A week ago Sunday was 6 months since my dad passed away. It is still very surreal, as if he’s away on work or out running an errand. At this landmark in our family history, we reach another moment: my mother’s dad passing away two days later, March 26th, 2013.
My mom’s dad has always been one of my favorite people in this world. There is not a memory I have with him that doesn’t make me smile, laugh, or cry (in the best way). I want to take a short post here to tell you about how special this man is and a few of the wonderful things he taught me during my life.
My grandfather was a cabinet maker by trade though very skilled and talented in many ways. He enlisted in the Navy at 17 during WWII and was stationed in the Pacific. He was a carpenter and helped repair Higgins boats. It was such a treat to go to the WWII museum in New Orleans with him and hear him talk about repairing the boats in front of the actual boats. After the war, he returned home to marry his wife, of now 65 years. I won’t elaborate on how the rest of the story goes except they had 5 beautiful children together and have lived in the same house forever. Grandpa worked multiple jobs to give his wife and kids a good life. Speed ahead in the story and find beautiful marriages and children being born.
Many of my youngest memories are from my grandparents’ house. Grandma makes the best roast, mashed potatoes, rice, and veggies you’ve ever eaten. Grandpa used to take us to his workshop to build things or play in his office. After a long day of playing on the patio, working in the yard, or helping grind green peppers, Grandpa would pile us into his truck , make a stop at the corner shop for an Icee before heading up the levee to drive along the river, look at horses, count the peacocks, or whatever other adventures came our way.
My grandpa was a hardworking man. I would bet that is the most common word used to describe him, besides caring. My grandpa cared. He was an old fashioned, southern gentlemen. He always waved to everyone who passed, he helped people when they needed it, and he loved his family.
A few pieces of advice he always had for us are clear in this moment of remembrance. I remember as a kid flippantly saying “sorry” and Grandpa stopping me and telling me to only say I was sorry if I meant it and didn’t intend on doing it again. It made me stop to think about what the word sorry really means. I think about that lesson all the time (though I’m sure I say sorry and repeat my mistakes).
The other piece of advice or really words to live by were “Every dark cloud has a silver lining.” I think those words ring true more so today than ever before. As we celebrate my grandfather’s life and honor him, we can look to the silver lining. Though he is not with us on this earthy world any longer, he is with us in our hearts, minds, and all our beings.
I speak for myself when I say I would not be the person I am today without having a Grandpa like this. Looking forward I hope to instill the same values into my children and I know my mother will do the same into her grandchildren.
My cup runneth over,