I try and keep it bright and cheery here at Sparkles and Shoes, especially over Christmas and not wanting to put a damper on the holiday spirit I waited a few days to post this. But to be honest, it took a few days for me to process – heaven gained another angel on Christmas Eve when my grandfather had passed away. This was not unexpected but none the less it felt like a knife was thrust into my chest – that’s us above at dinner in September.
I have not checked to see if the obituary has been published yet but when it is released I am sure it is going to say some fantastic thing about the man I knew dearly as “Gumpa” my entire life. The biggest thing I will remember about my grandfather is his patience – between being a school teacher and a high school tennis coach for more than three decades he approached everything with a great deal of patience. Even before I was born he took my Mom and her two sisters – three girls under three – camping in cloth diapers, talk about a needing patience!
Then some of my earliest memories with my Gumpa were him teaching me how to canoe, “Kelly, we can both paddle on the same side so you can get the hang of it but once you get bigger we will have to practice on opposite sides so we don’t fall in” or teaching me how to affix a stamp into a stamp collecting book with the proper mount or hinge as he passed along one of his favorite hobbies. To this day his collection of stamps from more than 100 countries is one of my most prized possessions, especially the ones from countries that no longer exist, like East Germany, Tibet, or Czechoslovakia.
This patience extended all the way up to proof reading my college essay and bless his heart, my Gumpa counted out the number of words to make sure I wasn’t over the world count limit not knowing fancy computers (and this was 2007) had that ability for you. He was even patient in listening, asking questions, and trying to understand what I do for a living (I work digital advertising) when we celebrated both of our birthdays this September which you can see here. I can go on and on but I will save some stories for the Celebration of Life we are having in a few weeks, a service my grandmother decided upon instead of a funeral or memorial.
Family has always been super important to me but instead of telling you, I will show you it was the same for my grandfather. Thus, I will leave you with this incredibly heart warming photo from my cousin Shannon’s wedding in May of 2014 that the photographer, Rachel Moore, posted on Instagram with a caption that read:
My grandfather was one of the sweetest men you will ever meet and it brought on a fresh set of tears realizing that he will not be at my wedding and get to show off this picture to all of my friends. So real friends, blog friends, and all you lovely people I’ve never met meeting this I hope this gave you just a glimmer into the wonderfal man my Gumpa was and I am sure he will be happy to tell you this story and many others when you meet him in heaven.
I love you Gumpa!