i had to say goodbye to one of my favorite people. my grandpa, my pawpaw, died last week. the funeral was yesterday. and i’ve been a mess.
pawpaw was an incredible man, and patriarch of my close nit family. all the men looked up to him for his wisdom, grace and what i like to call “grump guidance.” all the women looked up to him for his solid stature, sturdy hand and even, his pride. wether he knew it or not, he was the center of this family. the epicenter of love. and he shared so much of that love with all of us.
he was the first to meet me after i was born. he loved telling me how he snuck into the recovery room (this was way back when things were still “private” mind you), he was so excited to meet me. he was my first babysitter, a nervous babysitter, but i obviously lived to tell you about it! he took all the kids camping, hiking, biking, sharing with us his love of the outdoors. in fact, i would hike with him at mckinney falls state park up until maybe a year ago. the last time we went, we took my dog charlie with us. and every time he greeted me, it was with a warm smile and a “hey, sug!” (for you non-southern folk, read sug as shoug, short for sugar).
he loved to tell me the true love story of how he met and finally married his wife, my grandma, my meann. he saw her and just knew she was to be his wife. he would watch her at her locker, just to get a peep. and finally got his chance to spend time with her when his brother, who was dating meann’s sister, told him that meann wanted to learn to drive. he jumped at the chance and finally got a date with meann… and her mom (when pawpaw went to pick up meann for their first date, not only did she get in the car, but her mom hopped in the back seat to chaperone). meann played it cool and dated around, but pawpaw persevered and won her hand in marriage. they had been out on a date, it was a nice day so the windows to the car were rolled down. they stopped at a light and while they waited, pawpaw turned to meann and as loud as he could, yelled out, “mary ann, will you marry me?!” for all to hear. she looked at him, then straight ahead, and always the proper lady, didn’t say a thing. shortly thereafter, they were married in her parents house.
very soon after they were married, he was deployed to korea. he was a marine and positioned as a BAR man. meaning he was in the front of the line and carried a gun larger than him. he didn’t tell me many war stories (he was old fashioned, and reserved those for the guys), but he did tell me that when he was hit (he was at the battle of heartbreak ridge, when a grenade burst near him, sending shell to his leg and left ear), he grabbed hold of a tree, hugging it to stay standing, literally hanging on for dear life. where all he could think about was seeing mary ann, my meann again.
i could go on and on with stories that he told and stories we created thru the years. he was truly an amazing man that will be missed more than he would have ever imagined.
pawpaw, i love you so much and am eternally grateful that i got to have you in my life for as long as i did. you will forever live in my heart, thru my actions and in my cherished memories.
i’ll see you on the flip side.
with love, as always,