Saying Goodbye

Other than my brother, my mother’s father is my last living direct relative, as both my mother and father have passed away.  Here are a selection of memories about my grandfather.

  1. My grandfather taught me, my brother, and many members of my extended family how to fish at a natural spring in the middle of Kansas, near the very small towns where my parents grew up. 
  2. My grandfather and grandmother kept a freezer full of frozen desserts in their basement.
  3. My uncle Drew first showed me an electric guitar in my grandfather’s house. It ignited a lifelong passion with instrument and rock and roll music. 
  4. I learned how to play pool (billiards) in my grandfather’s basement, from my father and grandfather. 
  5. My son practiced his newly acquired ability to swim in the same natural spring in which my grandfather taught me to fish. 
  6. My grandfather was the only vocal liberal in an entirely conservative, tiny town in the middle of Kansas. And he would remind you of this fact every single time you talked to him on the phone. 
  7. My grandfather was a wheat farmer, and supported farmers. When my mother passed away, he paid for my brother and I to spread her ashes from a hot air balloon over a wheat field that he farmed. 
  8. My grandfather let me fire his guns when I was in my 20s. I hit a tin can with a 45 magnum. 
  9. My grandfather always owned a conversion van, and now I own a conversion van. It uses way too much gas. Why did I buy this thing? Oh yes, see number 3. 
  10. My grandfather was the first person to get me to taste ostrich, as it was being farmed in the aforementioned small town. I find it to be just fine, but underwhelming compared to cow beef. 
  11. My grandfather was always welcoming.
  12. My grandfather always remembered my birthday, my wife’s birthday, and my son’s birthday, even when he didn’t. 

My grandfather has been in a non-responsive coma for about a week, and will likely not survive the day. He is 94 years old. Sharing these memories is a small part of my process of saying goodbye. 

Goodbye, grandpa.