Saturday, September 11, 2010

Someone is looking down on me. RIP Grampa 11/21/28 - 09/08/10

I made the tough announcement earlier this week while on vacation, but I wanted to take a moment to write down my thoughts. On Wednesday September 8th, in the late afternoon, my Grampa went with God, he is now up in heaven with his son and family & will be watching over us.

I found his obituary on Friday, and reading it I learned wonderful things about my grampa. I am so proud of the man he was. Check this out...

"Richard J. "Dick" Marshall, 81, beloved husband of Mary Jane (Mulrooney) Marshall, died peacefully Wednesday, at his home with his family by his side. He was born November 21, 1928 in Schenectady, NY. Richard was a graduate of Fairfield University, Class of 1951, where he received his Bachelor of Special Studies Degree. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Staff Sergeant during the Korean Conflict. Dick spent his entire career in the Insurance Industry. After retiring after 30 years as Director for Royal Globe Insurance Company, he joined Frank B. Hall and Co. as a Vice President and Corporate Director, and retired after more than ten years as Senior Vice President. Dick was a member of and counter for St. Mary's Church in Simsbury, was an avid golfer, a member and Past President of the Simsbury Volunteer Ambulance Association and Past President of the Stratton Forest Homeowners Association. He also was a volunteer driver for McLean's Meals on Wheels and an active volunteer with Boy Scout Troup #176. Dick was a car buff, having owned more than 67 cars over the years, but the one he most regretted trading in was his '65 Mustang Convertible. "

I knew that he had been in the service when he was younger, but I never knew what he did. I knew that he was an active member of his local RC Church. I also knew that he always worked in the insurance industry, but I never knew he went to such heights. I know he was proud that I was following in the family footsteps by also having a career in the insurance business. He mentioned several times that when he was younger, he had given great thought to starting up an insurance agency, and he wondered what would have happened if that had been fact. He didn't know that his (ex) daughter in law and granddaughter would both have careers in the same business. I have to wonder as well.

My grampa was a HUGE car buff. It was a family joke that when he bought a car, it would last only until time for the first major service. Another story -he went out for milk and came home with a new car. I remember a year where he had 3 different cars. My Grandma was exactly the opposite, she liked to keep and maintain her cars for years. He learned very quickly, that while he could trade in cars (as long as they were his), her car was to be left alone. When he got bored in retirement, he worked for local dealerships as a car swap driver. He would be the man picking your new car up from one dealer & driving down to the local dealer- oh how he loved that job.

That man had a giant sweet tooth. His sweets of choice for as long as I could remember were gingersnaps (with coffee or milk), homemade strawberry rhubarb pie, cake, and ice cream. He would routinely get gifts of homemade sweets from my stepmom that he hoarded like a miser & would say that it was all his.

He loved all his family and when my niece was born, he was over the moon with being a great grampa. He had the great honor last year of walking my cousin down the isle for her outdoor wedding. It also happened to co-incide with his 56th anniversary with my grandma. He joked and asked me if I was going to be walking down the isle any time soon. While I laughed it off, I do know that if and when I get married, I will be missing him.

Shortly before Christmas last year he got the news that he had a melanoma that metacised to his liver. He underwent chemo, and a few months later, a grim discovery that he now had lesions on the brain. Radiation followed. Since the beginning of the year we saw the ravages that the cancers were taking out on him. About a month ago we realized that he was stage 4 and untreatable. He was a-typical from the start- he didn't suffer or have horrendous pain that many other cancer patients have. I went to see him at home right before vacation and said my goodbyes and kissed him. I knew that time was getting short, and that this was going to be my last visit. I wanted my memories of my grampa to look like he always was, not the man that was confined to the hospital bed in his home. My last thoughts of my maternal grandpa was hard, he had Alzheimer's and I remember him weak, frail, and not knowing who we were. I wanted better memories of my paternal grandpa.

I love you grandpa, and I know that uncle John and cousin Johnny have already welcomed you home.

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