Remembering and Letting Go

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We don’t have a very big family, on either side. My mom is one of 3 children, and so is my dad. I have no cousins on dad’s side, and I have 3 (technically) on mom’s–and none of them live close-by. Both of my mom’s parents have passed away, and before now, I only had Grandpa on dad’s side. So, when family functions and holidays roll around, the two sides combine and we all celebrate together. It’s really nice. And so, I really wasn’t that surprised when I found out that the Spaldings were coming to Grandpa Sullivan’s funeral this week (I figured they would…why wouldn’t they?). I was happy they were. But it really touched me this morning at breakfast when mom’s brother Bob asked about Grandpa’s funeral and then added, “I’ll really miss him.” I guess I didn’t realize how often Bob and Grandpa were together. But, they’re both such social people and they had gotten along so well.

Grandpa was a great man. I don’t think I ever heard him speak ill of another person. He was always very calm and mild. And when he started losing his sight, he became a very affectionate man, always hugging us, just for more social contact. Jamie put together a lot of old photos and news articles of him. They were mostly from the time when he was serving in the Navy. There was a letter he wrote to his parents in 1945 while he was stationed in Long Beach, California. He was thanking them for the money they had wired to him, and he was telling them he hoped to be home soon. He ended the letter by commenting on the high prices of the hotel rooms, but then remarked, “Well, I guess just about everything is expensive these days.”

We all sat around last night looking at old photos and talking about him. It was good, I think, to talk about it. Dad’s getting by pretty well. The first couple of days he was hit pretty hard, but I think he’s settled with it now. He asked me if I’d like to do one of the readings at the funeral. I said no, and later explained that I didn’t think I’d be able to make it through. He told me that he didn’t want to do one for the same reason. Dad and I are more similar than I realize sometimes.

 Sorry for the sort of downer post. But I needed to write this.

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