Earlier today my Grandpa passed away.
He was 94 years old. He was the only grandparent I was ever close to. My Mom's mother died fairly young, and her father didn't really contact us (or my Mom, for that matter). My Dad's father died at a very young age (around 34) and his mother passed away when I was a young thing (4).
Grandpa Mike was the only grandparent I spent time with, but without that title he'd still be the best one. He was exactly how you'd expect a grandparent to be: encouraging, generous and complimentary to your every whim. Gently chastening, but never pushy.
Random things I remember about him and his life... He was the only member of our family who was utterly non-confrontational. Well, maybe if you tried to assert that any team was better than Chicago. Even then, he'd be happy to settle it with a game of horseshoes in the driveway. His neighbors loved him. His house on the southside was one of those long, one-story brick ones, with a tiny square of yard in the front and back. Their backyard always housed an inflatable pool for us in the summer, and an umbrella table with chairs for the adults to sit and talk. Grandpa enjoyed a vodka martini with two olives which, if you were lucky, he'd let you have one of.
Grandpa's favorite place was the lake cabin, where he was the captain of the iron skillet and pontoon boat. He had old swimming rings and a great inflatable canoe my sisters and I fought over. He was no sidelines guy: he'd help you build a sandcastle, or score your dives, or put you to work if you wanted it. He also "borrowed" wildflowers from the neighbors' yards when we went on long walks.
He always wanted to travel, but never made it outside the United States. But he liked to hear stories about other family members' trips, especially my Dad's. The last time my Dad talked to Grandpa, he perked up when another trip to India was mentioned. He enjoyed living vicariously through his kids and grandkids. He loved that my cousin is spending a semester in Prague.
I don't know what he believed, other than treating people decently and not asking for too many favors out of life. He didn't argue or talk politics, he didn't offend the more liberal of my family by saying things like, "I believe the woman's place is in the home," like my Grandma Lu did once (I got a kick out of that). He didn't take sides. But he desired to join a church, as recently as this past year, and maybe that means something. I think it did to him.
I loved him and am thankful that when people talk about grandpas, I know I had the kind other people wished they did. I prayed for him often, and hope for him what I do for everyone: eternal life through the grace of God. I know my Grandpa was thankful to Him for a long, good life.
Please pray for his wife, Luella; I think she was not ready for him to go yet. She is shaken and, as a result, her faith appears to be. Please pray for her comfort and reassurance of God's providence. Thank you.
Back row is my Dad and Mom, Uncle Jim and Aunt Nancy, and cousin Sam.
Grandpa Mike, 1915-2009.