A Quiet Night

Last night my grandpa died after a brief illness, at the age of 85. My brother and I went down to the hospital yesterday to see him and despite the fact that he was lying in bed, unable to really speak or eat, and drifting in and out of sleep, he perked up as soon as we came in the room. He smiled and reached out his hand for us. This made me immediately grateful that I had spent the morning hurriedly making arrangements for the kids and had taken the time to come and see him. But also, it reminded me of how he always greeted me, whether I was calling on the phone to say hello or coming down to visit them for lunch, he was always so excited to see us, gave enthusiastic hugs, and made me feel like my visit or call was important to him. When I saw him yesterday, it really hit me for the first time how much it meant to me that he was always happy to see me and made sure I knew it. The was a real gift he gave me.

My parents went to sit with my grandma today and took Marko with them to cheer everybody up. Marko seemed to know he had an important job...when they picked him up this morning he said goodbye to M, Laurel and I, and seemed eager to get out the door. Now he's staying over for his very first overnight away from us without Laurel. At first she was enjoying our undivided attention, but she was too lonely to go to sleep in their room by herself, so she set up a little camp next to our bed.

My grandparents would have been married 63 years in January, and for many years my grandfather would tell us how long they had been married to the day. I guess it was a bit of a hobby for him, to keep track of all that. He always, up to the last time I took the kids down in September, showed us his tomato plants. He wasn't fancy and you could generally count on there being ice cream in the freezer and Coor's Light cans in the fridge door. He felt every year he lived was an accomplishment and a gift.

Here's a link to some photos of Bennie Belski. Rest in peace, we will miss you and always remember you.


Anonymous said...

Sweet tribute, Katy. Thinking of you.


Anonymous said...

Your Grandpa Belski was a kind, gentle, sweet compassionate man. I will miss his contagious smile and the wonderful laugh he had.
Aunt Laine