When I was young, I couldn’t say grandpa, and so I called mine Pucka.
He died in 1987. I was 7. And yet, his death still moves me to tears, all these years later. I still feel a massive hole in my life at him not being here.
I’ve been talking about him a lot lately. To my children. To Sean. To my good friend, Rebecca.
I resolved this year to make it out to the cemetery where he is buried. Not as a resolution per say, and not as a part of my service focus. Just for me. It’s not far from where I live. Within a couple of hours. Yet I haven’t been since I watched him be buried in his casket on the day of his funeral when I was all of 7.
I asked my mother if she could give me some information regarding which cemetery he is in exactly. And she’s been super helpful. And this prompted/ opened up some conversation between us that I don’t think would’ve happened otherwise. I am amazingly grateful for this bit of conversation. This was my grandfather, someone I felt a huge bond and connection with. I can’t imagine how it must’ve felt for her to lose her father. She was in her early 20s, barely an adult herself.
I remember my dad taking my older brother and I out to a vehicle, it may have even been my Pucka’s van, to tell us that he had passed. I can remember reading the eulogy before the funeral and not understanding half of it. Our family wasn’t really religious, though I knew ideas of Heaven and Hell. I found all of this very frightening and confusing though. I didn’t find any of these possibilities satisfactory nor did I find any of them reassuring. I wanted my Pucka to be here with me still.
I chose, at 7, to be present at his funeral. It was an open casket and I remember viewing him. He looked healthy but not entirely like himself… Maybe that’s my idea of what he looked like though after the other funerals I’ve been to in more recent times. I remember a lot, but 1987 was a long time ago.
I’ve been finding myself sharing my stories and memories with those I care about and who are willing to listen. I know my grandfather had his demons. He was an alcoholic and that made him seem like someone he just wasn’t at times. But I know all too well how that works.
Regardless, he is a man that made me feel loved. And I hope that each and every person has someone who can make them feel like that in their lifetime. I think he would’ve been proud of me. I hope he would’ve been anyway. And it is a huge sadness that him and my children will never know each other.
I hope that families remember to share their stories. They are so important in remembering our love.