It’s been a few years now since my grandfather passed away. It came as a great shock to our family when it happened. One day he was perfectly fine and the next day the doctors thought he had had a stroke. He went to the hospital and they put him on medication that made him go to sleep. And he never woke up.
I remember sitting by his hospital bed with my grandmother praying for some miracle that his squeezing of my hand was not simply a reflex but was him actually hearing me when I was talking.
My grandfather stood over 6 foot tall next to my grandmother who barely made 5’4″. He had always been a strong man. With hands like steel and calluses from working in the lumberyard. He was the epitome of strength in our family and we all thought he was invincible. He was diagnosed with dementia shortly before he passed away. Being in the industry I am in, working with seniors, I knew exactly what that meant.
It was hard to watch a man so strong and so stoic lose his memories. It was hard to see his once bright eyes become glazed over in confusion. But it was even harder knowing that we had to let them go.
And as always I took to pen and paper to express my emotions. I read this poem his funeral, fighting back tears, I felt like it just had to be said. Because while death is a very sad circumstance for all of us left here behind, it is also celebration of life that carries on into a place where there is no pain and no suffering. And what we are left with, are memories.
Remember Fonder Times
I prayed for God to bring me peaceful words to say
Reasons for my questions why he has taking you away
This man who seemed invincible to a wide eyed little girl
Why is a man who stood so tall and strong taken from our world
Then I felt an angel near, though one I could not see
Standing right beside me sit down to comfort me
Bring to me some solemn word but answers I did not find
He gently whispered in my ear and placed a calloused hand on mine
He said feel no guilt in laughter, I know how much you care
Feel no sorrow when you smile, because I am not here to share
He told me, talk about the good times, the memories that we had
The days we spent together, and that will make me glad
And so I close my eyes, and saw him fishing in the sea
Driving that old worn-out truck, as happy as he could be
Working in the garden, on a Sunny summers day
Giving us a stern hard look when our manners ran astray
Blasting loud that old TV for wrestling on Monday night
Picking us up with those calloused hands, making everything all right
Sitting on his sturdy knee, no matter young or old
Rocking with his pipe on that old front porch watching life unfold
And every time I close my eyes the memories flood in
And I can feel his tender touch as gentle as the wind
So as we say goodbye today, remember what he asks
Remember him in fonder times because those memories forever last