Friday, October 01, 2010

Remembering Grandpa

It's been a couple weeks since my last post. I'll definitely admit some a lot of it is do to with procrastination, but this last week of silence was a result of another matter out of my hands.

My grandpa had been spending the last few months with my parents in Milwaukee, as he had grown too weak to take care of himself. This past weekend he collapsed with a headache, and was taken to the hospital where he passed away a couple days later as a result of subdural hematoma. Our family was fortunate enough to be with him before he died, and I was even able to Skype with them in the hospital room, so we thank God we were able to at least say our goodbyes.

It has all been quite a shock to me, since my grandpa has always been energetic and active despite being now 81. The distance between Japan and the US has added its own bizarre twist as well. In some sense, as I'm living on the opposite side of the world in a 15 hour difference time zone, I didn't have regular contact with my grandpa anyways, so it's also difficult to grasp the concept that he is no longer with us. I can't just hop in a car and drive to the hospital, which can also be very frustrating.

I was however fortunate enough to book a flight to Minneapolis for his funeral on Monday. For that funeral we were asked to mention a few items that we remember about grandpa to put in the bulletin. I think I'll end this post with a few of the things I remember about my grandpa.

Remembering Grandpa...

During college when I lived in the dorms, Grandpa was my 9 am alarm clock without fail every Sunday, after which he would come pick me up to go to late church. This is of course after he already went to early church, every Sunday. He also went to bible study too. The church truly was a second home to him.

Grandpa would pick up and throw away litter, or return rocks that had strayed from their bed in the landscape at a parking lot, just because it was the right thing to do and it wasn't too much trouble for him to do it anyways. Every now and then you'd stop and wait, wondering what he's doing picking up rocks in the parking lot, but I wouldn't mind having a few more people like that around.

If you've ever talked to my grandpa, then I probably need give no introduction to myself, since I'm sure you've heard about me and the rest of my family. He certainly loved to talk about his family. Its nice that we were so important to him.

My girlfriend studied abroad from Japan, and whenever Grandpa saw her one of the first things he said was, 'Are you ok? You doing alright?' After a year it almost turned into a joke, but we always appreciated that he cared enough to ask, every time, without fail.

Grandpa was the best cook with the most variety I've ever seen. He had his way with subs, dinned on gyros, made papa's pizza and famous ribs. He was always good company with noodles, and especially enjoyed some good ol' Sunday buffet, both country and chinese style. It was delicious every time. Thanks for taking me out to eat so much Grandpa. I'm gonna miss that.

I have made the trip between Minneapolis and Milwaukee so many times with my grandpa, that he memorized the mile markers for certain road signs that we would pass. Thanks for keeping me company Grandpa.

Grandpa always had at least a dozen boxes of cherrios, and a few jars of strawberry and grape jam and peanut butter (a few each that is). The pantry was also filled with several packages pringles and granola bars. No they weren't for him. He always gave them away to the school, to our family, and to me. I've not met a more humble person who wanted so little, and gave so much.

I've played a lot of cribbage with my grandpa, and one game I got a hand that was 1 point off the perfect hand (four 5's and a queen). Despite my unbelievable luck, somehow he still managed to peg out and beat me.

Sure am going to miss you grandpa. Say hi to grandma for me though. If anyone would like to know more information about him, we've created a caring bridge site for him here.


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