Last weekend, the girls lost their grandpa, my husband lost his father, and the whole world lost a kind soul who loved to help people. It’s a huge loss, and it’s been a tough week, of explaining concepts like death and cancer to Peanut and String Bean. I think String Bean has a better grasp on it, the death part at least, but for Peanut, repetition seems to be key. “Why did he die?” is one of her top questions, followed by “Will you die?” It’s hard to keep giving answers when there are no good answers, just repetitions of the facts: grandpa is gone, and he loved you girls very much.
He was the proudest of grandpas. My husband has found, while he’s been back in his home town, that everyone, even people we’ve never met, knew all about Bill’s granddaughters, had seen countless pictures, heard all the stories, knew how much they meant to him.
They are so young to have lost him, and I hope they’ll remember him: the weekly web cams and the visits and the trips together, like the one just last month, when we all went to Myrtle Beach together, and Bill watched the girls dig in the sand, jump in the waves, collect shells, and practice swimming in the pool. Maybe that’s one reason they are struggling with the news. They just saw him, spent a week with him, how can he be gone? It’s the way we all feel.
I know there will be many more questions to come, many more repetitions of the facts, and lots of sad times as we remember and try to move forward, but I hope that, most of all, the girls remember how much he loved them, his bottomless adoration of them, his admiration for each new skill they acquired. We should all be so lucky, to have love like that in our lives, however long it lasts.