My grandfather, my Pappap W, died early yesterday morning. He was 91 and had a great life. His wife of 64 years is still alive. My Aunt lives with them, and so they've been able to stay in the house they had built back when my mom was about 8 years old. The community now is thriving with young families and big box stores have popped up everywhere. But they moved there when it was primarily a farming community.
I've never lost a grandparent before. I know I'm lucky, that at 28, my first grandparent only just passed. But I can't help thinking of all of the things I put off that he won't get to witness. He won't be there when I walk down the aisle. Heck, if I get married, my future husband won't even get to meet him. If I have kids, they'll never know their great-grandfather.
My Pappap always had a military haircut, and I always loved to pet his hair. He'd always yelp and say, "Hey! You're messing up my hair! I worked hours to get it it like that!" He told silly jokes and took naps in the chair in their living room. He was always cold and wearing cardigans, even in the summer.
When I was little, my sister and I would spend a week with my grandparents. We would go to McDonald's, create a restaurant in their kitchen, and make "Ladies" and "Mens" signs for their bathrooms. My Pappap never minded forking over ten cents for the sandwich he made himself. When we went to the North Park pool, he never went in the water, just sat next to the pool in a lawn chair, growing ever darker, and telling us he'd get in when the water wasn't wet. We always giggled and tried to explain that was impossible, but he never budged.
Pappap loved coffee and hot tea. He loved to eat raw onions with his sandwiches. He was on oxygen for the past four years or so, owing to his emphysema. But to this day, every time I smell a pipe, I think of the ones he gave up when I was young.
I can't picture their house without him there. I can't imagine holidays without his presence. I will be thinking of him on that distant day if I ever walk down the aisle. I love you Pappap. Rest in peace.