November 15, 1935 - August 24, 2014
Yesterday morning, my Papa lost his battle to cancer. It's unreal that just 51 weeks ago, he was in the hospital over Labor Day weekend for some irregular heartbeats (a-fib), that in turn became internal bleeding, that in turn led to have his kidney removed, that in turn led to a cancer diagnosis in mid-October. In January he started chemotherapy, his first of three rounds. But all that medical nonsense aside, cancer is a bitch and I'm angry and sad and heartbroken that it's taken away my grandfather.
My grandfather was the first one to jump when I was moving - he moved my stuff home out of my freshman year residence hall and drove me (and his full truck) home. He and Nana moved me back after Christmas into my new on-campus aparment sophomore year. He moved me out of San Diego. And to Texas (literally at the drop of a hat, maybe 15 hours' notice). Without missing a beat.
When I was in first grade, I learned to skip a bar on the monkey bars. That's a BIG deal, if you recall. Papa was picking us up from school that day, for whatever reason, and I was so excited to go home and show him on the bars in our backyard. Well, I was so excited, I swung and missed the bar and fell on my arm... and thus breaking my arm at the elbow. Naturally, he freaked out, and after the parademics wrapped me up and mom got home and took me to urgent care... he went to my aunt's and had a total meltdown. To this day, he blamed himself.
He eagerly jumped on stage with me on our family cruise (after chemo round 2) and took disco lessons with me for half an hour. The video is pretty priceless. He laughed at himself the whole time, and had a ball.
When we were learning to crawl, he'd follow us around on his hands and knees too. My mom would ask him what on earth he was doing and he'd reply, "I don't want them to hit their heads!" and continue to follow us around, wherever we went.
My sister and I would spend hours playing in his garage - Legos, box tunnels... no matter what he was trying to work on or file or project to complete, he'd stop to add boxes to make sure our tunnel and box-fort was big enough, or that our Lego house was sturdy.
For my senior prom, Doug and I and about 3 or 4 other couples all met at my house for appetizers and photos before heading off. It started to rain, just slightly, and we were trying to get to the limo as dry as possible. My grandpa, being the organizer that he was, marched us all out - couple by couple - with the big umbrella, aiming to get us to the car with the least amount of rain as possible. Other parents wanted to help, but didn't dare when Papa was in charge!
Papa, we love and miss you so much already. I'm in peace knowing that you aren't hurting anymore and that your days are now with your mom, playing the drums, and seeing all those we love. Thank you for a lifetime of memories in your garage, on the soccer field, in the trailer up in Buellton and on our family cruise this spring. Play your drums proud, loud for us to hear, and know that we'll see you again!
We love you, Papa!
Keep heaven in order for us.