Grandpa S.

I’ve been struggling with how to write this post since Thursday afternoon, when I learned that my father’s father had passed away in his sleep the night before. I wasn’t ready, though I should have been. He’d been in and out of the hospital several times in recent months but, somehow, I thought there would be more time. I will always regret that I wasn’t a better granddaughter to him but am grateful to have been able to see him only a couple of weeks ago and tell him that I loved him. I didn’t get to know him as well as either of us would have liked. He must have had a tough time growing up because he never spoke of his childhood or family from his past. It was as if his life began with Grandma and he often lamented that we lived so far away, wishing his children and grandchildren lived within walking distance so he could see us more than a few times a year.

He was a business owner who practiced affirmative action before it existed. He believed strongly in having at least basic mechanical skills and proudly took me to the hardware store when I moved out on my own to buy me an orange toolbox and a basic set of tools, all of which I still own and use. He was a master napper throughout his life, an endless source of endearing entertainment for the rest of us. He enjoyed gumshoe detective stories and even tried his hand at writing them in his retirement. Grandpa was a man who lived to work, who needed to feel useful to those he loved. If I learned little else from him, I understand that need very deeply and wish I had given him more opportunities to fulfill it.

We used to talk about the work I was doing on the basement, ever so slowly turning it into a more useful space. A couple of years ago he gave me the plans for his workbench when I mentioned I wanted to turn the back end of the basement into a workshop. I hope to build it finally this year, so I will always have a useful space from him, in honor of him.