My grandparents had great lives. My grandmother was almost 90 and my grandfather was 98! Long lives filled with lots of love. However (and obviously) it's never easy to lose someone, especially when you've grown so accustomed to them being around! How seriously lucky was I to have my grandparents well into my 30's? What a gift! Especially when they were as awesome and Evelyn & Bill Eolin.
My sister and I didn't make the service which was held yesterday afternoon. We are in NYC working and on "baby-watch" as Sara is due to give birth sometime very soon. (Squeee! I'm gonna be an auntie!) And I have to say, the one thing that has helped my whole family get through the loss of my grandparents is the new life that's come into our worlds in the past year. My cousin Vincent has an 8-month-old son (WHO IS WEARING 18-MONTH-OLD CLOTHES - guess who's gonna be a football player??) and my sister got married to a WONDERFUL man, Sam, and now they have little Nathaniel on the way. Ebb and flow, right?
I'm glad that I knew my grandparents as long as I did. They were wonderful role models in how to spoil and love the younger generation of Eolins. And thanks to them, I feel quite equipped to be an auntie. I hope I can make them proud.
The letter below is what I wrote to be read at Grandpa's service yesterday. My mom read it to the group, as she did for my grandmother's service. Please enjoy and hug the ones you love!
I wrote Grandma a letter for her service so I wanted to write one for yours.
I am so grateful for all the time I got to spend with you, Grandpa. You were always there with a a big “Grandpa love” which was a bone crushing hug followed by the scent of Old Spice. THOSE WERE THE BEST HUGS I've ever received in my life. I'm sad now to think I'll have to stalk random older men to have this experience with now. (I KID! HAHAHAHA! Gross.)
I am so glad that I had you around while I grew up. I remember you and Grandma stopping by all the time when we lived in Binghamton. You would just show up and it was always like it was a holiday when you two were by. I loved when Mom and Dad would travel since that meant unlimited Grandma & Grandpa time. There was always so much laughing and happiness! And fried haddock.
I never got to tell you how much I admired your path in life. The fact that you got to the level you did at Corning without going to college is astounding. You have two patents! I had no idea what that meant as a kid since I thought “patent” was a word used to describe a shiny pair of shoes. You accomplished so much. You knew more about tubing than anybody legally should. You were a genius and I wish I had been able to let you know how much respect I have for your accomplishments.
I'm sad that I won't see the sparkle in your blue eyes in person again. I'm sad that I'll never hear Grandma yell, “OH BILL!” which was always followed by your laughter and saying, “Oh Eve.” I'm sad that we'll never play cards again. Or that you could tell me about tubing and I might have a shot of understanding now that I'm older. I'm sad that there won't be anymore holiday cards or pictures or get togethers. However, I have 30+ years of memories to keep me company. My life with you and Grandma was like an exotic vacation. I got to spend an amazing time with you, and I can't go back, but the photographs and memories will always be crisp and clear, as if they happened yesterday.
You and Grandma played a major part in my life. I'm the person I am today because of the love, care and compassion you both showed me. The way I can thank you is to treat others around me as you would treat them. That means that first, I will make up stories about my neighbors. Second, I will make someone who is having a bad day laugh. I will always make sure my friends have a meal to eat. There will always be a full cookie jar. There will always be a deck of cards. There will always be a listening ear. There will always be compassion.
Be well on your next journey. I am glad that you are at peace. I hope you and Grandma can start a card game in heaven. Just don't let Grandma call anybody a “big goop.” I'm guessing it's frowned upon.
Much love always,
(FYI into "Eolin Speal": "Big goop" is what Granny would call people who she found stupid - it has no racial slurs or anything like that - she was just too classy to say "what a dipshit.")