My sweet grandpa passed away about a week ago. I was debating whether or not it's even appropriate for me to write on a blog about something so unbelievably personal, but a tribute is a tribute, right?
Papa had a heart attack, and even though my brave little grandma rushed him to the hospital, his tired heart didn't make it. Emily and I flew down to Las Vegas this weekend to help get ready for the funeral, and it was an odd experience. I've never lost anyone particularly close to me, at least not at an age where I understood, and it was all a bit surreal. Everything from reading his obituary to finding old photos to display was enveloped in this quiet sadness, that all the hugs in the world couldn't fix. Monday was a pretty day for a funeral, but when we walked outside it was super windy and my mom started to laugh. She said she'd bet me $5 that if grandpa were there he'd say, "Damn wind. Look at it mess up my 3 hairs." Somehow that set the mood for the day, and we just decided to say what grandpa would say and do what grandpa would do. In true Robert Wilcox fashion we drank Coke, ate hot dogs from Costco, and grabbed as many chocolate chip cookies as we could carry.
Papa was a popular guy. The benches of the chapel were lined with old students, old athletes, old friends, and a few of the little kids he liked to scare/tease. I only knew him for 20 of his 80 years and the more stories I heard, the more obvious it became, that I had only experienced a small part of his Legacy. Listening to so many people talk about how he had influenced them for the better got me thinking about how Papa had changed my life and changed me. He taught me a few very important things.
1. The Yankees are the greatest team to ever play baseball.
2. Coke is always the beverage of choice.
3. Frank Sinatra is real music.
4. Never hide your legs.
5. There is never any substitute for hard work.
6. Red roses are the only roses to buy.
7. You love unconditionally.
I have a very real testimony of the plan of happiness and the Atonement. I know with a surety that he is in a much better place, and very likely making fun of me for shedding as many tears as I have. But, I will always miss him asking me to swap his diet Coke for real Coke, calling me "legs," his famous "what are you looking at?", swatting my butt with his cane, asking me if I was working hard, and telling me that he loves me. Our little family will remain incomplete for a little while, and we'll definitely miss him. But, there's a peace that comes from knowing that we'll get to see him again, and punch him in the arm for his terrible timing.