Eternal Legacy of Grandparents

Have you ever just sat back and looked around only to realize you miss the people that are no longer on this earth? I know I do. My grandparents are all gone; they passed away at young ages, creating a void in my life. I was in my 20’s when they all passed. For a while I was convinced my life was just full of death. I lost my children and my grandparents within a ten-year span. During that same 10 years, my father spent 3weeks in ICU and another month in rehab, fighting the battle to save his own life due to a rare illness. My world shattered the day he went into ICU a mere few months after my grandmother died. I don’t miss my 20s one bit. They were just a decade full of pain, hardship, and mercy. However, the legacy my grandparents left behind I carry with me everyday.
My grandparents were wonderful people; I may be a tad bias though. My mother’s parents were a funny couple, one so laid back and the other ridged. My grandfather was the laid back one. I was taught at a young age to respect my grandparents. That’s a good thing because my grandfather demanded it. If I didn’t show respect, then you needed an attitude adjustment. He was gentle though, had a peaceful spirit that surrounded him. My grandmother was fairly ridged, but loving in her own way. She demanded cleanliness and effort in beauty. The words “Beauty is Pain” toss around in my head frequently. You make sure you look presentable showing effort in your appearance. She wanted the best for her grandchildren and children, and would go to the ends of the earth if needed. I have many happy memories of visits with my maternal grandparents. My grandmother was tough, a tad ridged, and hilarious. One of my favorite memories was when she came to visit my family while we were stationed in Germany. We went to this beautiful castle that was on the Rhine River to look around. I sort of went ahead everyone to get to the dining room area of the castle. I adored that part of any castle, always so grand. I was staring at the perfect long table set with pewter dishes and steins with china plates dreaming of sitting there and eating. The rope was the one thing stopping me from being the queen of the dining table. My grandma came up behind me and she said “Let’s do it, rules are meant to be broken”. She smiled and stepped right over the rope and pulled out the head chair for me! I was so excited I lifted my leg right over that rope like it wasn’t even there. She sat down opposite of me and we pretended to have a grand ole meal! It was absolutely awesome! Then my mom and father along with grandpa walked in the room and were just staring at us in disbelief. It was absolutely fantastic; I was the queen of that dinner table for few minutes thanks to my grandma. I have many stories of Grandma teaching me that if you want something bad enough don’t be stopped by small things, overcome them.
My grandfather was a chemist and owned an aerosol packing company; I adored going to visit him at work before he retired. I even got to hijack the factory and make spray paint along with various products with him. His desk was always piled high with papers, though he always knew where to locate what he needed at the time. He was a tall man, a man of integrity, intelligence and grace. I always looked up to him he was a quintessential part of teaching me how a man treats his family. He also taught my father what fatherly love was like, and that integrity was essential to life. My grandpa was so intelligent and if he didn’t know something he would research everything about it to learn. If you wanted to know who made the best steak in the area (or anything for that matter), he would know. He loved bread; he has even said “life is too short to have bad bread.” What a great man! I absolutely live by that today! If you needed to know what car to buy he would find all the stats for you, and let you know the best one out there. He was so funny about it; don’t know something you call grandpa because he will know. Now that he is gone, my dad has taken his place in that, and it’s a beautiful thing. My grandpa had a secret that came out close to his death. He told my mom with me sitting there that she was his “favorite,” he loved her so much. Now grandpa absolutely loved his other children, but he had a spot in his heart that was just for my mom. He needed her to know it before he passed, how proud he was of her, and how much he loved her. It was a beautiful moment, I am so happy I got to witness.
My paternal grandfather was a conundrum to say the least. I adored him at a very young age; he always doted on me. I was absolutely his princess, and the apple of his eye. The odd part comes into play when one realizes that he treated my grandmother differently than he treated me. He would bellow her name through the house to have her bring him something, or do something for him. If she was in the middle of doing something and he wanted coffee it didn’t matter, she would stop to deliver it to him. She loved him and he was the only man she knew. They married when she was only 15 years old., and she didn’t know anything other than being with him. When he passed in my teen years her heart broke. My Grandfather wasn’t the best father in the world; my dad came along 10 years after his oldest brother and 8 years after his second brother. He was a lovely surprise for my grandmother. My dad was her favorite for sure, for a very good reason.
My grandfather wasn’t much of a Dad to him; he didn’t really want anything to do with another child. So Dad was my grandmother’s sole responsibility. If he broke his arm and came to his dad the response was go find your mother. My father vowed when he had children to never treat them this way and to make sure they knew he loved them. I can honestly say my Dad has succeeded. I have never questioned his love for me. When I came into this world my grandfather set foot in church to tell my grandmother, he never went to church I was a big deal. I loved sitting on my grandpa’s lap while we counted coins together. I honestly had no idea what I was doing but that’s ok, I just played with the coins. My grandfather was a businessman, and he loved to make money. So he was teaching me the value of money from a young age. We would hold hands and walk down to the hot dog vender and get lunch then go across the street to the pet store. I loved the pet store, they had exotic animals to love on. We then went to the bank, I adored the bank. It was large with marble floors and full of nice people that would give me lollypops. I was very small around 3 or 4 years old when I would do this with my grandpa. The memories never fade though. He owned a clothing store and I would send messages up through the tubes that carried things from floor to floor in the old store. He would always send a reply and dollar bills; what child wouldn’t love that?
My grandmother was a kind gentle woman. She loved roses, birds and the Lord. I can still hear my grandmother singing in the early morning. She never slept past 4 am, and she was ok with that. She sang or played the piano to pass the time. I used to get up early when we stayed with her and go down to sit with her, listing to her play and sing old hymns. I have never known anyone that was as gentle as my grandmother. She has this kind spirit that would elude joy. There were countless times I would go out into the garden to be with her and she would teach me about roses. She would talk about their sweet smell and the size of their blooms. She always made me feel loved. We would sit and talk about the past family members; she wanted me to know where I came from. I always appreciated this fact. She would tell me endless stories of my Dad when he was a child. His rebellious spirit she loved so much. She was always so proud of him, who he was, what he did in his life to change it. My memories abound with beautiful moments spent in silence just listing to her.
Grandparents like mine were truly blessings in my life; they are missed every single day. We must learn to treasure those around us before it’s too late. Life can be short; every single day is a gift. That may sound cliché, but I promise that it’s the truth. One day here the next day not, if anything my 20’s taught me the value of treasuring time with those we love.

2 thoughts on “Eternal Legacy of Grandparents

  1. I love this!

    You and grandma crashing the rope (lol), dining queens, indeed! As for grandpa, I love bread too. You are so lucky. I lost my grandparents, maternal and paternal, while still in elementary school. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to experience their space as I became an adult.

    You know, those tubes brought back memories too. I don’t remember seeing them in stores but, as a kid, I loved going to the bank with my mom because she always used the drive-through window, fill out whatever form she needed and it was so exciting to see those tubes being sucked up in the machine. When the tellers finished her transactions (yes, there were live tellers working the drive-through back in the day), those tubes would swoop back to her.

    They’re all gone now, my parents and grandparents, but the memories linger. Thank you for writing/sharing this with us.

    • Thank you so much 🙂 Grandparents are indeed a gift. My heart hurts for you that your parents and grandparents have passed, but through you they live on.
      It’s so funny as children how little things like going to the bank filled us with joy! Never loose those memories, keep them safe in your heart. Sending hugs and much appreciation your way. ❤️

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