Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grandpa Brinkman

Hello there,


In my last post I alluded to feeling a little nostalgic lately, I thought I would share why. A few weeks ago my sweet grandfather passed away. It's a funny thing about losing a grandparent. Yes, he was older (89) and yes, he lived a wonderful, full life. But I still feel a huge hole in my heart where he once was. Knowing he was aging and that this was coming has not made it a whole lot easier. But counting my blessings has helped.




1. Grandpa was: funny, loving, faithful, and complicated. He didn't always say the right things, he wasn't always the warm and fuzzy type. He made mistakes. Half the time he couldn't hear what I was saying, he told me I talked too fast. He was a real person, in my family. And he definitely was at the top.




2. He taught me so much about family. When you were in, you were in. Whether by marriage or birth-you were family. My father lived most of his adult life without his father, but Grandpa filled that role for him. He loved him and treated him like a son. When my mother passed, none of that changed.




3. He was just as loving and generous with his great grandchildren as he was with us. This is him with my nephew Tommy. I am so very thankful that he and Suzie got to know him.





4. He found a lot of joy in being generous with his family. Every Christmas he gave the grandkids money (he knew what teenagers like ; ) ) but, getting a gift usually involved solving a riddle or playing a game. He wrote out each Christmas cards, each clue by hand. Every year. And he loved it.



5. My grandmother became ill when I was very young. For years she was in a nursing home. She was total mystery to me. But, he was totally dedicated to her. He attended church with her every Sunday, and he threw he a 50th anniversary party, right there in her room. Always calling her 'Mother'.



6. He said the funniest things, like: 'well, how do you doo doo?' 'don't ever get old Michelle, it's not worth it'. One of my favorite greetings was ' Well, hello young lady', which I followed with 'Hello, young man'. He had the best smile.





7. I always knew that he loved me and was proud of me. I sent him cards often, wrote him letters. He saved every one, because he loved them. One year for Christmas I crocheted him a blanket, and my aunt gave it back to me. He kept it all this time, because he loved me.


8. This last picture was taken at our annual Fathers Day picnic. It was the last time I think I spent time with him. I will love this picture forever. Connor won't remember him, but I love that Grandpa got to meet him. My brother got to introduce him to Grandpa, which was quite a thrill. And my father got a picture of 4 generations-all together




9. I am really thankful this is my last memory of him. I didn't have to see him suffer in a hospital bed. He died in peace and without much suffering- for that, I am the most thankful. I don't have those negative memories to cloud the happy ones. I am free to laugh at stories, look at pictures, and be happy for him. He's in heaven now, with my mother and his wife-two women he loved so much.




So, I guess I can slowly start to move on. To get used to the idea of not seeing him at Christmas and family parties. That I won't have anywhere to send the cards. That will be hard. Losing someone you love can be so hard. This time, however, I have more peace and no unfinished business. No regrets for the things he won't do. Because he did it all.




With a very dry martini....




Thanks for stopping by!


Later,


Michelle


p.s. If any Brinkmans stumble over here, please leave a comment with your favorite Grandpa story, I would love to hear them!!
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