We’ll miss you, Grandfather

We’ll miss you, Grandfather

Live each day like it will be your last.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  Never skip an opportunity to tell someone that you care.  Never put off what you can do today.  And always take that moment for extra snuggles with your children, your mother, your father, or your grandparents.  They may not be there tomorrow.

Last Tuesday, I lost my Grandfather.  He was an elderly man, but it was unexpected.  He passed of a heart attack.  The news hit me like a bag of bricks.  It threw me off my entire reality and has shaken me up in a way I never thought possible.  I had experienced death and loss in my life before, but this was something different.  My grandfather helped take care of me when I was a child, as my mother was a flight attendant and sometime needed to fly for a couple days a time.  He and I tested each other as the stubborn streak in our family ran straight down the middle of us.  But I look back on the times spent with him and realize all of my vital life lessons were taught to me through him.  His strong hands were always firm, yet gentle.  I could always count on them to catch me if I fell along the way.  He taught me the value of honesty, loyalty, commitment, perseverance, hard work, and finishing all my food if I served myself.

I will forever remember his quick wit and how he never once “let me win” a game of chess.  If I won, it was because I tried hard and earned it myself.  I will miss the days of sitting on the toilet lid as a little girl in my nightgown and bunny slippers, watching him shave in the mornings, listening to him whistle a cheerful tune while taking in the familiar scent of traditional Old Spice soap.  I will miss the jokes, the songs on the piano, and the remarks about “going out to get cat fur to make kitten britches” when you ask him silly questions.  I will miss his warm smile, his joyful laugh, and his loving embrace.  He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.

Just this last weekend, Rhonin has suddenly taken an interest in Jaren’s electronic chess board.  He’s seen it many times before.  Thousands of times.  But suddenly, it calls to him.  After putting the twins to bed, I came out to Rhonin and Mike sitting across the coffee table from each other.  Mike was asking Rhonin about the pieces.

“What piece is this?” Mike asked.

“That’s the knight!” Rhonin replied cheerfully.

“What’s special about the knight?” Mike asked.

“The knight only moves in an L-shape!” Rhonin was quick to respond with confidence.

The following morning, I passed by Rhonin’s room, where I found him setting up a chess game, talking to himself.

“That’s the rook, and that goes there.  That’s the knight, and that goes there!  And that one is the bishop, and he goes right there…” he was saying to himself.

I don’t pretend to know everything about what happens after we pass on.  But I believe it is possible things happen that we simply cannot explain and do not understand.  For example, I do not understand why Rhonin suddenly has an interest in Grandpa’s game the weekend after he passed away.  I also cannot explain why he knows all these things about chess when he didn’t before.  I didn’t explain them to him.  Perhaps Mike did.  Or perhaps Jaren did.

Or maybe, just maybe… it’s safe to say that Grandpa won’t ever be forgotten because he will always be with us, in one way or another.


Christmas 2014 – Grandpa and Jaren

Donald Welch, loving father and grandfather
1929 – 2014