We knew it was inevitable, naturally. He lived with us for eight years, until he needed more help than we could give him, at ninety-three. He loved living with us, and my sons enjoyed Grandpa’s presence in our house. They became very close to him.
When he moved to the assisted living, we still saw him every week, and took him out to lunch or dinner. He enjoyed our visits, but his memory began to get fuzzy. He talked more about when he was young, than about what was going on now. He still knew us, though.
Dad was a proud, gentle man. He always walked straight, even if arthritis bit into his shoulders. He never swore; he said it showed a lack of education, because a person had to use a swear word instead of the proper word. He didn’t smoke, though he was known to have a glass of merlot at dinner when he was younger.
He was also a patient man. I don’t recall ever seeing him angry. He helped my sister and I with our homework, taught us to ride our bikes, and taught us to drive our cars. When I got my first teaching paycheck, I wanted to buy him a garage door opener. He told me to save my money, that he was strong enough to lift a door. He never did get that opener, until he moved in with us at eighty-six.
After I had kids, my parents would come over and visit. Mom would cuddle the baby, while Dad would play with the older one, building Legos or Tinker Toys, or Lincoln Logs. When both boys were old enough, he’d push them on their trikes, and then their bikes. He’d play ball and be just as patient with them as he’d been with my sister and me. He went and saw the movie “Monsters Inc.” with my younger son, and once we owned the DVD, they watched it together, over and over and over. He never grew tired of watching it, because he would do anything for his grandchildren.
My dad had a strong faith, and his outlook on life reflected that. Right to the very end, he joked with us, and reassured us that he was ready for the next great adventure. He was the best dad a girl could have, and the best grandpa ever. And I know he could teach the angels a thing or two, on how to live their celestial lives.
We miss you, dad.