I think for me, I reached a point where I had cried on and off for so long watching my Grandparents deteriorate, when I received the news that late last night my Grampa and close friend had passed away – I didn’t cry.
My mind is a unorganized matrix of thoughts and stories…what do I share?
For me, when I learned of his passing, my frist reaction was one of gratitude that he no longer suffers.
Grampa had been sick for a long time and had a great desire to be free of pain.
His life began, not far from where it ended, in Oklahoma.
After graduating medical school from the University of Oklahoma, he started in a small general practice up in Montana. It only took a year for Grampa to decide that general practice was not for him, so he uprooted the family again to Minnesota for his fellowship in orthopedics.
When his academic training was completed, he returned to Oklahoma and began the long road of building his private orthopedic practice, leaving gramma to shoulder the burden of raising their six kids.
Some things I know about Grampa White, he loved people, he admired hard work, and he appreciated beauty.
One of the greatest things I have to thank him for is he never asked me to do a job for him that he did not already do, and he took the time to show me.
He usually started out working side by side with me, until I got the job going as well as he would do and only then did he go off to complete another job he needed done.
When I moved in with my grandparents at the age of 18, there were many things I needed learn, about life and myself.
I lacked confidence in my intellectual capabilities and grampa pushed me onto things I didn’t think I could do.
Gramps paid for my college education, so naturally he had some say in the courses I took.
He still let me take music classes, fluff courses (kickboxing, intro to rock climbing..etc), but he had me take physics and other science courses.
I always had to take between 18 to 21 credit hours a semester – otherwise, I “had too much free time.” 🙂
The semester I only had to take 11 credits to graduate with an associates degree? He made me get a job, outside of working for him and gramma, too much free time made one idle.
He wrote the checks, but I was called into his office for many “dialogues” to discuss my grades, my goals, how I was spending my time.
I can say with absolute truth that I would not have graduated from college, doing as well as I did, without that kind of mentoring.
Like many 18-23 year olds, I lacked direction and he helped guide me down the right path.
[If for you it isn’t college, or vocational training, you need to have a skill, you need to be productive. Sitting around never accomplished anything.]
I really got to know my grampa well over the years while doing housework. Grampa would come up to me, coffee in hand, and start telling me stories while I was cleaning the kitchen.
It always seemed to be a good time to chat while I was cleaning the kitchen.
He would tell me stories about his children, his life as a doctor, the army years, et cetera. Sometimes we would talk about my future. Almost every story had a teaching moment for me to glean something from – and I did – I was listening.
Years down the road, I would sometimes feel like I had become a disappointment (it was during those waitressing years after my degree when I was trying to figure out what I really wanted out of life.)
I would recall the one conversation we had about the economics course I was taking and he would say, “hey, maybe you’ll end up studying economics at Cambridge.”
I never had a desire to study economics at Cambridge, whether some else was picking up the tab or not.
When I had fully committed to becoming a wife and mother, I never heard a disparaging remark, only kindness and love from my grampa.
I try to be the best, most well rounded, wife and mother I can be. An educated wife and mother. I try to pass along the things he taught me, because that is the best way I can repay him.
Pay it forward.
Till we meet again.