Sunday, July 1, 2007

Grandpa




My grandfather passed away last week. After seven years of illness that ebbed and flowed, our family thought we were ready for the end, but of course we were not.

He was a farmer. A quiet man who commanded respect effortlessly, even sitting in his armchair. He was stern, but fair. Committed to hard work and a tidy garden. He was hard on his children but loved to tease his grandchildren. He loved to play cards and fish. He was never sarcastic, but often chuckled about people's foolishness. He was humble and kind.

He was the bedrock of a family that was unusually close and committed to one another. Of course, I had no idea how unusual this kind of closeness was until I was an adult. I thought everyone had grandparents and aunts and uncles who lived within 5 miles of one another; who met regularly for picnics, and card games and vacations; who never had harsh or impatient words for one another. I thought everyone grew up with cousins who were more like siblings.

The photos are the meadow of Grandpa's farm. A meadow he worked and played in his whole life. The last photo shows the view of the meadow from the porch. When I think of my grandfather, I think of him in his last years: too tired to work, but sitting on his porch, enjoying the view of the meadow and his great-grandchildren playing at his feet.

At the end, he was exhausted and he was in pain. There is no way to see his death, at 85 years of age, as anything but a blessing. He passed peacefully, surrounded by his wife and four children. But I am filled with sadness about what feels like a loss of all he symbolized to me: an idyllic childhood, a large extended family, the deep roots of the family farm.

15 comments:

Craftymoose Crafts said...

My sincerest condolences. It is never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one. I'm sure he would have been proud of your "eulogy".

eva said...

I`m so sorry to hear about this. I`m with you in your sorrow...
Still I think, you are so happy, having all those beautiful memories and your childhood. No one can ever take these from you.
He knows that he was and still is beloved and this is most important!
Be strong!

Enchanted Wings Jewelry said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts go out to you and your family. Be strong and remember that we never really lose the ones we love, they are always with us.

msbelle said...

Oh Stephanie, I'm so very sorry. You have a srtong family, I can tell. I do too. Your love for him and family will hold you up and pull you through, making you stronger. But what you wrote was beautiful. He would be pleased, I'm sure of it.

stilettoheights said...

I am so sorry for you loss, never knowing my grandpas....I can;t even begin to imagine how hard this is.

xoxoxoxo

Tracey said...

Oh, Steph . . .
What an absolutely lovely and beautiful piece. I am so sorry to hear about this . . . take care. Sounds like you have a wonderful family around you!

beakee said...

Dear Steph... I'm sorry to hear this. This was a beautiful post. Your grandpa had a wonderful life. And you have a fantastic family. Very rare in this day and age.

Felicia said...

He won't be gone as long as you keep him in your memory. He was a lucky mad to have such a loving family.

Felicia
http://fluffyflowers.typepad.com/

Beck said...

Oh, I'm sorry.
Your grandpa sounds like my grandpa, who was a lovely man and who died two months after The Boy was born.

abbey753 said...

Oh Steph, I have so busy I havn't got to visit your page I am so sorry about your grandpa you and your family are in my prayers. The picture of meadow is beautiful and I am sure you have many beautiful memories of him there. He will live on in those memories and always be in your heart . Lou

Steph said...

Thank you everyone.

missficklemedia.com said...

I'm sorry Steph.
He sounds like he left a wonderful legacy.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you all deal with the void his passing left.
Take care.

Karen Beth said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I will be thinking of you and your whole family during this time of loss. What a wonderful person he sounds like. I know that he was a blessing to you all.

Beautiful photos too. :)

zellmer said...

So sorry for your loss. Your post was a beautiful illustration of an idyllic life few get to enjoy these days. You are blessed to have had such a man as your grandfather.

Stephanie said...

Stephanie,
I am so sorry for your loss, I lost my grandmother last month and knew how hard this is.

You have wonderful memories and are indeed very lucky to have had him in you life.

xo
stephanie