My grandpa died this morning. His health had been in decline over the past year. Truly, it had been in decline for many years. When my grandma died almost 10 years ago (on March 18th), his health started to fade. He had dementia. He was in a nursing home. The clever devil kept escaping on the staff, even when they tried keeping him in a wheelchair.
There’s a lot of things I didn’t know about him until recently. He was a Korean War veteran. There was nothing in his home which indicated he’d ever even looked at a uniform, much less was in one. I never got to ask him why that was the case.
I also didn’t know he never forgave my dad for running off and joining the Army. Whatever his personal beef with my dad was, he didn’t let his grandkids know about it. As far as I knew, their relationship was strained by distance, not anything else. I’ve known a lot of people who didn’t have grandparents who were considerate like that. When their grandfathers had a problem, they threw tantrums. Everyone heard about it. Even random ass strangers. Not my grandpa. His stubbornness meant he wouldn’t let anything get between him and handling his shit.
My grandpa made cheese in a cheese factory. He worked all kinds of odd jobs in the 50’s and 60’s to support his family. He built his own damn house. Yeah, his own house. It’s still standing. Someone else even liked it and bought it. The guy could do things that make people Internet famous these days.
I am sad that he’s gone. He was my last living grandparent. Dementia robbed him of knowing his surviving family still loved him. That still didn’t stop him from kicking ass and chewing bubblegum. Okay, he never chewed bubblegum. I never got to know him like most people get to know their grandparents. He always lived a thousand miles away.
I am happy that he’s no longer suffering. The very definition of bittersweet. Dead people do not have to endure the nonsense of the living. He had a good run. He has people that love him, in spite of his mistakes and shortcomings. I can’t say that about many other people. Nothing else can hurt him now.
I will miss my grandpa like I miss all of my grandparents.