My Grandpa

I shared this on Instagram, but since my blog is a more permanent personal journal, I wanted to give an update here too. My grandpa passed away on Saturday, April 24. It’s hard to sum up what one person means to you in an Instagram caption or even a blog post, but here’s what I  shared about my grandpa:

My grandpa passed away on Saturday afternoon. 💔 While it wasn’t unexpected and death never happens at a “good” time, I’m grateful I was already back home with my family during this time. This is a really big loss for our family.

My grandpa, Ted, was married to my grandma for 64 years, and they lived on their family farm in Michigan throughout their life together. He has four kids, 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandkids. He loved being a grandpa — and he was so good at it. He was so warm, loving, easy to talk to, welcoming, and funny. He’d give anything to anyone, because that’s who he was — generous and kind.

He always told me he was praying for me, and he meant it. He prayed for people by name, out loud, every night. His prayer time lasted hours. Family and his faith were the most important things to him.

We used to go to Bob Evans for breakfast during my visits; it was “our thing.” He had this natural gift of making everyone he was around feel important. He was genuinely interested in what was going on in my life, and always looked for ways to connect over whatever was going on.

He loved watching the Detroit Tigers, fishing, singing in the church choir, painting, and was proud of his wildflower garden. 🌸

When he finally got a cell phone, he used to call or text me all the time, often late at night. We used to joke that he stayed up later than I did even as college student or when I was three hours behind him in California. He called go chat or leave a voicemail, letting me know he was thinking about me, loved me, and was praying for me. I found a couple old voicemails saved on my phone from years ago — so strange and special to be able to hear his voice from so long ago.

I’m a better person because of my Grandpa and I’m really sad, but also really proud to be part of his story and legacy. 🤍

I  remember reading this blurb in a Shauna Niequist book years and years ago and immediately thinking – that sounds like MY grandpa. her words rang true as I  read them again last week.

Each of us who knew him well have story after story of ways that he loved us and made us feel important, and we interrupted each other on the day of his funeral, fighting to tell all the stories of our life together, our life with Grandpa. His life had an epic quality to it; a quintessentially American sense; a nostalgic, charmed quality; a story of family and music and Sundays in the backyard pond with the grandkids.

If you were to ask his children and grandchildren about him, they would tell you the things he taught them – the family comes before business, that hard work matters, that faith is the most important thing. They would not tell you he was perfect, but they would tell you that because of him, because of his role in each of their lives, they are better people, better father and mothers, better husbands and wives, betters doctors and business owners, better church members, and better followers of Jesus.
We left the funeral tired and sad, but proud – proud to have been his children and grandchildren, proud to have been bit players in such an extraordinary story.
– Shauna Niequist

Thank you for every kind and compassionate dm and comment and text; for listening to me share stories about my grandpa. flowers were delivered, Venmos for coffee pick-me-ups were sent, meals were dropped off, some friends even donated trees to plant in his name. 🥺  It’s s a really beautiful thing to have people (IRL and virtually) show up for me, for our family, during a hard time. I feel so cared for and supported and seen. from the bottom of my heart, thank you. 💘

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