It’s been a few weeks since my grandfather passed. It still hurts, but I’m finally at the point where I can write about it publicly. I wrote a eulogy, a little token of my love, but when the day came to say it in front of my family, I found I was too upset and quickly hid it in my pocket, feeling a bit shameful for my lack of fortitude. I guess I shall share it now:
One of my most cherished memories is working on an old fan with my grandpa. The activity itself wasn’t unusual. We had worked on projects before, and would after, but that day has always stood out, because it was the first time I realized how special he was. I wasn’t more than 10, and next to me sat a few tools and a can of WD40 at the ready. In front of me was this old, intimidating, metal GE fan. Most adults would have pushed me aside and done the work themselves, or yelled at you if you didn’t follow directions, but my grandpa was different. He told me the basics and watched as I worked. I made mistakes, I was learning, but every time I looked over ready for a reprimand, all I found was a smile and advice.
As I listened to everyone at the wake tell stories about my grandfather, I kept hearing similar things:
Jack was so gentle.
Jack was so sweet.
Your grandfather was a kind man.
He was so patient.
These are attributes that are undervalued. I aspire to them. The gentle souls are the hardest to notice in life, but their absence in death is impossible to ignore. The world is a little harder without that oasis of quiet dignity.
I love you Grandpa. I miss you.
John (Jack to his friends) Donohue Sr. February 11, 1942 – February 25, 2015