March is really not a good month for me/my family.
Six years ago this month, I lost my uncle Jim.
Four years ago this month, my grandpa passed away.
And last night, Paul’s uncle Marty died. He had been battling a rare bone cancer. This was an “expected” loss, but a loss nonetheless. The sadness comes in waves when I stop and think about having to bury Marty next week. His face comes to mind at times, smiling like he always was, and I feel my stomach drop knowing that we won’t be able to see him again. You will be very deeply missed, Uncle Marty.
Grandpa’s funeral was last Monday. As Fr. Schaab said during the service, “St. Patcrick’s Day…an appropriate day for a funeral for a man named Sullivan.” The funeral was very nice. A lot of people came, including several of grandpa’s friends from Friendship Manor (the assisted living facility where he lived). The burial was nice as well. It was at the Arsenal. It was a military service–21-gun salute, Taps, and the presentation of the flag. It was touching, and I really only cried while Taps was being played, and that was mostly because it was hard to see my brother so sad.
I think the most touching moment surrounding Grandpa’s death and funeral was the card we received from his friend, Don. Grandpa and Don had been close friends ever since they were little boys. Don just recently moved in to Friendship Manor, and it was nice for the two of them to be there together. The card that Don sent had a nice note with a few childhood memories with Grandpa, and he signed it “An old friend.” And on the check he sent for a memorial donation, the “Memo” line read “For: My Friend.”
I’m still waiting for the full force of Grandpa’s death to hit me. It’s been a gradual acceptance process, which in the end may be better for me. In any case, I really appreciate the love, prayers, and kind words I’ve received from everyone. It’s been a hard week and a half, but knowing you’re all praying for us has helped immensely. So, thank you.
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.
Everything I was complaining about today (bad supervisors, grades, too much homework, lack of sleep) seems rather stupid now.
For those who don’t know, my grandfather passed away earlier today. Please keep my family and my grandfather in your prayers.