I was going to write a post about the midpoint of summer break, and whether or not I was keeping up with my goal of making the summer worth something.
Unfortunately, my grandfather died last week, so instead I spent the week writing his eulogy and attending his funeral.
I grew up with eight grandparents. Mom’s parents were divorced and remarried, and then we had Dad’s parents, and Stepdad’s parents.
As kids we called all of them “Grandma” and “Grandpa” to their faces. But when referring to them privately, we found it hard to keep track of the original six. They became “Grandma and Grandpa,” “Grandma and Grandpa in Florida” and “Grandma and Grandpa Who Shoots Bears.” Once George came into the picture, we were old enough to understand that we could attach last names, and we did so for his parents. Still, even as adult my brother and I referred to our grandparents by their original nicknames.
Three of them have now died. The first two died of alcoholism and lung cancer respectively, so we knew they were sick. “Grandpa Who Shoos Bears” died fairly unexpectedly. He was in the hospital and then the ICU unit, but he got sick really quickly.
My mom and aunts asked me if I would write the eulogy. I was nervous about doing Grandpa justice, but I was also honored to be asked. I couldn’t help much from a distance, and this was a way to do something for the family, to take something off of their plates.
I collected memories from his four daughters and wrote the eulogy, using his nicknames as a running theme. One of my cousins read the eulogy and did a wonderful job with it. My brother made a beautiful slideshow for him—and yes, he found a photo of Grandpa with a bear he’d shot!
Grandpa Who Shoots Bears was a trucker, and his big rig was at the church, which was a nice touch.
With Grandpa’s Big Rig, Good Man, and the Niece and Nephew
We were able to see Grandma and Grandpa Who Shoots Bears at the Fourth of July party, although we didn’t get any photos with them. Originally, I had wanted to go to Minnesota in August, for the State Fair. We went for the party because Good Man insisted it was important to see family.
I’m glad I let him “win” that argument.