Crashing In and Pushing Off

This Monday, 15 August 2011, my amazing, wonderful, loving, funny, caring grandfather passed away.

It wasn’t entirely a shock, as his health had gone downhill recently, but he was always larger than life in my mind; I thought he would live forever. Witty, smart, fun, warm. The perfect patriarch, he supported his children and grandchildren, pushed us when we needed pushing, helped us up when we scraped our knees, gave us countless hugs, kisses, and smiles. I am so grateful that I was able to spend time with him when I was home for my bachelorette party two weekends ago. I cherish those hours we spent together.

I keep thinking of moments I had with him each smile and phrase leads to another memory, another moment spent together. More stories, more emotions. It’s funny how thoroughly my interactions with him are woven throughout my memories of childhood, growing up, and into adulthood. He was so present in the lives of his children and grandchildren. I grasp at these fragmented thoughts and memories, writing them down so I don’t forget.

He was so excited about our wedding, and I am incredibly sad that he will not be there to witness our love and joy that day. Always social and out-going, he loved big events and relished in time spent with family and friends. With just over a week until our wedding, his passing has left me with a rip-tide of emotions that I am still trying to process.

A deep mourning, of course. He has been a rock of stability in my life for so long that, while I feel a keen sense of loss and a quiet, persistent sorrow, I also feel that the part of my life and heart that he occupied is still full, still present. I know that he will always be there.

Guilt, that I will be celebrating and happy when he is not there to join in. Guilt that my family has to continue dealing with the hassles of the wedding, when they should be focusing on family, and him.

Anger, that God called him away from us, but also acceptance and understanding that it was his time to go.

Blessed, because he was so involved in my life. Blessed, for all of the time I was able to spend with him. Blessed. Blessed and loved.

There are more, of course, but I do not care to try to examine or understand them. I just know they are present, when he is not.

He would, of course, dislike our sadness. If he were here, he would say something funny a joke, or a witty remark to lighten the mood and get us to smile. So, a few memories of him to make me smile:

  • Bookar Park, and other nicknames
  • Him, mowing the lawn in his swim trunks, always so tan from the summer sun
  • Him, walking over every morning to take our dog out
  • Him, eating corn on the cob outside by the fireplace
  • His hands helping me find strawberries and tomatoes from the container garden
  • Him, showing me how to use his old typewriter in the basement
  • All of his baseball caps
  • “Of course you do, my dearie”
  • Him, singing with his buddies at our Christmas parties
  • Him, dressing up as Santa Claus when we were little
  • Him, always asking me to try lutefisk at our gatherings
  • His love for Grandma
  • His love of dogs
  • His love for me

When we were little, we would love swimming in their pool. They filled it with icy-cold creekwater, so in the early summer the pool would be freezing. My sister, cousins and I would stand at the water’s edge, dipping our toes in, not wanting to take that first dunk.

He would walk up behind us, saying “You have to do it like this. You just crash in…” and he would plunge in backwards with abandon, “and push off!” We always shrieked with laughter, and followed suit.

I love using that phrase now, because to me, he wasn’t just teaching us how to brave the cold water. He was encouraging us to pursue things we love with no reservations, to plunge in without constantly worrying, to embrace things that might make us uncomfortable or that were out of our realm of understanding, to make our mark on the world. To crash in, and push off.

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Jag älskar dig, Morfar.

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BLOGGER

Mrs. Candy Apple

Location:
Princeton Junction, NJ/ Seattle, WA
Wedding Date:
August 2011
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comments

  1. Member
    Mrs. Doily 1718 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:39 pm

    I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss Candy Apple. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. Member
    Mrs. Ladyfingers 1256 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:24 pm

    This is beautiful, and I’m so sorry for your loss :(

  3. Member
    Mrs. Seal 1179 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:58 pm

    Love you, CA. You and your family are absolutely in my thoughts and prayers…and I thank you and your wonderful grandfather for that timeless advice—it’s so true and we all need to be reminded to just crash in and push off sometimes ;) May he rest in peace and watch over you with a warm smile on wedding day ;) xoxo

  4. Member
    Ms. Gazelle 1019 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:24 pm

    Miss CA, I am so sorry for the loss of your grandfather. Big hugs, you and your family are in my thoughts.

  5. Member
    lisamarieloves 470 posts, Helper bee @ 4:49 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your post about your grandfather was beautifully written.

  6. Member
    stephbonthego 710 posts, Busy bee @ 5:00 pm

    I am so sorry, Candy Apple. Nothing can replace the special people in our lives but time helps. Prayers and good thoughts for you and your family.

  7. Member
    Mrs. Earrings 2611 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:47 pm

    So sorry for your loss. *hugs*

  8. Member
    Mrs. Pain au Chocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:32 pm

    Oh, Candy Apple! I read this earlier today… so hard not to cry at work. Your grandfather’s touching words of wisdom are going to stick with me too. Lots of bee hugs and I’m thinking of you today and this weekend.

  9. Member
    Mrs. Panther 1112 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:52 pm

    Oh, honey. I’m so sorry.

  10. Member
    Mrs. Teacup 631 posts, Busy bee @ 12:09 am

    Oh, love. Thank you for sharing this incredibly personal post. Sending hugs and warm thoughts to you and your family.

  11. Member
    Mrs. Candy Apple 1877 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:24 am

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind and overwhelming responses. I cried reading them, and was so grateful for the support of this community. All of your comments were incredibly thoughtful.

    My heart goes out to everyone who has experienced, or is currently experiencing, this type of pain. While I grieve, it is a comfort knowing that I am not alone in my grief. Thank you.

  12. Member
    Mrs. Sparkler 488 posts, Helper bee @ 1:41 pm

    I’m so sorry, CA. Your grandpa sounds like he was an amazing guy. I loved learning a little bit about him in your post. Thinking of you and your family.

  13. Member
    TamJam 211 posts, Helper bee @ 1:46 am

    So sorry for your loss. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  14. Member
    Mrs. Kettle 926 posts, Busy bee @ 7:05 am

    This post brought tears to my eyes. It makes me wish I was closer with my grandfather. I know you’ll be thinking of him during your wedding and I pray it’s only happy thoughts.

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