Goodbye, farewell and amen

My last living grandparent died yesterday. My grandfather, or Grandaddy Bill, was just two days shy of his 98th birthday. He was a dear man, and we will all miss him.

I’ve written about him here a couple of times before, most notably when we moved him from his hometown of Vicksburg, MS, to Nashville, TN, to be closer to us. He lived here for about three-and-a-half years, and we saw him regularly.

Here’s a photo of a recent lunch we spent with him at the nursing home:

Family photo with Grandaddy Bill_November 2015

My grandfather was always a very dignified man. He was sturdy, stalwart. He could get things done.  He was reliable, calm, intelligent. He was the kind of person you trusted because he had always demonstrated trustworthiness.

These last few years, he began to shrink as his body aged. His voice was not as steady. His memory remained good for a long time, but over the last few months, he began to get confused. We all told ourselves that it was not unusual for a man his age to be in such a state. And it wasn’t.

And so, yesterday, he came to the end of his long, good life. We will miss him, but I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to have him in my life for so long. He knew both of his great grandsons–saw them regularly, in fact. And I am also grateful for that.

There’s a lot more I could tell you about Grandaddy Bill. How he was in the Army Corps of Engineers, how he served during two wars, how he was a huge railroad buff, how he read archaeology magazines, thick biographies and weighty nonfiction books up until about a year ago.  I could tell you about how he was married to my grandmother for 67 years.

But the important thing is that he loved us. And we loved him. And we are better people –luckier people–for that.

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About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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One Response to Goodbye, farewell and amen

  1. Diane Wyckoff says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Granddaddy Bill. I feel so fortunate to have known him, even for a few years. Loved the story about how he and Mama Lou met and married after a brief courtship. She knew he was the one and she was right! With love, Diane

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