Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Strong Silent Type

Don’t worry about the future;

or worry,

but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. (Everybody's free to wear sunscreen)

It was more like 9:30 am on what would become an idle Tuesday.

My Grandpa died last night.  
Suddenly and unexpected. 
It's still rather shocking.

I've come to the keyboard countless times today to try and figure out how to write.  I feel I NEED to write.  I don't know what to write because I don't know what I feel.  I think my husband is right though; sometimes you have to write to know what you feel.  
Wise words, Love.  Wise words. 

Memories float in and out of my mind- but I wish I could hold on to some of them long enough to see what they are. To re-live them if only for a moment:
The money Grandpa gave me when I was heading off to college.  It was HIS money- HIS way of showing me he was proud of what I was doing.  
The broad, soft-bristled hair brush that smells like him. 
The fresh, long pieces of chalk he would get me and my brother from the top shelf in the kitchen. I'd usually drop mine and half of it would roll through the cracks in the porch. 
The critter books he would sit on the floor and read for hours on end.  I loved to listen to him read.
The duct tape marks on the ceiling in his bathroom left over from when he'd cover up the skylight while developing pictures or film. 
His telescopes. 
The lawnmower that lives in a doghouse.
His cat that hates everyone but him. Brown Shoes. Or Ten Speed- I can't remember which. 
The smell of his cigarettes.
His soft knit beanie rolled up on his head.
The sunglasses on the table.
Plaid shirts and faded Levi's. 
Grandpa's spot on the couch and at the table. 
His little black battery operated radio. I don't know what he always listened to but it was always on the end table.
Watching CNN with no sound.  I think he liked to read the ticker tape at the bottom with the headlines.  Why bother with closed captioning when it can never keep up with the news?
Arguments in the front room.  Though my Grandma always says that arguments are German past-time. 
Sitting in the shade of the Mulberry tree visiting.
His dentures I was always too afraid to peek at even though I knew where he kept them in the bathroom at night. 
Hale Bopp Comet slides that he took himself. 
Black and white photos from his time in the Navy and early years of my Mom's childhood.

Little things.

But they're really the big things.

He didn't talk much (unless you got him started on religion or politics or science) but that was ok.  
You could just sit in a room with him and smile and it was ok.  You didn't have to make small talk.  You could just BE.

I'm sad that I won't get any more of his hugs.  My grandpa was a tall, lanky man, but he sure gave the best hugs.  Tight.  Strong.  Let you know that you're loved.  

We all have faults.  Sure. We're human.  But I sure will miss my Grandpa and I know I'm not the only one.  

Grandma and Grandpa at my little brother's high school graduation. June 2006


  1. ....and there's your beautiful eulogy for the funeral that may or may not happen. You are a brilliant writer, Maggie, and the description of your grandfather paints such an incredible picture of who he was, through your eyes, over time. You should type this out and sent it to famiy members in a card as your own tribute to him. Again, I am so sorry for your loss :( Love you girl

  2. This is so beautiful, Maggie. I am so sorry to hear about your Grandpa. He sounds like a great guy. I love the link at the beginning :)

    A (((BUG HUG))) from me to you.

  3. I love this -- not that your grandpa died, that sucks -- but everything else about this post.

    I obviously don't know anything about your grandpa except what you've told us, but I'm sitting here formulating my thoughts, I have a portrait of a person who has become very real, right down to the smell of his cigarettes (and I don't mean that in a bad way).

    And, as strange as this may sound, I have a weird feeling that this person, whom I've never met, has somehow affected my life. One step further: he probably has. He clearly had a hand in shaping the Maggie we know, and Maggie (and Sean, of course) has definitely affected us -- for the better.

    We send our love and our prayers to you guys, especially in what, I'm sure, has already been a very emotional month.

    And to Sean: Thank you for your quote. I expect it to find it's way into our blog. I do that. I write to know how I feel. I think I just did with this novel of a comment. I have always known that I do it, but I've never been able to explain it so succinctly.

    Missing you!

    Michael and Christina

  4. I'm sorry Maggie. It's especially hard to lose someone when it's so unexpected. You have beautiful memories of your grandpa. The details you remember are incredible.

  5. Maggie, I'm sorry to hear about your grandpa.

  6. I'm sorry, Maggie.

    I like what you wrote about worrying, though. You are an excellent writer. :)

  7. That was so beautiful and I second what everyone else says about what a picture you have painted with words. Hugs.

  8. Sweet Maggie, thank you for this beautiful tribute to Grandpa. He loved you BIG.

  9. I LOVE the description you had with your memories.... I still miss my grandparents that have moved on even though it's been years. They have such a strong place in our hearts :) Luckily we get to be with them again, or I don't know if my heart could take it :)

  10. Dear Maggie, I'm new in the blogging world so am way behind in catching up in reading all your blog entries. This is one I have to comment on though because you did a very beautiful job describing my father. I was living in his home during a time period when he provided daycare for you and your older brother while you're parents worked and it was a delight watching him interact with you. He did love you very much and I am glad you got to know your Grandfather so well. Thank you for writing about him. Sincerely, Michelle

  11. Thanks Aunt Michelle. I still miss him a lot. I bet you do too.