Last fall we lost my Grandpa unexpectedly. I haven’t shared about it because the bigger the news the more time I need to process & put together my thoughts. But today I find myself thinking about the man my kids called Big Grandpa (since he was older than my dad, who they affectionately called Little Grandpa), the man who made me feel important by letting me sit at the adult’s dinner table on holidays when I was still a child.
I remember our last phone call. I’d brought up a challenge Michael had (I don’t even remember what it was) & my grandpa, always the engineer, talked about how when you come to a problem you find a way to solve it. You don’t give up. You work through it. That approach to life was engrained in my Dad & in me. You might say it’s in my Anderson DNA. I’m grateful for the good meals we shared together (sometimes at El Torrito or old town San Diego), the many palm tree Christmases we enjoyed in his beautiful home, the gorgeous books he often gifted me (a good balance of science texts & classic fairy tales), and for his continual support of my education.
He came out for my high school graduation even though I’m sure traveling at that point was hard. How special it was to have him there, sitting by me as my Dad sat on the other side for my fancy graduation dinner, surrounded by their support.
It was also incredibly special to see him interact with my kids. We spent the little savings we had to go visit him last spring. I felt like if we didn’t, we would miss the opportunity. We bought a new-to-us van that could make the trip & I drove with the kids to CA to see him. He didn’t remember much of his full life but he still LOVED. He gave us big bear hugs & told us family was the most important thing. He thanked us repeatedly for coming so far. We had many visits in those few days. After each one the kids did an audio recording of what he’d taught them.
I’m sharing to encourage you to connect while you can – tell stories, take pictures & to share the lessons life has taught you. Some day you will be missed. But the heartbreak is less when there are meaningful photos & memories. So don’t miss those memories. Take the time to make them!
Love you, Big Grandpa. I hope you & Daddy are at peace together.