i will be the first to admit that i took his 91 years of wisdom for granted. i always left his home at alden of waterford knowing i'd see him again soon. he always greeted us downstairs with a smile and always welcomed us politely into his little home.
my grandpa moved to the chicago suburbs after spending years in kansas city. he was moved here because he had family here and it was best for him. i don't know who ultimately made that decision but i am so incredibly grateful for it.
it was because of this decision that i really got to know my grandpa. it is because of this decision that he very proudly attended our wedding in a Catholic church. it is because of that decision that my husband and i were able to meet him for brunch now and then, and that he was able to visit our first home as a married couple for our first thanksgiving as hosts.
i loved him. he was genuine. kind. grateful. warm. he had a strong memory and a peaceful heart. he loved my husband. he never forgot my birthday. he never forgot a single christmas for all of his grandchildren, and he was always stubbornly insisting that he didn't need anyones help. i hope we are all that strong when we are old.
the truth is, after he lost his wife, things just changed for him. god love him. he married the love of his life, literally. his life was not complete anymore once she passed.
on the last day i saw him, he was mumbling but it all made sense to me. he called me sweetheart (as he would always) and he laughed at scotts jokes (as always) and he appreciated my mom and his other kiddos being present. we'll never know if he truly understood us all saying goodbye, but it's pretty awesome that all five siblings were there nonetheless.
i've had four grandparents. i lost one very young (7). my memories of grandpa chuck are seldom, but i know one thing -- if that is where my dad learned to be who he is, i wish i knew him more. my grandma lanie (dad's mom) got sick when i was in college. my parents quickly moved back from california to take care of her. she was always a wise irish woman with a lot of sarcasm and wit. my mom's mom, dorothy--or as we called her DD. i didn't know her well as we always lived far apart, but, i can remember happy things about her and how she loved to shop. and grandpa phil....
well, grandpa phil.
i had the absolute delight to know him later in life and i'm so grateful for that.
i will always miss him but i know, truly, all he wanted was to be with Grandma DD, so for that i am grateful. i miss you, grandpa.
i still haven't been able to use his Christmas gift. it's still in the envelope. i want to use it for something special. i know he would have wanted that.
rest in peace, grandpa phil.