My grandfather goes by Papa.
He died yesterday.
It is horribly sad, but I am comforted by the fact that it was a short process.
Someone asked me if we were close. We lived far away from each other, so I didn't answer right away. Yannos jumped in and said, "Yes, they were very close."
There were times in my life that he and my mom were the only blood relatives that I had any contact with.
He walked me down the aisle.
He wore a TIE and a "monkey suit". Papa doesn't really do those things.
When I was a child, my Nana had a rule. Only one ice cream carton could be open at a time. It was a good rule, but difficult for picky girls who only ate chocolate ice cream when there was a gallon of strawberry left.
You would think I'd just get over it. Suck it up. Eat whatever flavor was open. But I didn't. Well, I didn't have to. Papa always rescued me. He would eat the rest of whatever flavor I was rejecting so I could open the container of my choice. Even if it meant eating a gallon of strawberry ice cream in one sitting.
I don't eat ice cream anymore, but I feel the need to buy some.
He was the first person to make my daughter laugh. I thought he was crazy for wasting his time trying to make an 8 week old laugh. He sat there for 15 minutes waving his arms and making silly faces. Then I heard it.
He deserved it. He worked hard for that chuckle.
When he went into the ICU a few weeks ago, his speech was hard to understand for most of my visit, but then very clearly he said, "You didn't come all this way to look at an old man?"
I said I would sit there all day and stare at him.
After he had a kidney removed in 2008, the nurse told him he could slowly return to all of his previous activities. That poor nurse didn't know what she was getting into.
"Can I go on my 2 mile walk?"
"Can I finish axing my stump?"
"Can I mow the yard?"
Before he was a Papa, he was a rough man. He got in a lot of fights. He was a trouble maker. He has changed a lot, but some things are hard to shake.
The ICU has a no kids policy. We were only allowed in for 20 minutes 4 times a day. One day, Zoe was out in the hallway with my mom while I went in to visit. He said,
"Where's your youngin'?"
"Out in the hall. You want me to sneak her in?"
He got a twinkle in his eye. "Yeah!"
Read the funeral follow up here.