A can of nuts. That is all it took. One week after the death of my Grandfather to send me into a whirlwind of emotions. Why a can of nuts? One the man always had a can of nuts, he loved to eat them and two that particular can of nuts was the gift he and my Grandmother had given to my husband for Christmas. The last Christmas gift he would receive from him.
I got the call Saturday night, the call that no one looks forward too. The call that he had passed on, that his work on this Earth was done and he had been called home. I have been told that when my Grandmother found him, he was kneeling beside their bed. Perhaps he was saying a prayer, maybe he knew the time had come. I knew in my mind that the day would come he was indeed 91 years old, but my heart always wished it wouldn’t. We had just visited over Christmas, we never visited enough, Life gets busy sometimes. On Saturday night after receiving the call I had lots of time to sit and reflect, ironically when I got the call our power went out and didn’t come back on for hours.
I had lots of time to reflect on the life I had and memories that were made as we grew up. I can see him sitting in his chair, he loved his chair. I mean he really did, there is a spot on the floor that is worn out, that is where his feet were. Anyway he used to sing us these songs, the one that stands out in particular was called “Ticklish Reuben”. During the Christmas season he always sang “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas”. I remember the day he told his teeth out and offered them to me, so I could have an extra set of teeth. I never took them, but my sister did, I will never understand that. But I don’t need to understand it, it was their thing. My grandfather had a love of trains and horses, we spent many seasons haying and hanging out in the barn. Going for wagon rides and wondering around in the woods. He was always doing something, right up until last week. Last winter I went out to his house and I got stuck in their driveway, I ALWAYS get stuck in their driveway, I called my Dad to come help get me unstuck. But before he could get there Grandad was trotting down the driveway with his shovel and bag of ashes. By the time my Dad arrived, he had already gotten me out. Imagine that, 90 years old, if only we get to be that lucky.
While I have many, many great memories what I didn’t realize until the funeral was how many people he had touched. He was a very spiritual man, someone you could count on, or turn too. While he is gone in body, he lives on in spirit in the lives of the many people he has touched over the years.
I wasn’t going to do it, I was very nervous in fact but when we got to the funeral home and I seen him laying there, I knew I had to do it. I went to him and I said my good byes. I am so glad that I did and was able to have the opportunity. I didn’t get that with my other Grandfather and it is something that has taken me a long time to work through. He didn’t look like him, the man I knew had been so full of life and that is the man I want to remember. I heard him laughing that night as I tried to fall asleep, I swear I did. I can hear him laughing now, a sound I know that I will never forget. I am crying hard now for a man that I love but a man that I know was at the end of his life, a good life, and it was time for him to return home. I know in my heart he was ready or he wouldn’t have gone.
When we were at the funeral home after the funeral was through, my husband and I were hiding out in a room together talking. He asked if I thought we would be like them, my Grandparents. I told him, we could only be so lucky. They were married for 65 years, that’s right married for 65 years. That is almost unheard of. They had the same age difference as my Husband and I, he was 91 and she is several years younger. If we are lucky enough, we will get to live a life together for 65 years.
It will be hard to go to his house now to see his empty chair, the sweater he always wore, and his Sunday hat that is always hanging on the wall. I always hear people say May he rest in Peace. I know in my heart that he is, I know in my heart that he is where he needs to be. He is gone but will never be forgotten. Love for Always, Grandad!
Oh, My name is Ticklish Reuben From way down in old Vermont And ev’rything seems ticklish to me
I’ve been tickled by a feather I’ve been tickled by a wasp I’ve been tickled by a yellow bumblebee