Today would be my Granddad’s 87th birthday. 87 years old! That’s unbelievable. It has been over 3 years since he passed away. You know, everyone says that it gets better with time. That’s just simply not true. As far as day to day goes….yeah it does get a little easier. In the long run though, it gets harder every day. I do take comfort in the fact that if he were still alive today, I know that his mind would not be with us. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s and although he never forgot any of the people he loved, his mind was definitely slipping.
When my Granddad was alive, he loved going on our family vacation to the beach every year. Even though in the later years he would mostly stay in the beach house, he always loved to watch the sunrises and sunsets. So, in honor of his birthday I decided to go to Santa Monica and watch a Sunset for Granddad last night. I didn’t let myself get too sad while I was there because this is in fact, the day that we celebrate his birth and celebrate his life! Before the sunset, I was a little down and a bit emotional. Afterwards, I feel so much joy for having the time that I had with my Granddad. My cousins, siblings, and I could write a book with all of the stories we have of him.
I’m going to leave you with something that I wrote right after he passed away. We had the idea that each of his Grandkids write a memory or story or poem about him so that people who came to the his viewings could really reflect on who he was. I have copies of all of my sibling’s writings. I bring them out from time to time and read them over. I wouldn’t feel comfortable posting their work since I did not ask them ahead of time, so I will just post what I wrote. It paints a picture of my favorite memory of my Granddad. So, friends and family, if you get a chance today to take a swig of Jameson or a scoop of ice cream, think of him….however you knew him: Ed, Edward, Uncle Ed, Dad, or Granddad. I now I’ll be raising a spoon for my favorite Islay boy!
I miss you Granddad!
I consider myself to be an extremely lucky person. There are a lot of people in this world that take their grandparents for granted. They’ll see them on some holidays and maybe talk to them over the phone on birthdays or other special occasions, but I feel like I really got to spend quality time with my Granddad. More than that, I learned how grateful I was to have someone like him in my life and was able to share that with him.
I never grew up with two whole sets of grandparents. My mom’s dad passed away long before I was born, and her mom passed just after my third birthday. I guess I would kind of get jealous, when I was little, about how other kids had four grandparents, but it was more for materialistic reasons than anything else. They would get two birthday parties or they would get double the Christmas presents. I didn’t realize how little that mattered until later. I never felt like I was shortchanged in love or support in any way. If anything, I felt a deeper connection with my Granddad than any of my friends felt with any of their grandparents. I’m not sure if my Granddad did it on purpose or if this is just the way he’s always been, but it was almost as if he was overcompensating for my missing out of getting to know my other grandparents.
One memory has especially been running through my head over the past month or so. One Easter when I was five or six, my family headed over to my grandparents house to spend the day and have dinner. It wasn’t until we were there that my ear began to ache. I was one of those kids that got frequent ear infections and this had been one of them. I was miserable all afternoon. They didn’t have any Children’s Tylenol in their house, and because it was Easter nothing was open that would sell it. I was lying on the couch crying and my Granddad came over and put his hand over my ear. Immediately, I felt relief and stopped crying. This was a pretty social event, and we all know that my Granddad can never sit still at these. He’s always asking if anyone needs a drink or something to eat. But, for that day, he ignored all of his guests, except for one. He sat next to me all afternoon with his hand on my ear until my mom finally found a store that was open.
This was probably my first lesson in what love and devotion is, and if there has ever been anyone in this world with those qualities, it was my Granddad. That is what he instilled in every one of his children and then consequently in every one of his grandchildren. This is the reason why we can come together and be best friends like we are. We grew up with a very strong figure in our lives to teach us about priorities in life and that family always comes first. I’m lucky that I had my Granddad around long enough to teach me that lesson. It is probably the most important lesson I will ever learn.