Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Memorial Breakfast

Well, dear readers, I have some sad news. My beloved grandpa died this weekend. Any of you who are regular readers will know how close he and I were. In the last year and a half or so, since my grandmother died, and Musty and I have had dinner with him two nights a week, which was especially wonderful. We always looked forward to those evenings with my grandpa.

My Grandpa was truly one of the most remarkable, amazing, and beloved people ever. Truly, I do not have one single negative memory of him. I never saw him act with malice or superiority or greed or judgment. He was genuinely curious about everyone he met, and loved to strike up conversations with anyone and everyone. In fact, pretty much everyone who ever met him was instantly a fan - he had such grace and charm and sweetness. He was totally earnest and kind, with no need for irony or snarkiness. He was a man of action, who formed relationships and experiences that enriched the world. He and my grandma were both very involved with local environmental causes - state parks, natural history museum, trails, Sierra Club... They loved to back pack, and especially they shared their love for Yosemite with all of us. Around the time that I was born, they served two years in the Peace Corps in Ghana, which was a very meaningful experience for both of them. They also had a huge garden - and you've all probably read many posts where I blogged about the figs, raspberries, butternut squash, concord grapes, apples, greens, tomatoes, plums, apples, and persimmons from their garden. A simple search on the word "grandpa" on my blog yeilds so many results! He really was such a joy to cook for - perpetually enthusiastic and grateful. "Oh wow, delicious dinner, honeybunch!" "A girl of many talents!" I'll really miss cooking for him, and all his sweet little expressions of appreciation.

He had such a peaceful and dignified death, which is just what he wanted. After falling and breaking his hip, he developed pneumonia, and was having a really tough time breathing. He made a conscious choice that he had lived "92 wonderful years" and that "it's time to cash in my chips" and make a "graceful exit". We were all there with him, touching him and being with him as his breath got slower and slower, and finally stopped. It was beautiful and amazing and sad too. I really miss him a lot already, but I am also so happy for him that he was able to go out on his own gentle terms.

Well, my first inheritance was a box of his most beloved cereal, Super Nutty Toffee Clusters, from Trader Joes, along with a bag of Costco brand Dried Blueberries. He loved to have a stockpile of his favorite items on hand, so that he'd never run out. So, after he died, my aunt gave me these two goodies. Of course, I remembered him by having a big bowl of cereal with a handful of the blueberries on top, just the way he liked it. Whoa! The cereal is pretty darned good, but those blueberries are sweetened and they pop a major sugar punch. It's crazy to think of my sweet grandpa getting such a major sugar blast every morning!

ps. this great photo of the two of us was taking by r.r.jones, a local photographer. I met him when we both had our artwork in a local exhibit, and when my grandpa came to see the show, it turns out that Ron knew him from the gym! Until the day he fell, my grandpa had been going to the gym 3 days a week. He was quite a super star at the gym, and Ron took a cute picture of us two together at the exhibit. Then, unfortunately, he lost the file. So, he brought us into his studio and took some real "studio shots" of us together. I"m so happy to have these beautiful photos. You can really see my grandpa's huge, warm, sparkly spirit.

33 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to hear about this news. Your grandfather sounds like such an amazing, inspiring man. We could all learn a lot from him, I'm sure. He had such a wonderful impact on your life, it seems, so very supportive. You are so lucky to have him in your life!

    This was a very intimate thing to share, but I appreciated reading about a beautiful life that ended in such a peaceful, dignified way. You have a very loving, kind family and I wish you all the best.

    I love that photo, it brings a smile to my heart and I don't even know you or your grandpa!

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  2. R.I.P., dear grandfather. As you know, I'm a loyal reader (and commenter!!) on your blog, so I have enjoyed following the journey of you creating meals and memories with your grandfather. He will watch over you forever.

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  3. I'm so sorry for you. Lovely picture.

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  4. Oh Amey... I am so very sorry to hear the news of your grandfather passing. He sounds like an amazing man, and I can only imagine the joy it brought him to be able to spend so much time with you, enjoying your wonderful cooking. His memory will live on forever in your heart and these blog posts!

    I hope you have found some solace that he did pass with his dignity, the way he wanted. My uncle passed away just about a week ago from colon cancer, he was diagnosed a month ago. Reading your post and the past few weeks events in my own life have made me really appreciate every moment with family and friends. I know you feel the same...

    Take care Amey. I'm sending you lots of hugs and good thoughts...

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  5. Amey, I'm so sorry for your loss and, yet, so grateful that he was able to go on his own terms. So few are able to do that. It's wonderful that you have the memories of all those dinners together and some beautiful photos of you two.

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  6. Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear about your grandpa. Thankfully he was able to go peacefully and the way he wanted to. So few ever get that opportunity. You are in my thoughts.

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  7. Amey, what a beautiful post and triubute to your beloved grandfather. Thank you for sharing them with your readers.

    -Adriana

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  8. I'm so sorry for your loss. But it sounds like he couldn't have chosen a better way to go than surrounded by his family and peaceful. I know you'll carry memories of him with you always.

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  9. This is such a beautiful, bittersweet post. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  10. Wow, you are so lucky to have had all of these years to build such an amazing relationship with an amazing person. I am sorry for your loss, but know his memory will live on.

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  11. sending you much love and sympathy. this is a beautiful post, and i am one of many who has enjoyed reading about your beautiful relationship with your grandfather.

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  12. Oh Amey, I am so saddened to hear this. Your grandfather seems like a very special man that I would have been honored to know. I send love and hugs your way.

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  13. wow, he was so energetic. So amazing. and it is a positive ending note to leave on your own graceful terms. My oma is the same way, very active and completely amazing in every way. I am happy that you have such great memories and will always have smiles.

    my thoughts go out to you. xxx

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  14. im so sorry to hear of your loss... he sounds like he was a wonderful man

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  15. Anonymous11:46 PM

    Dearest Amey, what a moving tribute you posted here to your grandpa. Jon and I send you our most loving thoughts. Love, Molly

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  16. Karen7:31 AM

    I am so sorry for your loss but happy for you that you had so many beautiful years together. Your love for your grandparents and your entire family is a beautiful thing.

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  17. Amey, so sorry to hear this! He sounds and looks like an amazing person. How wonderful that you got to spend so much time with him and could be there for him at the end.

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  18. Amey, so sorry to hear this! He sounds and looks like an amazing person. How wonderful that you got to spend so much time with him and could be there for him at the end.

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  19. Oh, Amey, I'm so sad for you. I loved reading all your posts about dinners with your grandfather. The picture of the two of you is wonderful.

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  20. A loss of someone so dear is sure pain but you can always find reasons to smile when you look back and remember the happy moments you spent with your grandfather.

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  21. Oh my gosh, Amey. I am so sorry for the loss of this important figure in your life. It's always been a joy to read the entries with your grandfather in them, I felt like I knew him. I am thinking of you & your family. If you need anything, just call. xo.

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  22. Amey, I am so sorry for your loss! Thank you for sharing all stories about your grandfather with us.

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  23. I am so sorry to hear about your lost! You and your grandfather look so nice in that photo!

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  24. What a great post! That's so cool that you guys had such a special relationship. :)

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  25. So sorry to hear about your grandpa - he sounds and looks like an amazing person.

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  26. Ah, I'm so sorry to hear that Amey! But I'm glad he was able to go on his own terms. It sounds like a very peaceful and conscious decision on his part.

    That is a beautiful photo of you guys! And I think it's neat how you ate breakfast in his honor.

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  27. This is a beautiful tribute to your Grandpa, and such a special photo, Amey. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.

    I hope your many wonderful memories together are giving you comfort.

    Sending much love your way!

    Megan

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  28. I feel like we've all gotten to know your grandparents in a way through all the wonderful posts you've written about them. That's such a great picture of the two of you! It sounds like he led a great life and I know you will miss him. *hugs* Sending good thoughts to you and your family.

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  29. Amey, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandad. I knew him a little from Toadal Fitness. He was well loved there, let me tell you. I've been watching for his obit and figured when you hadn't posted in a bit that that was why. He was a remarkable guy, and blessed to go out his own way, surrounded by those he loved. Many heartfelt condolences.

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  30. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Oh Amey, I am so sorry to read this news. This is so tough to have your grandmother and grandpa so close together in time. I loved reading about the dinners you made for him, and hearing about him and your grandmother. I am so happy that you got to spend so much time with him, and that he died on his own terms. And somehow despite the sadness, the story about the sugary blueberries made me smile -- between your grandma's healthy eating and then your healthy home-cooked meals he MUST have had a major sugar rush in the morning :-)

    My thoughts are with you and your family, Amey.

    Jen E.

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  31. I love the photo of you and your grandpa. It is just perfect. I also love that you inherited his favorite cereal with blueberries.

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  32. Sorry to hear that. sounds like he was amazing and you have some wonderful memeories! :)

    Cindy
    http://vegetarianmamma.blogspot.com

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