My grandpa just died today. Those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while may have noticed my many notes about him throughout the past maybe three years. So it wasn’t a big surprise. He had lung cancer, and then a variety of cancers (maybe it was just one that metastasized; I get third-hand information), and a tumultuous journey with chemo and radiation and everything else.
So I’ve become so desensitized to the whole thing, and I dunno, maybe I’m in denial or entirely heartless or something, but I’m fine. My grandma, mom, and uncle are understandably rather sad.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that he was a pretty darn awesome grandpa. This is the kind of guy who started a group in his retirement community called the “Fraternal Order of Geezers” that had three rules:
1. you have to be at least somewhat interesting
2. I forget the second rule
3. you have to be able to pay for your own lunch
I’m pretty sure I inherited a lot of characteristics from him, such as:
- preference for quick and dirty fixes
- a healthy dose of denial of bad things in life
- a love of skiing
- above-average height and light eyes
- a very logical mind (he was a chemical engineer) and as such, a healthy dislike of organized religion
I hope I inherited more, such as:
- the ability to cut through nonsense and do whatever the hell he decides to do. My mom wrote a poem about him at one point that ended with the line “he taught us we can do anything.”
- a fantastic sense of humor. He told lots of jokes. And he introduced me to such comedic greats as Laurel and Hardy and Sid Caesar.
- incredible money managing skills. He never made a ton, but he invested well. I remember one time he counted up everything he owned (including his dog, which he valued at $300) and found out that he was quite literally a millionaire. A $1.3 millionaire, in fact. Although, in his words, “having a million dollars isn’t what it used to be.”
- creativity! He wrote a novel! It never got published (I don’t think) but it was close. He also made great Halloween costumes, and a remote-controlled dinosaur.
- adventurousness, both in terms of travel (I’m not sure where all he traveled to, but he traveled a bit) and life in general. Even in his old age, he would buy computers and stuff.
- ability to function despite handicaps (like not being able to see very well)
- probably most importantly, a sense of happiness with life. My mom recalls how he always whistled while he worked, quite literally. He and my grandma were very happily married too, all fifty-four years or whatever.
Anyway, he was quite a renaissance guy, loving, and happy, and there’s not much higher praise in my mind. I can’t think of anyone over 70 that I look up to more.
Thank you, Dan, for these kind, considerate, and thoughtful words about Dad. He loved you very much and was very proud of you, as am I and the rest of the family.
It’s a challenging time, as it is for anyone who suffers personal loss. It’s hard to make sense of, except for the fact as biological entities, our time on this planet is limited, and we should keep in mind that time is our most limited resource. My lesson is to make my time here count as fully as I can. Uncle Jim.
blog 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010