My sister-inlaw, Nancy, wrote this eulogy for her grandfather when he passed. She was kind enough to allow me to include it here as part of our family story. This kind man is truly missed. This the gentleman who said “They Are All Nice Til You Marry Them“.I am hoping that she will continue to contribute in my little adventure called blogdom.
The last words I ever said to my grandfather were I love you more than you will ever know. No truer words were ever spoken. He had lost his ability to speak by then but he looked at me and nodded his head that he understood. My grandfather was a man of few words and was not one to tell you he loved you. I never doubted it though. I new it every time I looked in his eyes. His love for me shone there and that light never dimmed not even as he struggled to breathe that last day as I said my goodbye.
To my grandfather his family was everything. He loved his wife Rose, his daughters Pat and Nancy and his grandchildren more than life itself. One day he had his wallet out and I saw that he had a lot of pictures and I asked if I could see them. They were school pictures of all of the grandchildren from the time we were all in kindergarten on up to school pictures of the great grandchildren. He had never thrown out the old pictures to replace them with the new pictures. When I asked him if he wanted me to get rid of the old pictures he shook his head and said no he would keep them in his wallet. You see each picture was simply too precious to him to get rid of.
Although his house was small he always had room to invite others in to it. He and my grandmother always welcomed family and friends in with an open heart and always had space for family who needed a place to live. This gift came back to him in later years especially after my grandmother had passed away. These people never forgot him and he especially enjoyed his visits from his nephew Denny and his adopted nephew Richard .
My favorite thing about my grandfather was his positive nature. He never talked about his aches and pains though at 97 I’m sure he had plenty. He never talked about dying but was always planning his next garden or his next season of bowling. He loved to shop and would hit eight grocery stores in one day to get the best deals. After a day with him I would need a to take a nap but he would be charged up with all of his bargains. He had the patience of a saint never losing his patience with me when as a child I would follow him around all day asking endless questions and just wanting to be with him.
He never asked someone else to do something that he could do for himself. I remember calling my grandmother one day a few years back and asking he what she was doing. She said she was sitting by the window waiting to call 911. When I asked why she said “your crazy grandfather is out shoveling snow and I’m waiting for him to fall over so I can call 911.” He was a doer not a planner and he would always tell me to look on the bright side of things because things could always be worse.
He knew things could always be worse because he lived through tough times. He left home at 14 to apprentice as a baker. Transportation wasn’t what it is today so he only returned to see his family once a year or so. He worked long hours six days a week for many years cut off from his family and friends. After many years he decided to return home to his family and try to get on with the railroad. His father and many of his friends worked for the railroad and although the work was hard and the initial pay was low the potential for advancement and job security was good. He worked for the railroad for 47 years through the Depression and several wars. During this time he married the love of his life Rose and had two daughters Pat and Nancy, the other two loves of his life. He continued to work long hours but was never too busy for his family when they needed him.
More than anything I loved to hear my grandfather talk about the old days when he was young and he would run with his friends in the neighborhood. He would laugh over the good times they would have and the trouble they would get into. I could picture him as a young man with a glint of mischief in his eye. I would laugh at the nicknames that everyone had the innocence of their pranks. I would marvel at the fact that my grandparents knew each other almost their entire lives and how special that was.
I always loved the fact that his best friend was her brother and her best friend was his sister. This seemed to connect them in an even deeper way. Although they weren’t an affectionate couple they seemed happiest when they were together, she reading or crocheting and him watching television. Once she passed away he was lost. Life seemed to have lost much of it’s meaning form him. Today, although a sad day for us, is truly a happy day for them because they are together again as they are meant to be.