My siblings and I lost our grandpa today, my dad and his siblings lost their dad, and numerous people lost a source of humor, love, and practicality. Over the last couple of months my grandpa’s health had been slowly deteriorating due to Alzheimer’s, a heartbreaking and disastrous disease that strips people of their memories, motor skills, and finally their life. My grandpa lived and built a life worth remembering and I will forever be saddened by the reality that this disease tried it’s hardest to take that from him. I also regret that I wasn’t able to see him more, comfort my family, and reminisce about the joy he bestowed upon us with my family because of where I live. Where I find my comfort is in grasping the gravity of what my grandpa set into motion for my family’s and my own life.
Aside from the obvious observation that I would not be on this earth if Grandpa was never in the picture, I would not be where I am on this earth without him. The last couple of months in Haiti have been a punishing task both physically and mentally but have also come with a bounty of blessings. I often find myself in situations where I am so thankful for the lessons passed down to me from my dad, who had them passed down to him from my grandpa. I was taught to carry out my life and work with integrity and when I fail; face my mistakes with humility, honesty, and perseverance. I’ve always looked up to both my dad and grandpa but for most of my life I don’t know if I ever truly identified why. Now, I marvel at the patience they do and did display in every situation even when they are and were wronged. I am delighted and jealous of the humor they do and did inject into conversations. I am forever thankful for the loving guidance provided by both of them.
My family is who we are in great part thanks to my grandpa. These last few months have not been easy for my family and I for multiple reasons. Watching a sharp, quick-witted, and loving mind deteriorate is not easy to watch. And I know it sure as hell wasn’t easy for my grandpa to live through. After every “How’s Grandpa” doing text, I knew what the answer would be and yet I still prayed that I wouldn’t get the response I knew I was going to get. I hate that I wasn’t able to tell him “thanks” one last time or at the very least say goodbye. His legacy of love and humor will live on through every member of my immediate and extended family. His body has faded, his pain is no more, his soul is at peace and now all that is left is his love. Thanks Grandpa. I love you, and when I make it to heaven you and grandma better have a Dixie cup full of goldfish crackers waiting for me, just like the old times.