Words From My Grandpa

May 19, 2011
By , Olathe, KS
My mom is one of five kids. Out of those five, three have children. I only have six cousins from my mom’s side of the family, so we have all become very close. We see each other multiple times a year, mostly when we go to see our grandparents in Iowa during summer or when it’s around Christmas or Thanksgiving..

My grandma is a very loving, generous person who likes to give multiple hugs a day, and who shows her love of her family. For my grandpa, showing his love was not as easy. He grew up as a Marine, so he didn’t show emotion as well as my grandma. Although I could tell that he loved us, and that he was always having a good time when his family was around, I never actually heard him say the words “I love you”. This had never occurred to me until January.

My grandpa died on January 20, 2011 from his third cancer. We had gotten lucky before with his other cancers, catching them early and being able to prevent their spreading. However, his lung cancer was caught late and it spread rapidly within a matter of months. Before we knew it, my grandpa was in the hospital in very bad condition. Of course he had good days, and he had bad days, but as the months passed, the bad days seemed to become more and more frequent. During his hospital stays, my family went up to Iowa multiple times, but we were never able to see him for a long period of time because of the condition he was in.

Our last time in Iowa, we were called up there by my grandma, who told us that we should come and say goodbye. We packed and went to Iowa as soon as possible. For the majority of the first few days, my whole family stayed at the hospital, but my grandpa didn’t want us kids to be in the room with him, so that we wouldn’t remember him in that way. I was very sad that I wasn’t really able to talk to him or even see him on some days, but I know that it is important that we remember him the way he used to be, which was fun-loving and laughing a lot. On that Thursday, my grandpa passed away. I wasn’t even allowed at the hospital when he passed, so I never got to say goodbye. The following days consisted of many other family members and neighbors stopping by to visit my family and offer their condolences. Over the weekend, we prepared for my grandpa’s wake and funeral. I was extremely proud of my grandpa after the wake. My grandparents lived in a very small town, but you wouldn’t know it based on the amount of people who showed up to pay their respects. The next day, my grandpa was buried.

Immediately following the funeral, everyone on my mom’s side of the family went to my grandma’s house to visit with each other. When I got there, I had to go and pack because my family had to leave and go home. On my way out, I started making the rounds to all my relatives, as usual, to give them a hug and say goodbye. The last person I stopped at was my grandma. As she hugged me tight, as she usually does, she softly whispered in my ear that “Grandpa told me he was proud of all you kids, and that he loved you all very much.” These words really surprised me. I had never heard of my grandpa saying anything like that before. Of course I knew that he loved me and my whole family, but to hear of him actually saying those words had an impact on me.

Those words have stuck with me since then, and whenever I think of my grandpa now, I don’t think of how he looked laying in the hospital. I think of how much love he had for his family, and how much we all loved him back. I do my best each and every day to keep my family proud of me, and I know my siblings are doing the same.

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