Monday, October 29, 2007

1908 - 2007

To follow up on my previous post...

My grandfather passed away today. He was 99 years old, had a good life, didn't suffer at the end - just slipped away - all that stuff that's supposed to make you feel okay about death.

So, yeah, it's okay. But it still sucks.

And by way of retraction -- I most certainly should have done some fact-checking on my grandfather's career before the previous post. I completely screwed up the timeline of his employment. Insomnia and the constant distraction of my darling little urchins do not make for accurate reporting, it seems. Talking to my dad about what he was going to include in the obit made me realize I was totally confused about which company my grandfather worked for when.

Oh well...that's why you shouldn't trust anything you read on the internet!

I'm trying to think of a good story to end this with, don't know...don't trust myself to get it right at this point. And to remember too much might disrupt the grand scheme of emotional repression that I'm working on right now.

A few years ago, my aunt sent me a copy of something her pop (my grandfather) had written when he was about 90 years old...I wish I knew which buried pile of papers I placed that letter in, because his words alone could bring this post to a proper conclusion.

The gist, as I remember it, was that he found happiness in his later years just "being" -- and this is my paraphrase -- as if he need ask no more of the world than to just be a witness to it, in all its mundane and profound glory.

And now, he belongs to the very fabric of the universe, whatever and wherever that may be.


At November 01, 2007 10:50 AM, Anonymous spencer said...

So sorry to hear about your grandfather. Looks like he had a long and wonderful life. I don't know if I'll ever be able to have whipped cream or canned cheese without thinking of him ;)

At November 01, 2007 11:55 AM, Blogger kristen said...

My deepest condolences - I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Not only was he an innovator in the realm of the foods we all hold dear, but it seems that he was also a very wise man when it came to living. Thank you for writing about his remarkable life - your two posts about him are very moving.

P.S. I love that picture in the previous post. What a great photo to remember your times together with him.

At November 01, 2007 4:21 PM, Blogger Merujo said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather's passing. But you know, 99 is an awfully fine run in this human life! I hope that, in the grief that comes with his loss, there is also time to celebrate a life well lived.

With every good thought in the world (and the knowledge that I'll be thinking of him at Thanksgiving when the pumpkin pie is about to be topped from a spray can),

Very sincerely,


At November 01, 2007 8:45 PM, Blogger radiocynic said...

Having just returned from his graveside service (at which there were many beautiful tributes; no need for me to add any of my usual blathering) I still feel a need to blather here.

This was a VERY cool man. I only knew him for the final 14 of his 99 years, so I didn't witness most of his big accomplishments, not the least of which his liberalism, pacifism and tolerance, at a time when it was not popular to espouse those virtues.

But the one observation I am qualified to make is how he was, to me, the ideal model dignified elderly person. The man really never complained, and truly enjoyed life. Even when, already in his late 80's, he was the primary caregiver for his terminally ill wife for several years. Even as he lost friends to death. Even as his physical capabilities declined, he accepted limited help as necessary with quiet reserved dignity. He was truly happy to sit quietly appreciating and observing all the beauty in life surrounding him, especially appreciative of his family. And he graciously tolerated anything (like boisterous children and such) that other elderly folks may consider disturbing to their peace.

I can only wish for all of us, if we're lucky enough to reach an advance age, (and now for that matter,) that we could all follow his example to be as peaceful, optimistic, satisfied and dignified.

At November 02, 2007 1:26 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

Thank you guys. I really appreciate your thoughts and support :)

It's funny Melissa, but even though he was 99, his death was still a little unexpected because he had been so physically healthy up until recently...even though he was admitted to the hospital about a week before his death, he was released after a couple of days and looked to be making a recovery.

I mean, the man didn't move into an assisted living apartment until he was about 95 years old, and then promptly found himself a girlfriend amongst the residents -- a very sweet lady, whom he had a lovely relationship for about two years until she passed away. And then he had another romance -- although that one was short-lived, I think because the woman's failing health caused her to leave the facility.

Anyway, I'm getting off track here. Just to say that even though he was a quiet man...well, like Randy said, his example spoke volumes. Lots of lessons to be learned.

The blurb with his 1926 high school yearbook picture read:

"'The brightest are often those of whom the world hears least.' Here we have the most taciturn boy in class, one who always thinks before he speaks and never speaks until he is spoken to; so when Earl says a thing, it is wise to listen."


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