Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gone but not forgotten - Grandpa

This post is somewhat delayed because the internet was down and I wasn't about to try typing my thoughts and feelings for a blog post using my iPhone....way too many tears for that = way too many typographical errors.  That being said, it has been an emotional week for me and the family as we remembered all too well the events of a year ago.  The loss is fresh and hits me/us throughout the year, in random memories, in conversations, in sights and smells, in general.  Losing Grandma to cancer was tough.  Losing Grandpa less than a week later to the same dreaded beast of a disease was tough on us as well.  Yet, there was some measure of comfort too, because they had been married and joined as one since 1955.  Therefore, God calling them to our eternal home in a short time period almost made sense in a tragic but romantic way.  The combined memorial service was a fitting tribute to the lives of two special individuals who were a wonderful example of unity in Christ. 

So here are some of the things I remember about Grandpa:
  • his inability to tell me no directly; instead, he would say, "Go ask your mother/grandmother" because they never had trouble telling me no.
  • his patriotism, from his military career (go Army!) to DC government service to civic duty, and this made a lasting impression on my level of respect for those who serve and protect and emphasized the serious responsibility we have in exercising our voting privileges
  • his territorial remarks when it came to the recliner
  • his willingness to get up and get it done, with long work hours, commutes to the office, home improvement and maintenance projects, etc.
  • his silly faces, captured in many pictures, but missed in so many others, and often times prompting much laughter because Grandma never seemed to catch him being silly in those moments
  • his methods of bribery on Saturday mornings to get us awake and helping with household chores when I spent summers with them in Northern Virginia - anybody else remember how his "variety" boxes from Dunkin' Donuts always seemed to have OUR favorites? (apple filled yummy goodness for me...I can taste it now!)
  • his many lessons on professionalism and the example he provided in that regard
  • his technology skills and goodies like the AOL jacket and legal pads
  • how he is the only accountant proxy to ever file my tax return and justify a well-deserved refund because he knew all the right deductions based on my life/reality without some extended interview process
  • his extensive DVD collection and willingness to play media librarian with even the new releases, but it also reminds me of his eclectic taste in television and movies
  • his love of cashews and candy
  • his love of family
  • his fear of holding babies that rivals my own
  • his willingness to be my patient when he had need of my EMT skills and knowledge
  • his passion for reading and talking about the good books and warning me away from the not so good books
  • his manly house slippers
  • his spirited debates with me about political issues, campaigns, candidates, elected officials, etc. and all things government or legal, and his encouraging me to do more than just "cancel out his vote" which to this day I couldn't tell you if he was kidding or serious about how he was voting and who
  • his desire to provide gifts for all of his loved ones on special occasions
  • his fondness for coconut and chess pies, and bravery in trying my first attempts at both back in the day
  • his enjoyment of fishing on the Shenandoah River (I think that's where we were?!) and then the Davis pond in his retirement years
  • his calming presence and influence
  • his loyalty
  • his pride
  • his lasting imprint on the lives of family and friends, me included
Yes, Grandpa was one of the good guys, gone too soon in my opinion.   I remember all these great things though.  It eases some of the guilt I have in telling him we were just taking him for a quick ambulance ride to Farmville when in actuality, we were transporting him there for transfer to Lynchburg with input from his doctors and the hospice staff.  It also makes the grief come and go with these flashes of such precious memories.  Finally, it makes me proud to have been his granddaughter, taking the time to share so much with him over the years which only benefits me in the long run, and the wonderful news that this earthly adventure is not the end for us Christians.  Till heaven's reunion, all my love and gratitude for Grandpa....

Monday, September 30, 2013

I Still Remember - Grandma

September 30

I still remember you, not just this day, but the whole year through.  I remember being called to your country home about this time last year and going into EMT mode, yet hoping I was wrong about a patient for the first time ever.  I remember the patient assessment and check for vital signs, then confirming with your children/my family that God had called you home.  I remember sending them to the other room and waiting by your side for the funeral home personnel to arrive.  I remember staying strong and handling things so professionally.  I remember laughing at the irony because you always said you never wanted to be my patient on a Victoria medic, giving me a hard time whenever I was asking for volunteers to practice my IV skills.  I remember seeing you at peace, free from cancer's attack on your body.  I remember it all too well, as if it were just yesterday.  I remember the end of your stay in our temporary home.  I remember, and I am super sad.  But that's not all I remember!

I remember 34 years of being your granddaughter, your first grandchild in fact.  I remember how you always made birthdays and holidays special, with cards and gifts and time in your homes (both Manassas Park and Victoria).  I remember your bronze elephant collection and wondering how someone who always said they voted Democrat could possibly have so many Republican representations in their home.  I remember how you called me Alissa Anne, and not once doing so because I was in trouble with you.  I remember how you taught me to play cards and never let me win at Rummy unless I earned the most points fair and square.  I remember summer adventures that seemed to go on forever, with pool time, backyard fun, joy rides to the mall, and visits to church singing about joy the whole way there.  I remember feeling spoiled by our times together, the shopping for a college and career professional wardrobe that still has your imprint even today ("classic preppy").  I remember your chicken and rice casserole that you learned to make without mayonnaise so I would eat it.  I remember learning to drive in the Big City traffic after your sinus surgery, and you telling me to find a traffic signal since you couldn't really help me see what was coming.  I remember my mom telling you that ignorance was probably bliss since I was such an inexperienced driver at the time I played your chauffeur.  I remember your strawberry pretzel gelatin dessert and how you told me it could be mind over matter to ignore the cream cheese until my stomach proved you wrong.  I remember your Cincinnati chili, laughing at how you said "wash" with a hidden R somewhere in the word, your love for your family and family pets.  I remember how you supported me and my causes, opening up your new home to be the Chrysalis Big House for a bunch of teenagers and young adults to crash in the country, just 20 minutes away from a flight weekend venue so we could be close enough to help behind the scenes but far enough away to avoid expenses of staying on site.  I remember family dinners, emails of encouragement, messages that updated me of your Facebook stalking, phone calls, and more.  I remember the pride you had in decorating and maintaining your home, and wish I had an ounce of that domestic creativity.  I remember you teaching me all the words to the Redskins fight song, and being introduced to players as a child, with a hog nose and all.  I remember feeling like your favorite if I got to sleep in the butterfly bedroom in Victoria or the master bedroom in NOVA, yet seeing you give that same "special" treatment to my sisters and cousins on occasion. 

Yes, I still remember.  I remember the sad times.  But mostly, I remember and cling to the good times....the times God gave me with you as my grandma.  I remember them and a part of you lives on in me.  I know I'll see you again in heaven some day.  I love and miss you, GiGi.