Monday, June 20, 2011
We flew into LA today after receiving bad news and will drive up to Big Bear tomorrow morning. I'm tired, need to sleep. But, one of my favorite people in the world passed away this week and I can't help but write something simple to honor him.
Most of my grandparents died when I was young or weren't present in my life. When I started dating HH during my senior year of high school, one of the things that made me love him was, crazy enough, his grandparents and his easy and close relationship with them. Both sets of grandparents along with three living great-grandparents were very present in his life. And they took this little teenage girl in like their own.
Grandpa Don or Papa Don as my kids called him passed away suddenly a few nights ago. And there is, of course, deep sadness. But, there is also this overwhelming sense of gratefulness that I got to be grafted into his lineage, part of the love. That I didn't miss out on him. Because he was great. He loved his family and we loved him.
I loved how he rode bikes with my kids or started a card game, mixed up a bloody mary or ordered steak tartar. I'll never forget the snipe hunt he sent me on during a camping trip or how my kids loved the duck like squeak he made in his cheek. I will forever love him for removing a piece of twine for footings I'd been stepping over for months while I was pregnant and our house was under construction. He was just that grandpa or uncle who took care and noticed.
The hardest part of the whole thing is that he wasn't ever just "Don." It was always "Don and Dody" or "Dody and Don." Together from the time they were 15 and married 60 years, my mind will not synapse one without the other. The two were present at every "event" in their children and grandchildren's lives. Football games, graduations, marriages, more graduations, moves across country, births of great-grandchildren, Thanksgiving, Christmas.
Always there. Ever present. Bringing good times.
To me, this is another lesson in love. Sometimes you don't have to say any wise words (not that he didn't). And sometimes you don't have to even say "I love you."
Love is showing up, lending a hand, joining in and helping when it's needed. That's his legacy.
Thanks Grandpa Don. You will be so missed and you were loved perhaps more than you ever knew.