(And a mashup of random photos from my little trip)
After hearing of the loss of my grandpa early this week, I grabbed a booked flight to California where I spent time with my family and attended his funeral. He passed away very unexpectedly and sudden, at a young age.
I had a lot of thinking time on my hands while I was there. And time to learn more about him and my grandma. Something I wish I would have done more of while they were still with us. A few memories kept playing over and over in my mind. Memories I would want to remember.
Like the time I gave my grandpa a plastic lighter from the dollar store for Christmas years ago. He was so excited to have it and made such a big deal, because I was so proud myself. He later put it away with all of his other five or so lighters.
Grandpa's Donald Duck voice was how I remembered him playing with us.
Tea Parties with my Grandma. She would spend the morning making tiny sandwiches and pastries while my sister and I would dress up like old 1900's stars. My grandma provided lots of tulle skirts, high heels, white gloves, scarves, hats, purses, and sunglasses for us to wear. She collected fine china and tea sets we would later sip our lemon aid from while we sat around the fancy pastel table decorated with flowers.
She taught us to be girly, glamorous, classy and to be kind.
He taught us to work hard.
I want to remember all of the times us kids played on that old wooden swing my Grandpa hung from the tree in the backyard. Hours were spent spinning around and around and swinging back and forth.
They taught us to never stop serving others.
And all of those long sunny California days spent at the clubhouse pool. We practically grew up as fish.
I want to remember their love story. From the time my grandpa threw the ball over the fence so he could meet my grandma when they were just young teenagers to the love notes my grandpa wrote.
My grandma used to send us to the tub then call us, "squeaky clean" after. She would spend a good deal of time brushing our hair whenever we asked her to. She would brush and brush until we achieved our "bunny hair" as she would call it. My sister and I sure loved our bunny hair.
I will always remember the time when my Grandpa pulled Jimmy and I aside right after we were just married, he counseled us to "never get off our honeymoon- to always remember how we felt about each other at that time." We still talk about that piece of advice and try to live up to it.
The last time I saw my Grandpa was just this past Christmas. He continued on the tradition of reading the Nativity story one last time and we all later played another crazy round of "White Elephant." Where in our family, the ultimate goal is to find the gifts my grandpa stashed the most money in. I had no idea that would be the last time I would see him. Had he not passed away, he would have been here looking at a house to buy so they could be closer to most of the family. But he was needed on the other side more than we needed him here.
I loved and still love my all my grandparents. I'm so grateful for the years I have had with them, I want to always remember the lessons they taught me and the examples they set for me and am happy that my family is sealed for eternity.