My kids are off school ALL WEEK for Fall Break. And, honestly, this vacation from our routine couldn’t have been timed better in my life. Last week was crazy. The days were full of goodness, but logistically they were a bit crazy.
My grandpa, better known as Poppy, passed away Sept. 20. His visitation and funeral were last Tuesday and Wednesday in Louisville, which is about three hours away from our house. We had a good time visiting with family and remembering Poppy.
Then we came home for two days before we headed to Nashville (about two hours away) for my cousin’s wedding. It was also a fun weekend with family – the same side we had gathered with earlier in the week.
My kids went to school last Monday, Thursday, and Friday and managed to squeeze in studying for a chemistry test, practicing spelling words, and choosing poems to recite later this month in the annual Speech Meet.
Obviously, we haven’t even been in our usual routine, but this planned Fall Break is welcomed here. Cate is going to do a couple days of horseriding camp. I’m hoping to catch up around the house and make a Sam’s run. Who knows, depending on the weather, the kids may even jump in the pool.
I did want to share more about Poppy here before I was too far removed from his funeral services. My mom asked me to give the eulogy during his funeral Mass, so I did. I basically reworked a Facebook tribute I had shared when he passed away. I’m definitely more comfortable writing words than speaking words, but I was so grateful to be able to share with my Poppy’s family and friends – and now you – this way.
Nanny and Poppy were a steadfast presence in my childhood. They babysat my siblings and I, hosted holidays, and welcomed me to do my laundry at their house when I lived nearby after I graduated from college.
Nanny passed away in October 2001, before I was married and long before I became a mom. She would have loved my family.
But I’m glad Poppy got a chance to love my family. Most of the time, his love came across in sarcastic banter and laughter. On the day of my husband Greg’s law school graduation, Poppy started telling him lawyer jokes and continued with a new one most every time we saw him.
He also got to know my two oldest kids, which is good because that means they got to know one of the best influences on my life. I’m glad I got to see him with my youngest child too, although she won’t have first-hand memories of him.
A half-Irish, half-Scottish immigrant, Poppy grew up as an American and even served in World War 2 in the US Navy. He always had stories to tell.
During a hard season in my life, he shared with me who was on his prayer list and reminded me “this too shall pass.” He wasn’t always this sentimental, but his presence was constant even the past 15 years when is travel back to Louisville to visit my family and friends. The last meal my husband, kids and I shared with him was on Father’s Day. And I’m glad I have a picture both on my phone and in my mind to remember that.
His life reminds me how loving others
is about showing up & being on their side.
Poppy had some health problems in recent years, but he still managed to entertain people anywhere he went with his sarcastic banter. I loved hearing people stories about that and so many other things last night at the visitation.
When we found out we were adopting a boy about eight years ago, I knew I wanted him to have part of Poppy’s name. Benjamin Lucas is named after John Lucas. I hope my son is a steadfast influence in people’s lives too.
My family appreciates your thoughts and prayers as we adjust to Poppy’s physical absence, but we are grateful for his legacy.
So, what are you looking forward to this week? How can you show up for others?
Mary Geisen says
Thank you for sharing about your Poppy. The reminder of how loving others is about showing up and being on their side is one I hope to carry with me daily. Prayers as you journey through this new normal without your grandpa.
Thank you, Mary!