Friday, December 28, 2007

a loss on a day of giving

christmas has always been my favorite holiday. unfortunately, for this year, a shadow has been cast over the season.

my grandfather passed away on christmas eve.

my husband and i picked up my grandparents for the festivities. as usual, they were bickering in the car on the way over -- a favorite pastime for this couple, married an amazing 63 years. i made a point of saying to them that no matter how much they argue, we all knew how much they loved each other.

our whole family was together at my mother's house that night, having a great time. grandpa ate tons of food, which was somewhat unlike him, from the moment he walked in the door until dessert was over. he had two glasses of wine and his espresso. he laughed a lot and enjoyed everyone's company, especially his grandchildren. he lived for us, and out of the 7 grandkids he had, 5 of us were there that night, plus my husband, his newest grandchild.

at almost 1 a.m., he said he was tired and he wanted to go home. so we began to walk my grandparents out to the car, so that dave and i could take him home. he had his walker, and was waiting for us to walk around the car to the other side to get him in. while we were walking over, he collapsed suddenly, though in very slow motion. he didn't even hit his head on the ground. we all rushed over to him, and saw that he was having trouble focusing. we were trying to get him to focus, and we brought blankets outside to keep him warm. we called the ambulance, which came right away. though the paramedics did their best, i think we knew as soon as we saw his eyes.

my grandfather was one of the most important people in my life. he was everything a grandpa should be -- giving, loving, comforting, and fun. he was oddly emotional, crying at the drop of a hat whenever he was touched by his family, and let us know often how much he loved all of us. he taught me a lot about how i should treat my family, being the first to call any of us out if we didn't keep in touch enough or didn't act politely at a family dinner. and he was a stubborn mule that didn't take care of himself enough at times, and eating cookies by the pound even though it wasn't good for him. he truly enjoyed his 87 years on this earth.

as sad as i am now -- heartbroken being a better term -- i can only tell you how proud i am that this man was in my life. and i know that the holidays from here on out can't be in mourning, but in celebration of his life. he loved his family and enjoyed us so much, he wouldn't want to be the cause of sadness.

i put together the collages of photos of him to use at the wake, and so i wanted to add a few to this post. this way everyone that reads this can see this man as i will always remember him -- full of life and loving his days with us.

make sure you tell the people you love how much you cherish them. and say it often. i know that my grandfather knew this that night, and he left this earth having spent his last moments with the food and family he loved so much. i can only be grateful for that.

EDIT: i say in the caption to the photos below that one of them is at my christening. so sorry, i should have said communion.


Roz said...

Very nice pics. I have some of the same shots with my grandparents.

Jacquie said...

Oh Nic. I came over to your blog to wish you a late merry Christmas and early happy New Year from Jason and myself and saw your post. I'm so sorry that you lost your grandfather but am so amazed by how strong you sound in remembering how wonderful it was to have him in your life.

I know that you and your family will be comforted by the great memories you undoubtedly have of him.

Congratulations on your new home! So glad you and your husband have found a place to call your own~


Archetype Design Studio said...

Just by looking at your pics one can tell that your grandpa was obviously one very special, jovial guy, Nic. Thanks so much for sharing with us. When all is said and done, I can imagine you must feel exceedingly privileged to have grown up and shared so many fond memories with him. My prayers and condolences to you, your grandma, mom and family.

Take Care

jm said...

nic, I'm so sorry for your loss. you always manage to put a good spin on things and it seems like you are doing just that in this case. plus, it sounds like you have so many other great things going on! congrats on the new place--can't wait for the housewarming!

Monica Rae said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. You speak of him as being much like my grandfather--though he passed away when I was five, we were very close and I have vivid memories of him--I still miss him sometimes. I, like you, was with my grandfather when he passed. My heart aches for you.

Be so grateful that you have so many years of memories with your grandfather! And to think that he left this earth in the midst of celebrating with the ones dearest to him -- that's truly a gift.

Nicole Block, said...

thanks so much to everyone here for the well wishes and sympathies. i'm just glad that everyone got to read about my wonderful grandfather and see pictures of the man i'll remember. i hope you have someone in your life that's this important to you. if you do, let them know as often as possible.