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
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.