Friday, May 9, 2008

A Goodbye

As I was preparing my Q&A responses tonight, my dad called with the news that his wife's father passed away this evening.

I'm not fond of the prefix "step," so I never referred to him as my "step-grandpa." He was simply Grandpa Fred. He entered my life when I was a teenager, and he charmed his way into my heart in short order.

Grandpa Fred was a widower who still shed a tear every time he mentioned his late wife. He loved animals, children, gardening, and good cooking. He was a source of infinite wisdom concerning old tractors and farming techniques, and he would happily engage anyone on that topic for lengthy periods of time.

When my dad was busy with spring farmwork, the job of lambing fell upon Grandpa Fred and I. He would drive out to spend the day watching over the sheep, and within a year or two, he had half of them eating out of his hand. We had many conversations together in the lambing barn, and I missed them when I went off to college.

My first job out of school happened to be in his hometown, and I would frequently take my lunch break in his kitchen. I was expecting my first baby that fall, and his eyes would light up as he teased me about my growing belly. He was one of the first visitors when the baby was born, and he kept me company throughout my hospital stay.

In what seemed like an instant, his mind began to falter, and soon I was reintroducing myself every time we met. My identity was really irrelevant, anyway; his focus was always on my kids.

When he spent Christmas Day at our home, he had no idea where he was. I'm not certain that he knew it was Christmas. I am certain that he enjoyed his day; he spent most of it with a child on his lap. He couldn't hear a word that the kids said to him, but he was obviously enjoying every second of it.I will always remember Grandpa Fred's gentleness, his sense of humor, his love for his family, and his grin. I'll also remember how stubborn he was, how strongly he stated his opinions, and how fiercely he held onto his independence as he aged. He was a rare combination of qualities all wrapped up in a body that was simply tuckered out.

Rest well, Grandpa Fred. I'll always smile when you cross my mind.


BoufMom9 said...

I am so very sorry for you loss.

ZenPanda said...

I'm so sorry.

Mum-me said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Grandpa Fred.

Dawn said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds as though you have a lot of good memories that will be forever a part of you!

Brother in Christ said...

Very nice article Erin, thanks.

Fortunately, the Lord is God of all comfort.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.......And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort." (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, 7)

Lisa & Gerald said...

I'm sorry for your loss.
thinking of you and your family.

Treasia said...

I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Grandpa Fred sounded like a very cherished man.

Julia in Sweden said...

Very beautifully written. I am very sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Grandpa Fred sounded like a amazing man.. I'm truly sorry for you and your family's loss..


Jan said...

My deepest sympathies for you and your family, Erin. That was a touching tribute. I'm sure he's smiling down on you at this very moment.

Jenny said...

Very sorry for your family's loss. Sounds like he was a great man and I'm sure he will be missed.

Susan said...

You and your family have my sympathy as you grieve Grandpa Fred's passing.
Celebrating his eternal life!


Freida said...

Thanks for such a great memorial to Dad. What a wonderful legacy he has left us. He always enjoyed his sheep connection with you! We will miss him, but he will live on in our memories.

Freida & Dora

Jen said...

My deepest sympathy to you and your family on Grandpa Fred's passing. What a lovely tribute and wonderful memories of a great man.

The Pastoral Princess said...

I am very sorry for you loss Erin, your family will be in my prayers.

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