Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Stick with me and you'll be wearing diamonds as big as radishes."

My grandpa died on Friday night.  And even though it was expected and hoped for (he was 90 and sick) it has still been sad times around these parts.  Katie and I got the news on Saturday morning as we were pulling into the church parking lot for a service activity.  And then we pulled right back out because we are not quite the stiff-upper-lip types.  We are more of the intermittently-weep-throughout-the-day-while-consoling-ourselves-with-leftover-Easter-candy-and-viewings-of-Anne of Green Gables-but-skipping-the-part-where-Matthew-dies-because-who-can-handle-that-even-when-you're-not-emotionally-vulnerable types.  But we turned it around today at church, even when faced with kind friends and sweet hugs and orchids left on our doorstep.  Nothing breaks me down faster than kindness. I lose it when someone gives me a gentle pat on the shoulder and asks how I'm doing.  "Fine (weep, weep)."  But I only crumpled once!  After that I could talk about it like a champ.  Sunday miracle!

So I'm sad because I'll miss him, but more than anything I'm grateful for the knowledge of where he is and I'm grateful to have known him and to have him be such an enormous presence in my life.  He was kind and funny and silly and gentle.  He was an amazing example of hard work and faithfulness.  He loved to tell jokes (What do you call a row of rabbits walking backwards?  A receding hare line.) He loved to tell stories - about growing up in Watts (for real, yo!) and his time in the military during the war and dating my grandma and all those crazy jobs he had.  Fun Fact:  In his later years he was an exterminator so every time I'm in a place that has been sprayed for ants, where other people smell noxious fumes, I only smell Grandpa Knecht.

Once long ago he pulled me into his lap and we watched an episode of MASH together.  At the time I felt like I was too old to be cuddling with my grandpa but after a short while I was nestled into his shoulder and he said, "I'm glad you still fit here."  And even long after I didn't fit there, any time I would sit next to him he would reach over and take my hand and he'd look down at our fingers and say, "That looks pretty good, doesn't it."  And then he'd tell me that I had something on my shirt and then giggle like a kid because he made me look.  That, in a nutshell, was my Grandpa.  And I'll miss him like crazy.

13 comments:

Heidi (Todd) Broberg said...

Oh I am sorry to hear that. You are a champ!

And I cant watch when Matthew dies either...

Andrea said...

I'm so sorry Rachel. I love hearing stories about your Grandpa, he sounds like a great man. I'm not good at saying things when these type of events happen, but I hope you know I'm thinking about you and your family. Love ya!

Chris and Gina said...

Great tribute. I'm not even teary. Miracle! Hey...if good looks were a minute, you'd be three hours. :)

Hannah said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Rachel...your grandpa sounds like a wonderful man.

Rach said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. I got all weepy when I read about the holding your hand thing. What a lovely tribute.

Laura said...

Ditto to everyone else's comments. I always love the stories about him. What a jokester! The few times I've gotten to be around him, he always made me laugh! And that picture you posted of him recently - priceless. Thinking about you guys!

Patti said...

Very well written, and as all good stories go, it made me laugh and it made me cry.
Give your dad a hug for me, please.

Stephanie said...

Sorry for your loss - but I'm so glad you wrote this all down. What an amazing tribute to a man I've never met, but from your description, would have loved to spend a day with. You have been blessed to have him in your life.

Wendy said...

I know you were all close to Grandpa Knecht. You all are so lucky to have had that kind of a relationship with your grandparent. And I know it's bittersweet, but this means another Knecht get-together with all of your other fun relatives, right?

Amanda said...

Love you girl! Still thinking about you every day. I hope this weekend goes well. I think your next post should be a bunch of Grandpa Knecht's one liners. Maybe the next few posts, cause he's got a few, right? :) Love you.

Heath said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but I'm glad you have comfort the knowledge. Love you!

Heath'e' said...

Oh no. Rachel I'm soo so sorry about your grandpa. I'm glad you have such sweet memories of him! They can definitely help on the bad days. You are lucky to have had him in your life so long. Hugs to you! <3 ya

Empress of Venus said...

Never met him and I still miss him. I think you should post more stories about him.