I know, he’s in his 90’s. He’s lived a long life. He was ready to move on, but I don’t think I was ready yet. Though I doubt I’d ever be ready. I always thought there would be one more summer. One more summer visit. One more chance for a story. One more chance to see his great grand children. One more chance to look at old photo’s. One more chance to see my grandpa.
I still see his younger face on the floor playing with me. Teasing me. Laughing with me. I still remember him walking through the door after getting off of work from the steel mill. I still remember his laugh. His hair, always trimmed just perfectly.
I’ve been sitting on those 2 paragraphs for the last 4 days. I’m not quite sure where to go from there. When my other grandpa passed away a few years ago that post was so easy to write. This time I’m just stuck.
Yes I loved this man. He’ll always hold a special place in my heart. The pride I feel when I tell people about his service in World War II is overwhelming. The day we went to the World War II memorial with him in DC is forever ingrained in my memory.
I love that he got to meet and got to know Mike. I’ll never forget that first time I took Mike back to Johnstown to meet my grandparents. We took Grandpa K to Eat and Park where we sat for hours listening to him tell us stories about World War II. Mike and I still giggle about that restaurant to this day. I’m beyond happy that he got to meet and love Ellie and I’ll always regret that he didn’t have the chance to meet Zach. I think will always feel guilty about that.
When Grandpa H passed away there wasn’t a second thought about dropping everything and to fly across country to be there with my family. This time, the decision wasn’t so easy. I sat down and started searching for plane tickets a number of times. I could never bring myself to click purchase.
I always felt like an outsider when it came to this family. Maybe it was that I didn’t actually spend most of my life in PA. Maybe I tried to hard to be noticed or liked and that made me even more annoying. Oh dear, do I know I was and can still be annoying! Regardless, having relatives that won’t speak to you and knowing in your gut there are things being said about you is an awful feeling.
I loved him enough to not bring more tension to family that is already spilling over with tension, guilt, and awkwardness. I know, every family has drama and tension, but for some reason, this family takes it beyond dysfunctional. I think avoiding it would probably best everyone, but it might make for a great novel one day.
Maybe in time it will be easier to write my grandpa’s story and to say goodbye to him my way. For the moment I’ll take comfort in knowing that if there is something after this life, he now knows the truth about each of us.