This past week, my family said goodbye to an incredible man. A kind, faithful, God-loving, genuine man who lived a full and blessed life. He served his country, was a caring husband and father, could live off the land, build anything with his two hands, and would go to the ends of the earth to make his grandkids smile. He’s Owen’s proud great-grandpa, my grandpa, and my dad’s dad.
|Grandma and Grandpa at my high school graduation.|
|Grandpa with my dad (right) and his brother (left).|
|Grandma and Grandpa’s anniversary party with kids and grandkids.|
Never was there a man more dedicated and devoted to being a grandpa. Besides maybe my dad, who is also an equally amazing grandpa but then, he learned from the best. I’m not kidding when I say he would do anything to make his grandkids happy. Our smiles brought him so much joy.
|Grandpa with my parents, myself, and my sisters’ kids (and Elle) in 2010. Alex was the photographer.|
In his later years, he became very tech-savvy so he could keep up with his 9 grandkids and 12 great-grandkids. He was on Facebook and Instagram. He even managed to (accidentally) post a few pictures. 🙂
|Grandpa, 20 years old in the Army|
|Grandpa driving an Army Jeep.|
Alex flew a flag for grandpa in his jet during the deployment last summer. Grandpa had the flag and certificate framed and displayed it proudly in his apartment. Anyone who came into his room got to hear about Alex and what he’s done for his country. This is a photo of Grandpa being honored on Veteran’s Day.
I love this picture, it makes me smile. He’s so proud and I love his smile. But I especially love the photos of his three newest great-grandsons (all born within a few months of each other) on the bulletin board behind him.
He had a long and happy life, but our time with him will never seem like it was enough. I’m at peace knowing that his faith took him to a better place. He’s well and happy. I find so much comfort in the memories and words of my family as we celebrate the life of this gentle, kind, loving man.
My first Christmas with grandpa and my cousin.
Maybe I’m selfish to let myself believe that my parents and grandparents will live forever. It’s hard to accept that he’s no longer with us in this life. I check Instagram and still expect to to see that ‘duane1925’ has liked my photo. I wish I’d visited, written, and called more often. I don’t think the pain of losing him will ever go away. It’s so hard right now, being away from family when I want to be with them the most. The weight of the pain will change. It’s a brick in our pocket right now, but it will become bearable in time. The sadness won’t go away, we’ll always be sad that he’s gone and we won’t like that part. After we’ve said goodbye, we will find him with us in spirit. We will carry him with us always and cherish the precious time we had with him. Really, that’s all we need. And that’s not so heavy.
Grandpa, I know you’re smiling down on us, guiding us, guarding us, and watching our little ones grow. As grandma said, “this isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later!” I have been so blessed to have you for a grandpa to teach me how to love, to serve the Lord, and show me the importance of family. Thank you for all of the memories, the videos and pictures of my childhood, everything you’ve taught me, and for the infamous family nose! I miss everything about you, but I will see you later!
Love you always and forever.