Echoes Of The People We Miss

"The Favorite" - Grandfather and Gra...

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Two weeks from now everyone will be talking about St. Patrick’s Day but not me. It is my grandfather’s birthday, except this year he won’t be around to celebrate it with us.

He would have been 98 and had my grandmother not died he would still be here now. There is no doubt in my mind that grandpa died of a broken heart. They were married for 76 years and friends for 85.

Hadn’t really thought about his birthday yet but we had a school event that dealt with genealogy and his picture was part of a slide show. Actually all of my grandparents were in it and I couldn’t help but think about how strange it is to me to not have any left.

When I wrote The People We Miss I still had two living grandparents. When I wrote about Four Generations and a Wedding I was down to just one grandfather but I carried the others along with me. They all had their places in my heart.

It feels so surreal to me to think they are all gone now.

When I stood in the tux shop last summer I watched my grandfather marvel over my son. That boy of mine didn’t like putting on tux but I gave him a look and he stopped squirming. I couldn’t have been more proud, especially when I saw the joy in grandpa’s eyes.

But I also saw the pain and when I helped him put his jacket on I knew that he would tell me about how much he missed grandma. And I knew that there was a good chance that he wouldn’t hang on for the wedding. I am not angry with him for that. I can’t imagine what it means to be with someone for that long and not have them.

Changing of the Guard

When grandpa died it marked the end of that generation. They are all gone now. All the members of that generation in my family have moved on to wherever it is we go and the rest of us moved up. My parent’s generation has become the old guard and mine is just…older.

There is silence now that reminds me of endless blue skies. I can’t complain of them having had their lives cut short because they didn’t and they weren’t. But I can say that I miss them for a million different reasons not the least of which is I have lost my cheering squad.

My grandparents were always among my biggest supporters and I always knew it. They loved listening to me talk about my life and always wanted to know what was going on with me.

I noticed their absence today for another reason. A big opportunity presented itself. It is the kind of thing that could be exceptionally significant and something that I would have told them about. My grandfathers and I would have spoken about it in a hushed tone, can’t speak too loudly for fear of losing it.

Traveling Jack May Ride Again

Can’t say much more about it than I already have but am willing to share that I am excited. Excited and nervous, because…well I don’t want to jinx myself so I’ll be quiet. No need to put the cart in front of the horse.

So let’s take a moment for me to compose some thoughts. While I do that feel free to open a tab to check out the following songs:

When The Levee Breaks– Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
Battle of Evermore – Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) – Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
I won’t back down – Johnny Cash
Maybe I’m Amazed– Wings

And we’re back. Spent a few minutes cruising through the blog and stumbled onto The Mother Of All Blog Posts Told By A Father and had to smile. I am consistent in my themes and messaging here.

But it is also a reminder to me that I need to continue to bear down and fight harder for the things I want. I need to continue to tell the people I care about they are important, significant and of value. I need to keep pushing to live my dreams and not dream my life.

And now it is time for bed. As I drift off to sleep I am going to think about the people I miss and tell them about the opportunities that have presented themselves to me. Wonder if I’ll dream about them.

Do you think that we get messages from “beyond?”

Do you believe in destiny? Is life a combination of destiny and free will?

Will the 7 year-old boy who made my daughter cry be smart enough not to really piss her off or will she rip his head off? He is playing with fire and not because I wanted to deal with him myself.

Well, we’ll have to save that story for later. It is almost 1 am and your favorite grumpy dad blogger is off to the land of ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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  1. Amy Turner March 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    It is more difficult to be the ones left behind to grieve our beloved but it’s the way it is. Our time, too, will come, and our children and grandchildren down the line will feel the same way we do. But we’ll always have the memories to cling to and I know, these can ease the pain in time.

  2. Chopperpapa March 5, 2012 at 5:24 am

    76 years married, unbelievable. What an amazing life he lived. A tremendous celebration.

    • Jack March 5, 2012 at 10:21 am

      All of my grandparents were great but my maternal grandparents deserve special mention for their relationship.

      I didn’t realize how incredible it was until I got older.

  3. Hajra March 4, 2012 at 8:01 am

    You have just the way with words. As for grandparents, I never met any except my dad’s mum and I know what you mean by how lovely it is to have them around. Though we lost her in 2003 to paralysis; I still feels she is watching over. Yes, I don’t believe in messages from beyond; but many people have experiences it and it makes no sense to just let those messages go. There might be something to it.

    I don’t know whether to believe in destiny or free will actually. We end up making the wrong decisions (free will) and then when we get stuck, we blame it on destiny. How does that work now?

    • Jack March 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      I don’t know whether to believe in destiny or free will actually. We end up making the wrong decisions (free will) and then when we get stuck, we blame it on destiny. How does that work now?

      When I read my horoscope I have a simple rule of thumb I follow. If it is positive than I assume it is 100% accurate and if it is negative it is all made up.

      • Hajra March 5, 2012 at 9:49 am

        I don’t read horoscopes; I figured it said wrong when it told me that love will find me the year I got dumped; the time it told me that success is just around the corner and I lost my job and for the fact that so many Librans around the globe just cannot be having the same version of the day! 😉

        Pessimist much? 🙂

  4. Jessica March 3, 2012 at 9:07 am

    This post reminds me so much of my own grandfather, he was a true Irishman. I am so happy he got to meet his first great granddaughter and it gives me great comfort to think he is taking care of my daughter who is, no doubt sitting on his lap.

    • Jack March 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      Hi Jessica,

      That is a sweet story and a very sweet image. I always picture my grandparents hanging out together, looking out for each other and all the others we care about.

  5. Betsy Cross March 3, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Oh, and good luck with your new adventure!

  6. Betsy Cross March 3, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I sat and talked with my mom last night for two hours. We laughed a lot about how I talk and write about death on my blog and that I’ve always been told to Shush! because death makes people uncomfortable. I watched my mom and treasured that conversation. She shifted uneasily a lot because of her aches and pains. I will miss her as my cheerleader, too. I have hope that I;ll see her again, but that doesn’t mean my grief will be any less. I may joke about death, but maybe that’s because I know we can’t beat the clock. And if you can’t beat it? Enjoy it! But for now I’m enjoying every second of my time left with my parents!

    • Jack March 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Betsy,

      Can’t beat it, but we can slow it down a bit or at least I like to think we can.

      More than anything I like to focus on enjoying the time we have because that is one area we have control over.

  7. Jens P. Berget March 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Jack,

    I miss my cheering squad as well. They’re almost all gone, only my parents left. I think about death (and life) a lot. And I always end with, I want there to be more than what meets the eye. I don’t want them to just die, and that’s it. I want my kids to meet them, not just via my stories.

    Your story is very touching, and even though I have no idea how it feels to have someone that close and someone you’ve known for 85 years die, I have many examples of people who have died just after their wife or husband. It seems that they’ve lost the passion for life, and that all they want is to meet that person again.

    We need to enjoy every single day on earth with our loved ones, that’s it.

    • Jack March 3, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Hi Jens,

      You touch upon something that is important. My kids got to know my grandparents and I was thrilled about that.

      It might not have been the way that I knew them, but they still knew them and that made me quite happy.

      You are right about enjoying life now, because you just never know.

  8. Leon Noone March 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    G’Day Jack,
    In the film “Network” the crusty old journalist and newsreader, -was he played by Peter Finch?-says to the young ambitious up and comer played by Faye Dunaway, “You don’t understand. Death has lines on its face for me.”

    This year I lost the last of three beloved elder “friends and mentors” I’ve had in my adult life. I’m now the eldest among close friends and relatives.

    Don’t be sad on the anniversary of your grandfather’s passing. He choose a great day to leave for a start. Celebrate your good fortune in having him in your life for so long.

    All of my wife’s grandparents died before she was born. Same with my mother’s parents.
    And both my father’s parents died before I was five years old.

    Have a party Jack. Sounds as if your grandfather would like that.

    I count myself as extraordinarily fortunate to have been influenced by those three “friends and mentors” I mentioned.


    Best Wishes

    • Jack March 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Hi Leon,

      My grandparents didn’t fear death. They didn’t go looking for it, but they didn’t fear it. It had just become part of their lives.

      My “last” grandfather told me that aside from losing my grandmother it was hard to say goodbye to all of his other friends, but that it was just a part of the cycle.

      We probably will have some sort of party in his honor. I am not grateful for all that he taught me and if I am sad it is because I miss learning with and from him.

      But thinking about him makes me smile so…

      Anyway, hope you are having a good Saturday.

  9. Julie March 2, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I am very excited for you!

    I only have my Dad and inlaws left and they are in their 70s, so…

    Of COURSE they hear you from beyond. You have only to imagine them in your mind to bring them right to you. Have I taught you nothing? lol They’re there, brother – believe it. I know you know it, anyway.

    It’s almost all Free Will. Well, you direct pretty much everything, but then everyone else has free will as well. Plus you might have some impediments that hold you back i.e. blocks and restrictions or past life karma etc but the jury’s still out on that one until I understand it better.

    In the meantime, carry on dreaming and acting and watch the magic roll on in.

    • Jack March 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

      I love that last sentence because I believe it.

      It is long strange trip as the Dead used to sing but most of the time it has been all sorts of fun.

      So many questions and so many opportunities.

  10. March 2, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I hope whatever this great opportunity is, that it comes through for you. I also hope your daughter doesn’t take any crap from anyone. I kind of trust she won’t.

    • Jack March 2, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Hi Bridget,

      Thank you. We shall see, trying to just take it step by step.

      My daughter is a typical kid. I can’t say that she doesn’t take crap because she does but she has her limits and is usually willing to push back.

      It is hard sometimes watching the kids learn and figure out how to deal with life, but it is important for them to do it.

      In the meantime, this little boy is lucky he is truly little because were he 15 I really would visit him.

      Wouldn’t touch him, but he doesn’t know that. 😉

  11. Dan March 2, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Hey Jack,

    Excellent post – really hits home. In addition to losing my grandparents, I also lost my parents – so really feel what you are saying. Your line “lost my cheering squad” is SO true. Man was my Mom the best cheering squad ever. I would downplay some good news, but once I talked to her I felt like the smartest guy alive. Of course there are a million things to miss, but losing your cheering squad – that is a big one.

    Good luck with your “thing”!

    • Jack March 2, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Hi Dan,

      I think that as parents we get so caught up in the duties of the day we forget about that cheering squad and how nice it was.

      Everyone needs someone in their corner.

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