Have you ever watched a movie where something tragic happens and the characters completely lose their shit, and in that moment, think about how overdone their reaction is just for dramatic impact?

Let me assure you it's not a matter of over dramatization. And that I'm sad to know from experience. I received the unbearable news recently that my grandfather had passed away, and it was the first time in my life I had lost a close family relative. When I received the news at the end of a conference call one morning, I literally fell to the ground screaming. I barely made it into my bedroom to crash on my bed where I continued to ugly cry for what seemed like ages. And attempted to tell my boyfriend what had happened through my screaming ugly cries. I am thankful that I had been working from home at the time, and that text messaging exists.

The moments after are a little bit of a blur. I went into a state of shock. I went to the gym every time I wanted to binge eat. Sometimes I sat on couches or floors or chairs or beds or even just in the seat of my parked vehicle just staring at walls and whatever was in front of me as if it was a profound work of art. I also started to ignore what was happening. My list-making tendencies went into overdrive. I had lists for everything -- what I needed to pack, to coordinate, to complete or hand off at work, even what I didn't have the capacity to deal with now and needed to be saved for later. I didn't talk much, and when I did tell a few people that needed to know my change in plans, I wasn't able to do it without tears. 

I only had one grandfather growing up, and he is an amazing soul. He was selfless. A comedian. A non-stop smiler. A cheesehead. A hard-ass. A Ford lover. A Veteran. A leader. I have memories of dancing in the aisles together during productions of The Nutcracker. Of seeing his Packers shareholder certificate hung as proudly in his house as a diploma would be. Of listening to a record playing The Curly Shuffle while dancing and laughing like crazy. Watching his face light up every time he danced with my grandmother. Special rides in his 64 1/2 Stang. Or the moment I related his bossiness during a family trip to that of Twink from Rainbow Brite, and how upset I was as a child when he called me Gargamel in response. I mean it's not even the same show :) And I remember the train trips to visit during weekend breaks in college. 

Family Trip to Colorado

Family Trip to Colorado

Those memories and so many more were relived when the family came together to celebrate his life. There were moments when we all broke down. There were times when a hug was given before the moment happened, just knowing that it would. There were jokes about the critiques my grandfather would have given to improve things for next time. And shots in his honor and German food and family to help comfort through the sadness that brought us all together for the first time in what seemed like forever.

His services at both the church and the Veteran's cemetery were beautiful. So many reminders of what am amazing soul he was, and how many people he helped and served. And now as I remember the amazing times, the love and courageousness he had, and the passion he always showed for life, I am happy that we were able to honor him the way he deserves.

I love you, Grandpa. You always helped show me that anything is possible. How to be a strong leader and woman. To always live a life of service and to use the gifts I have to help the world as a whole. To never be afraid to take risks and do what I feel is right in my heart.

There's a German song that goes:

"In heaven there is no beer. That's why we drink it here."

I hope that's not true, Grandpa. I hope you were with us as we raised shots in your honor, and that we still raise a glass together in the future. I was never able to make it to a Green Bay Packer's Shareholder meeting with you, but I know you'll be there too when I get a chance to go. 

Cheers!

Cheers!

Comment