Goodbyes

Yesterday morning, my sweet grandfather passed away. My heart is broken. The anticipation of this news has been building for a long time, but the sting still cuts deeply. Every time I spoke to him on the phone this week, I knew I was saying goodbye, and he did as well. We spoke of the weather and hospital food, as usual, but we also spoke of memories, including the one I am going to share. I got to tell him I love him and I how thankful I am that he is my grandpa. I got to hear him tell me he loves me too. For that, I am grateful.

My grandfather was one of the most loving men I have ever known, albeit a little blunt in the delivery of that love sometimes. He never failed to speak his mind and tell you exactly what he thought no matter what – a true believer in tough love. But he loved fiercely, and I am proud to be his granddaughter. I am proud to be a Schulz.

These past weeks have been filled with the memories I carry of my grandfather. Camping in the Redwoods, a trip to Disney World, listening to his stories, playing slot machines together, dancing at my wedding. . . There are too many emotions flying around inside of me right now to put into words, so let me try to convey a snapshot of my grandpa with one story in particular.

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One of my earliest memories of grandpa is captured in this photo, and I love it, so please excuse the poor photo of a photo quality. When I was seven or eight years old, my grandparents were visiting us in Rhode Island. Whenever they came, they would be with us for several weeks and we would go on all sorts of adventures. This particular trip included a day at Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA.

There are several memories from that day that I remember: exploring a submarine and dad talking about his time in the Navy, being anxious about getting locked in one of the ships because they kept announcing the closing time over the intercom (me? anxious?), and most vividly, the carousel. Most kids love the carousel, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even ride on one of the stationary horses until I was at least 6. Until then, I was all about the sleigh bench, and even when I did get on a horse, I needed my dad right next to me.

Well, on this particular day, dad put us on the carousel and then proceeded to depart and stand outside the ride, probably to take this picture of me and Rachel. I was not. happy. I remember beginning to panic, worried that somehow I’d never find my dad again. What did grandpa do? He got on the carousel and rode it with me and Rachel. He even got on one of the moving horses while I was safe and sound on a stationary one! This is the kind of man he was – stepping in to save the day. He was always there when needed, especially for those he loved. I miss him.

My grandfather leaves an amazing legacy  of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. None of us would be us without him. Please keep my father, aunt, grandmother, sisters, and many cousins in prayer as we mourn and weep together.

I have so much more to say, but I am out of words. There are too many stories. Too many memories. Too many thoughts. Perhaps more of them will formulate as time goes on, but for now,  all I can say is that I miss him, but I am grateful that his suffering is at an end and he has peace. He remains an important man in many lives and always will be. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us – your kind words mean more than you know.

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