?”
Anyone who knew him knows this exact face (he’s about to drop some knowledge). The last few years I took as many pictures as possible (#grampftw on Instagram) because I knew he wouldn’t be around forever & how lucky was the world to have him for 89 years?
Any time I asked him to smile, I got this face & the inevitable, “Well, I must have broken your camera so you can’t take any more pictures of me now.”
During the end, I sat by his hospital bed and thought about all of the things that I’d never have answers to because I’d never bothered asking them. I’d hold his hand – the one with the crumpled fingers from a horrific car accident in the early 50’s – the ones he told all the little kids they broke because they were so strong! – and I thought of all the times he let us hang off of them trying to straighten them.
There will never be another man like him – although his baby brother certainly is starting to turn into him (YES!!!). We will all remember him with so much love and affection and memories that I know I’ll pass down to my children.
I was so lucky to have him for 25 years & I know he’s up with my Nannie leaving a trail of Oreo crumbs wherever he goes.
Love you, Gramp.