saying goodbye...

I'm not good at goodbyes, or truly expressing how I feel in a single moment of time.  It takes time and thought to really understand my feelings, or else they come out in a blurting, jumbled mess.  I thought it would be simpler to write them down.

Yesterday my grandpa passed away.  It wasn't unexpected, but it was still sad.  After my grandma passed away when I was a teenager, I didn't see as much of grandpa as I had previously.  But as a child, I saw a lot of him and my grandma.  Reflecting on his life and my siblings and I growing up knowing him has brought up a lot of memories.  A lot of emotions come up, especially when I think of my grandma.  She was very dear to me and my sister and brothers, and we have a lot of good memories of her and grandpa and their farm in northern Indiana.  So the most logical thing I can think of to do, to properly pay my respects, is to list some of these memories here.

*The humming from grandpa's dentist office, and the smell of wood floors there.
*A styrofoam cup, half-full of coffee, with lipstick marks on it.
*A warm sweater hanging on an an office chair that spun around and around.
*Playing on the typewriter in grandma's office, and flipping through her rolodex.
*Leaning back in the dentist chair as grandpa checked for cavities.
*Grandma leaning against the door to the examination room, talking with my mom and dad while us kids got our exams.
*The slippery, wooden, curving staircase in the farmhouse.
*A bookshelf where many an afternoon was spent reading as adults talked downstairs.
*The smell of crackling bacon as grandpa stood making breakfast for us grandkids.
*Playing skip-bo on the farm table.
*Dressing up in grandma's jewelry and putting on her lipstick at her vanity.
*Hannah and I sitting with grandma watching Jaws and hearing her shudder at the scary parts.
*A bee sting, screaming, running to the farmhouse, and grandma running beside us.
*A deep smell of perfume as we were squeezed into a hug
*Sitting nervously on stage with my violin, and finding my grandparents in the crowd smiling at me
*Tweed jackets, and khaki pants
*A mole on a cheek, and a comment of "That's my beauty mark, like Marilyn Monroe."
*The scratchy, sweaty days making hay with grandpa at the wheel of his tractor.
*Riding in a green pickup truck on a wide bench.
*Painting a wooden fence with Hannah and grandma walking out to take our picture
*Watching bats fly in and out of the barn.
*Black angus cows.
*Hunting for mushrooms on chilly days.
*Hikes, forts, games, all in the woods for hours on end.
*Warmth from a wood burning stove.
*Whitewater rafting in Montana and watching grandpa smile as we paddled along the river.
*Wearing socks in an big pool with a rough bottom.
*A basement, so scary to little eyes, we barely dared going down there.
*Tubing down the toboggan run.
*Watching a truck take an evening drive, grandpa driving and grandma sitting beside.
*An old, out of tune piano in a sitting room.
*Monday night family dinners around a farm table.
*Postcards from Hawaii, Montana, Mexico, and other travels.
*A Bible verse made out in small letters on the back of an envelope.
*Pictures of grandpa holding his catch from fly fishing.
*Grandma's dancing eyes, and the crinkles at the corners.

Sometimes memories don't come as easily, and I shut my eyes and try hard to remember.  I am afraid I will forget one, or it will somehow slip away.  I am thankful for the ones I have though, and I am thankful to have known my grandparents, as some people aren't as fortunate.  As we all say final farewells this weekend, I will mentally take it all in, as we take final walks around the farm, as we stand at grandma's gravestone once again, as grandpa is laid to rest beside her, as family meets together in places where memories were made and years passed.

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