Saturday, July 22, 2006

About My Grandfather

My Grandpa VanderKooy passed away early Friday morning. I can't be home for the memorial service, so instead I am posting a poem on my blog.


About my Grandfather
(1921-2006)

In his last days he was like an Egyptian ruin.
We viewed him as archeologists
reconstructing what he was with our expert knowledge.

The playful jokes, winking catchphrases, stern opinions,
cigarettes and butter toffees had faded and rubbed away
leaving a few words and some nods.

I want to remember reading books on his lap
(he would say the words wrong on purpose)
and answering Bible questions right for a nickel
(not as lucrative as answering “who do you look like?”
with “my handsome grandpa” for a quarter).

There’s a more recent memory, sharper in my mind
from a day when his mind was only beginning to blur.
He asked my grandma to write a list
of his grandchildren’s names
that he studied before we arrived.
He called us by our names as we walked in the door
and I learned the story later.
I haven’t forgotten that small act:
Fiercely gripping his drifting memory
and quietly proving what was important to him.

4 comments:

Ron Hatton said...

Dear Bethany,
Please pass on my condolences to your family on the passing of your grandfather. I don't want to bother your dad with a phone call right now, but I am glad you posted this here.

-Fr. Ron Hatton, a friend of your father's

Anonymous said...

Bethany, your dad wrote me yesterday to let me know your grandpa died. I'm very sorry for your loss. Your poem is beautiful. It must be very tough for you to not be able to be there at this time. We'll all keep you in our prayers.
Love, Stybba

the chickens' auntie said...

Bethany,
I'm so sorry to hear about your grandpa's passing. Your poem is lovely and, along with the picture, captured the essence of the man you loved -- he looks so joyful! I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.

twingiraffe said...

Hey Bethany, sorry to hear about your Grandfather. Though the poem seems to really sum up a lot of your memories and is quite touching. Take care my dear.
~Ruth