See ya Gramps!

armypic As many of you know, 2010 started for me in much the same way as much of 2009 went, with a death. This time, it wasn’t overly sad. It’s not that the person won’t be missed, it’s just that losing him couldn’t have gone much better.

The person who passed away was my wife’s Gramps. Gramps was 92 years old, and had lived a really full life. The last six years he had lived with my in-laws, and got to be there as a Great Grandpa to my kids and my brother-in-law’s kids. Since my in-laws live close, the girls got to see Gramps all the time. Gramps even spent Christmas day with us. A couple days later, he fell and broke his hip, which is very typical for folks that age. He went into the hospital and made it through the surgery great, but then a couple days later, went downhill really fast. He passed away on Jan 2, 2010.

The good thing is, he never had to be put in an old folks home, never had to battle Alzheimer’s (although he did get confused from time to time), didn’t suffer a long drawn out illness, was able to get around, and was surrounded by people he loved when he died. As far as deaths go, this one went about as well as you could hope for.

Gramps was a WWII veteran and a part of the Normandy invasion. He was married two times (both 27 years long) and another shorter marriage when he was young. He was a gardener, a lover of dogs and nature, and an ornery gent who loved to tease. He’ll definitely be missed, but missed with good happy thoughts. My in-laws are empty nesters again, so I think they will be the ones that will have the most to adjust to. After six years of being his caregivers, not having that responsibility will be nice, but I think it’ll be hard for them for awhile.

In the end, his service was unusual and fun, much like Gramps himself. He was buried in his trademark coveralls, we had bouquets of vegetables instead of flowers (he thought that if you were gonna bother growing something, you should be able to eat it) And graveside, we all drank tallboy Budweisers. That’s all Gramps drank in earlier years, so in tribute, we all had some. Beer was poured on the coffin, and the empty cans went in the grave with him. Even the funeral director drank one with us. Then, all of the great grandkids released balloons into the air with notes they had written him. It was something Gramps really would have appreciated it. It was a nice tribute.

Bye Gramps we’ll miss ya!