Grandpa Parker (Andy’s Grandfather) passed away last month. He was 98 years old. I had the honor of spending some time with him (twice) and cherish that time. He was an incredible person with fantastic stories, beautiful memories, and invaluable advice.
Here are a few things I will remember about Grandpa Parker:
• He and his dog “Stump” would steal watermelons from his neighbor’s yard.
• He experienced Southern California before it was overpopulated and polluted.
• When asked what his wife did that drove him crazy, he responded with, “She never did anything to drive me crazy. She was perfect.
• He loved to dance when Andy played piano. He really cut a rug to “Old Adam” by William Bolcom.
• He loved watching a DVD we made for him (of his grandkids displaying their talent).
• He carved wood brilliantly, even after his eyesight failed.
• He was very interested in when Andy and I were going to start a family.
• He loved poring over maps to understand where he was and how far he was from everyone else.
• He was married to his best friend for 73 years.
• He couldn’t remember my name but came up with some awesome substitutes.
• He enthusiastically embraced one of my family’s Christmas traditions and wore the pajamas I gave him for Christmas.
• He had a special magnifying glass with a light attached to it so he could read.
• He was dedicated and loyal to his wife his whole life. As her health faded a few years ago, he never left her side. He stayed with her until the end.
• He insisted on doing the dishes. Also, his way of doing the dishes put me to shame.
• His wonderful smile and contagious laugh.
• He was patient and maintained an optimistic outlook on life. I never heard him complain.
My only grievance is that I didn’t know more about him; I didn’t hear enough of his memories. I rejoice that he has returned to his wife. I rejoice that he is no longer suffering from old age, blindness, or any other ailment of which he never complained. I rejoice that he was ready to leave this world and did so with peace and dignity.
But I feel his loss. I mourn what the world has lost. And because of that, I still feel sorrow.
Grandpa Parker, you were an extraordinary person. Thank you for sharing your stories and self with me. It was an honor to know you, if only for a short while. I will strive to see the world as you saw it. You are not forgotten and will remain in our hearts always.