I've had him on my mind alot lately, and just wanted to share about my wonderful Grandpa. Today would have been his 80th birthday.
As I mentioned in the post earlier this week about my Grandmother, I grew up living next to my maternal Grandparents. My Grandpa was a carpenter and had his workshop on the just across the street from my house. So it's safe to say that I was either at my house, their house, his shop, or somewhere in between most of the time. I love my Grandparents.
My Grandpa was not one to show his emotions easily or to tell you how he felt about you, but you knew. He was always telling stories and teasing my Grandma. It was a holiday tradition to take pictures of him lifting her up or kissing her in a way that made her look like she was fighting him off.
When Ethan was born, he actually drove the hospital (about 30-45 minutes away) with my Grandma and visited with us. He held him and made a fuss over his big feet. Then, he made some comment about going to Mt.Vernon (about another 30 minute trip) to pick up a something for his car. The next thing we knew, he was gone and he had left my Grandma sitting there! She stayed with us about an hour and a half until he got back and we all had a good laugh.
Four weeks later, I took this picture of him holding Ethan at my Mom's house.
I just wish it was clearer, and I had more of them. You see, the next day, my Grandfather had a massive stroke during the night or early morning. He was taken by ambulance to the local hospital where they would try to air evac him to UK, but couldn't due to clouds, so they took an ambulance. I was in shock. We were all in shock. It was the week of the big 4th of July Reunion my Grandparents always hosted. My Grandpa always got fireworks and my Grandma must be a saint to be a hostess to around 80 of our closest relatives every year. But this year, we were hoping just to hear that he would still be with us.
We made two trips to UK. The whole ordeal was a nightmare. Ethan, just four weeks old and me a first time mom trying to nurse and recover from a c-section, along with my mom, both my brothers, my sis-in-law and my husband traveled together in our van the 2 hour trip the next day and just spent some time at the hospital. Taking turns being with him.
The next time we would go, it was just my mom, husband, Ethan and me. We spent some time with family and just held his hand. Ben, Ethan and I then left the hospital to go rest at a friends house for a bit while my mom settled in to stay the night with my Grandma in the hospital. She never left his side.
Before long, we got a call that he had gone to Heaven.
Seven.That is the number that always reminds me of him.
He passed on 7-7-07, just 7 days from his 77th birthday. He had 7 siblings that proceeded him in deathe and 7 surviving. He was 7 months into his position as magistrate, something he enjoyed very much. He had 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren at the time of his death. 7 days passed from the day of his stroke until the day of his burial.
Seven. It's God's perfect number. The number of Completion. We took great comfort in all the "sevens".
When Shyla was stillborn at 7 months, I thought of him and knew that if we do recognize each other when we get to Heaven, he was holding her now and bragging about how beautiful she is.
The day of Shyla's celebration, when my Grandma handed me one of his handkercheifs, I thought of him again, and how much he would have been hurting for me if he were here. Five of his 7 siblings that proceeded him in death all died before they were two months old. I can't imagine the anguish his mother, my great-grandmother felt and was never allowed to express. I can't imagine how common and yet taboo infant loss was in the early 1930's.
I plan on raising my children knowing who their Great-Grandfather was. Just like they will know who their sister was. His handiwork is all over our home. The cherry, cane-bottomed chairs in our kitchen, the table that he refurbished, my cedar hope chest and two jewelry boxes he made. The teddy bear my Grandmother had made the Christmas after his death out of one of his shirts. There is also the bedroom suite that was my Grandparents when they married over 60 years ago. It has been handed down from my mother to me.
I love having the things that he made.
This post has become much longer than I anticipated, but I don't think I have ever written about him and all that he means to me. If you are still reading, thanks for letting me share about him and taking part in my joy and grief.