September 23, 2009


I don't know how to preface this, so I'll just write as it comes to mind.

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.

That's my Grandpa on the front right, with his wife Luella.
Back row is my Dad and Mom, Uncle Jim and Aunt Nancy, and cousin Sam.

Grandpa Mike, 1915-2009.


Bonjour Madame said...

I'm so sorry Victoria. He sounds like a wonderful man and grandfather.


Parisienne Farmgirl said...

Hi- I just signed on and it's so late, or else I would call, not that I have your number cause my SIM card is not recognized by my new phone.
This should really be in an email but here I am-
I am so sorry to hear this news Victoria, you know how we feel about Grandpas in this family!!! I am truly sorry.
The rest of your family will be in my prayers.

Sam the Foodie said...

i am so sorry for your loss.

cityfarmer said...

You painted a very vivid picture of Grandpa Mike. The iron skillet captain and the wildflower sneaking ...I love him already

Sounds like Grandpa Mike never did meet a stranger ...someone everyone loved including his family.

We will be in prayer for Luella, that God and His peace will fill this awful void and ache in her heart. I cannot even imagine this at no matter what age.

We will pray for God to shed His grace on the whole family. You are such a light to all of them.

Victoria said...

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and prayers. I hope Grandma Lu (about ten yrs Grandpa's junior) will be ok after a time. She's not alone - her daughter is in the same city - but I think it was such a shock to her.

Thanks again... it really means a lot to me.


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