It’s been my fear as long as I’ve lived abroad that I would one day get a phone call that someone was sick and there would be nothing I could do because I was too far away.
I had expected to write a different post today. I was expecting to regale you with Squeaker’s second Christmas and how I had more fun than I thought I would. I also thought I’d be writing about how we’ve decided to move to the US and I will probably leave with Squeaker in February to find a job and get established while we wait for my husband’s visa, but I’m not.
It’s never a good thing when you get an urgent call from your parents while they should be at work. My heart pounded in my ears as I lifted the screen of my computer to talk. They called to tell me that my grandfather had passed away Christmas night.
My grandpa Jerry was one of the nicest, most interesting people you ever met. He was unfailingly optimistic, he liked to keep busy (he worked into his 90’s), and was a sports and trivia addict. He made sure that everyone who came into his home felt welcomed and never forgot to offer them soda or sweets that he kept hidden around the house.
He was my step-grandfather, but never made me feel like anything less than his biological granddaughter. We would sneak out of the house to buy chicken and biscuits a half an hour before my grandma served a big lunch, laughing like she would never find out. We would stalk gophers in the backyard and, despite our best efforts, they would come back stronger than ever the next year. He never failed to give me money every time I saw him to buy ice cream–even well into my twenties. He knew more about Chile than some of my friends simply because he kept up with sports and knew that Chile has a decent national soccer team.
I’m happy that I was able to show him Squeaker, his first great-grandchild. And I’d like to think that, even though she doesn’t know it, she brought some joy and wonder to the last year of his life.
I know that he was confused and suffering these last few months and that he couldn’t always remember who everyone was, but I still wish I could have said goodbye. My mom was saying that out of all the people you meet in your life, my grandpa Jerry was one of the best. I happen to agree with her.
One thing he taught me is that you never say “good-bye”, you always say “see you later”. See you later, Grandpa. You will be missed.