Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My grandpa died last night. He had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease. I can't write any more now without crying, so I will just post a copy of the letter I wrote to him for Father's Day this year. I will miss you, Grandpa.

Dear Grandpa,

Happy Father’s Day! I’m sorry I won’t get to see you, but you will be in my thoughts. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, and the ways you’ve touched my life.

When I was little, we did lots of fun things together. You could always be counted on to read a story or play a game. I loved all our camping trips, and have wonderful memories from them. Jumping off rocks at Johnson’s Shut-ins, playing cards after dark by the light of the lantern, and our trek back to Missouri after the Yellowstone visit were some of my favorites. I also have fond memories of fishing at your lake in St. Paul, and of catching a snapping turtle there one day. Thank you for thinking up all those fun things to do, and for inviting me to do them with you.

There were several years when I played sports – softball, track, and cross country. Even though I was pretty near talentless at all three of those, I knew you would come and watch me, and afterwards, you’d tell me I’d done a good job. Running was possibly my favorite part of high school, and you were my biggest inspiration. Your passion for running was contagious, but bringing us along to all those One Mile Fun Runs when we were little didn’t hurt either. Thank you for that inspiration, for all that exercise, and for all that fun.

When I was older still, I needed to borrow money for some pretty important things. My degree, of course, and the car that’s been taking me everywhere for the past five years are two things I have because of your generosity. Thank you for letting me ask you for that money, and for not getting mad at me when I forgot a couple payments.

When my brothers and cousins were still babies, I saw you playing with them, but didn’t stop to really notice it. After Emma was born, you played with her too – that little game where you say “bzzzzzzzz” and swoop your hand in to tickle her tummy. I love that game, and I’m so happy that my daughter got a chance to play. Now she sometimes talks about that day when we played in your yard and we all took turns jumping off that concrete thing, or according to her, “jumping a great-grandma a great-grandpa’s house”. Thank you for playing with Emma, and for being a good sport about jumping around in the yard.

Grandpa, in all the years I’ve known you, I’ve never heard you speak a harsh word to, or about, anyone. Even when your house was filled with loud and excited (and probably somewhat annoying) little kids, you never reprimanded anyone or acted like we were getting on your nerves. The gentle manner with which you address everyone – Grandma, your daughters, us, your friends, complete strangers – is something for which we should all strive. Thank you for your kindness, and thank you for being a person I have always been able to look up to.

I love you.

Love, Sarah

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

The letter was priceless to your grandfather I am sure. Aren't you happy you took time to write to him?
Your little daughter is so cute she reminds me of our grand daughter.

Leilalu said...

aww:( but what a sweet letter you wrote. Sorry for your loss.

emma looks so sweet in her new hat!

Hannah said...

I'm so sorry to hear you lost your Grandpa. He sounded like a wonderful man.

sue said...

You are so lucky to have had the chance to thank him for being part of your life. It is so hard when you lose someone like that. My grandad passed away before I turned 20, about 3 days before, and we did not get to say goodbye, which still haunts me now 18 years later. They do leave an imprint in your mind and life and just remember to tell stories and talk about them as it does help a lot.

Shawn said...

Sarah I'm so sorry to hear the loss of your Grandfather. The letter is something to be cherished. Save it always so Emma knows what a wonderful man he was to her Mommy. Take care if you need anything please let me know.

pete said...

Reading your letter was once again very touching. I'm glad you and David are coming in on Friday.

mamaperreca said...

Sarah, I am so sorry you lost your grandpa. Your letter to him was beautiful. I will say a prayer for him and all your family.

Eileen said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your grandpa's passing. I just lost my grandmother a few weeks ago. I know exactly what you are going through.

xoxo
Eileen
www.eileensplace.blogspot.com

Katie said...

hey there dearie-
mom called to let me know about your grandpa...i'm sending hugs & good thoughts your way, and am so sorry for your loss. He truly was a wonderful man and will be missed by all. I am moving this weekend so i wont be able to make it in for the services, but i will be there in spirit....give me a call if you need anything at at all...

love ya,
kt

earthchick said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you and your family.

Katie said...

oh Sarah!! Im so sorry!! hugs and prayers for you and your family!

David said...

Yeah, that's a pretty bad deal. I'm gonna miss that guy.

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
I don't know you, I saw your blog on the CPH KAL. I lost my stepdad 3 years ago to ALS. I feel and understand the pain you have. I wrote a similar letter to my stepdad before he died and I am so glad I did. He'll always be with you.
Hang in there, the crying will stop, I swear.
Jen
jenkatt@gmail.com
http://knittingnicunurse.typepad.com

Kara said...

Sarah, you and your grandfather will be in my thoughts and prayers.

GailV said...

Oh, Sarah, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

Anonymous said...

The hurt in your heart will get better. You have so many wonderful memories of your grandfather so he will always be with you. Those memories and the love are priceless.