When I last left this space, I had expected that my next post would be about our trip to Germany to see the Christmas markets. I had planned to write about sparkling Christmas lights, stalls of decorations, beautiful mugs of hot wine, and enough Christmas spirit to last a lifetime. I did indeed go to Germany, but what happened next was not a part of my plans and this post is one that I never wanted to have to write.
Just a few short hours after arriving in Germany, I got a call from my dad. My grandpa had passed away unexpectedly.
I left Germany the next day, made arrangements to take off work, and flew home as quickly as I could, broken-hearted.
My grandpa was one of the kindest, most generous, and hardest working people I have ever known. Even as a child, I was always in awe of the way he would help those in need – even total strangers – without a second thought. He was always lending people tools and going over to help friends and relatives fix their cars and houses (he was a brilliant handyman). He was also incredibly thoughtful and fun to be around. My sister and I spent a lot of time with him as kids – especially in the summers when we would stay with our dad. He retired young, so he was always willing to watch us while my dad was at work. Some of my favorite childhood memories come from that time.
I will never forget scary movie marathons, watching TNT early in the morning, making crazy milkshakes, or driving the riding lawnmower. I will also never forget learning about collecting coins, trips to the Kansas State Fair, and all of the amazing things my grandpa built – especially the giant Jenga he made for my wedding day.
My heart breaks for everyone who knew him because of the wonderful person he was – his absence will be felt by so many. These last couple of weeks have been so strange and so hard.
I thought that going back home would give me some peace and some closure, but even there, it didn’t seem real. I kept expecting to hear him burst through the back door after some work in one of his shops or to hear him laughing in the living room after a refill of iced tea. It just doesn’t seem possible that he is gone.
Perhaps this is a testament to his ability to leave an impression on everyone he met. Perhaps his presence still shines in the love that everyone had for him.
This is going to be a tough time for my family. Peace to all those who are grieving this holiday season.