Dancing with the Angels

grandpas obituary photoWell we got the news last Tuesday morning (Sept 13) that my grandfather had passed away. He had been ill for quite some time, but he’d never let you know it. He was an amazingly joyous person, always smiling. I could dig down into the deepest parts of me and never find a bad thing to say about my grandpa. He truly was an amazing gift to all of us.

I spent far less time with my grandparents growing up than the rest of my cousins, so I don’t have as many hilarious stories or memories as they do, but I do have a few that mean a lot to me. As children, when my grandparents lived in Houston with us, he would walk us (my brothers and me) down the street to the corner store to buy candy or donuts or something else our parents forbade. I have a very vague recollection of that time. I remember the street, and I remember their backyard, and the wrought iron columns on the front porch of their house. I remember picking tiny oranges off a tree in their backyard and playing their giant checkers game made from a small rug with the black and red squares printed on it. I couldn’t tell you how old I was back then, but it was quite some time ago.

They later moved to St. Charles, Missouri (a move I don’t really remember because I was so young. For whatever reason the only memory I recall is my uncle removing a ceiling fan from the old house to pack into the truck.) Most of my memories of my grandparents take place in St. Charles. I remember very vividly walking with grandpa from their house to the Hostess bakery shop down the road to once again stuff ourselves with forbidden sweets. Or walking across the street to the baseball card shop that later converted to an office building. At that house on First Capitol is where they opened their bridal veils shop. The front of the house had been converted into a quaint little shop full of mannequin heads donning their custom veils, as well as brightly lit jewelry cases that held the other products they sold. A smaller front room had been converted into the business office. The couch in there converted into a bed, and when we came to visit, that’s where we stayed. My brother and I often took advantage of the penny gumball machine that Grandpa kept in that room. Although it’s grandpa’s fault for keeping it next to a tray of pennies 😛 I remember grandpa walking us through his garden and showing us all of his plants and flowers. And the basement full of shelves of silk flowers that he used to make floral arrangements. I remember just sitting down there with him one day and watching him work his magic with his hot glue gun. He was a master of his craft. We have a few of his arrangements hanging in our house.

I lived in St. Charles for 6 years – from 2004 until 2010. I’ll admit that I didn’t visit as often as I could have, and I don’t like that I didn’t spend as much time with him as I should have. But to Grandpa it didn’t seem to matter. Every time I came over, he was so excited to see me. He would stand to hug me even though at times his legs were too shaky to support him. Bethany and I would sit for hours and talk with him and grandma about life and family. Grandpa was so proud of his family – he had 2 sons and 3 daughters, 14 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. It’s a very large, close-knit family, and with only a few exceptions, they all live in the St. Louis area.

I got married in St. Charles on April 23, 2010 – I wanted nothing more than for Grandpa to be there, but his health at the time prevented it. Well when the time came, Grandpa showed up at the church, surprising everyone and sending me to tears. I’m still not capable of expressing how much that meant to me. It still makes me tear up.

I miss my grandpa very much. He was an amazing person that was always smiling and always looking on the bright side of life. It hurts that he’s gone, but we all know he’s at peace. The last few times I spoke with my grandpa, he told me that he was ready to go. He had no regrets, and he had made peace with his fate. He wanted nothing more than to see his Lord, and now he has. It’s hard to be sad when I think of him dancing with the angels 🙂

I love you grandpa!

grandpa sketch

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