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Grandfather passed...
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Mr. Farmiga
Join Date: May 2004
2007-12-04, 14:36

At 12:28am this morning, after a short bout with pancreatic cancer (and a failed surgery to remove/fix some things related to it; everything just kinda went south last night - complications, internal bleeding, organs not functioning as they should, etc. - around 6:00 or so, and it was a steady spiral down to the end).

He was 86, a World War II vet, a truck driver and probably the nicest, most unassuming and down-to-earth man - no, person - I've ever known. Definitely one of those "they broke the mold" kinda guys (I don't think there are many of them left like him...perfectly content with the smaller, simpler things in life, didn't have to prove his "worth" with any outward possessions, devoid of petty venom, worked hard his entire life, always voted and took it very seriously, told you his opinion/stance on something and the reasons why and never lied or acted like a jerk to anyone).

I spent three hours with him, just this past Saturday, before he went into the hospital, talking about the things we always did - country music, the world, family, his dog, NASCAR racing (he was a Jeff Gordon fan), my life and what was going on in it and the cool war stories I always pulled out of him...he served in Burma, driving supply trucks along dangerous, curvy stretches of mountain roads.

He and my grandmother (who passed three-and-a-half years ago) practically raised me. They're in all my earliest memories, and I spent as much time with them, at their house, as I did with my Mom and Dad at our house! I'm glad I'm from a family of camera junkies, because we've got tons of photos...

So just a weird "hole" there now. Some people you just don't imagine "not being there". He was one.

His name was Howard, and I loved him very much. He knew that, and he passed surrounded by all his children and grandchildren. I just wanted to say a little about him, and share him a bit with folks here. Isn't the same, driving past that house (as I've done twice today), knowing neither of them are there anymore. That'll take some getting used to...

Anyway, this isn't a pull for sympathy or anything like that. I just wanted to "share" the man with people I feel close to in many ways. He was my little "bald-headed buddy"...

On twitter: @bwyatt
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Near Indianapolis
2007-12-04, 14:41

Thank you for sharing, Paul. My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. Take care of yourself.
Veteran Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
2007-12-04, 14:43

We need closure, it's part of the human condition. Talking about our loss isn't a "pull for sympathy" after all that's been shared here in this forum. It's a continuation of the same pact we all make when we contribute to the discussions that start here. If we don't want to share or be a part of what others share, we wouldn't open the Pandora's box that threads here represent (remember, "Hope" was also in the box she opened).

Howard will obviously be remembered kindly, and I can think of no better reward in this life.
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New York?
2007-12-04, 14:48

Thank you for sharing, pscates. I'm not a tearful guy, but grandparents are always subject that wells up my eyes. I didn't have mine for very long, and I've always wished I had more time with them. It sounds like you had a wonderful grandfather, and you got to enjoy him to boot. My condolences.

"How could you falter / when you're the Rock of Gibralter? / I had to get off the boat so I could walk on water. / This ain't no tall order. / This is nothing to me. / Difficult takes a day. / Impossible takes a week."
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2007-12-04, 14:50

My condolences.
Dark Cat of the Sith
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
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2007-12-04, 14:53

My condolences. I'm glad you told us a little bit about him; he sounds like a very rare kind of man in today's word, and you're lucky to have gotten to know him. It sounds like he made rich the lives of all his family and friends.

"A blind, deaf, comatose, lobotomy patient could feel my anger!" - Darth Baras
twitter ; amateur photographer ; fanfiction writer ; roleplayer and worldbuilder
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
2007-12-04, 14:55

What chucker said.

I always find myself terribly short of words in such circumstances.

is the next Chiquita
Join Date: Feb 2005
2007-12-04, 15:07

Sounds like a great guy- would have liked to meet him.

My condolences.
Veteran Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Arizona
2007-12-04, 15:16

Originally Posted by chucker View Post
My condolences.

Thanks for sharing
Banging the Bottom End
Join Date: Jun 2004
2007-12-04, 15:24

Sorry for your loss. Sounds like you were very close to him.
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
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2007-12-04, 15:44

I am so sorry about your loss. a close family friend also passed of pancreatic cancer. it is the worse type of cancer b/c once you know it is there you are almost already dead. very very sad. *hugs*
Dorian Gray
Veteran Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Paris, France
2007-12-04, 16:19

It sounds like he had a full life. Maybe too full, with that Burma stuff!

I have great respect for such sincere, humble, hard-working people. Sad to see their numbers thinned.

… engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams.
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
2007-12-04, 16:22

I enjoyed what you shared about your Grandfather.

I offer my condolences on his passing.
Tweeting @kierankelly
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
2007-12-04, 16:24

I'll echo what's been said.

Sounds like he was a great individual. My condolences.
On Pacific time
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Moderator's Pub
2007-12-04, 16:35

Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
So just a weird "hole" there now. Some people you just don't imagine "not being there". He was one.

His name was Howard, and I loved him very much. He knew that, and he passed surrounded by all his children and grandchildren. I just wanted to say a little about him, and share him a bit with folks here. Isn't the same, driving past that house (as I've done twice today), knowing neither of them are there anymore. That'll take some getting used to...
I know you must be grieving, Paul. The loss of loved ones can be so very, very difficult for those left behind.

But, you are so incredibly fortunate to have lived in close proximity to your extended family, and to have been able, as an adult, to share quality time and conversations with your wonderful grandfather.

My heartfelt sympathies and hugs at this difficult time.
New Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Clemmons, NC
2007-12-04, 17:08

Sorry for you loss. My deepest sympathies to you, your family and all those who loved you grandfather.
Hates the Infotainment
Join Date: May 2004
Location: NSA Archives
2007-12-04, 17:13

Sorry to hear the news Paul. Our sympathies (even if not the reason you posted) and best wishes to you and yours. But how cool that you had someone like that in your life growing up, etc. I'm sure he had some great stories to tell over the years.

Sadly I never knew either of my grandfathers. One was a first generation immigrant, the other a 2nd generation I think. And listening to my family, they had some stories to tell too. Sometimes I think you could learn what you need to carry you through life from a cool grandpa, more than just about anyone else. Hope you guys are able to spend some good family time together to remember him and some of his stories, funny traits, etc. Sometimes that's the best way to deal with these things.

...into the light of a dark black night.
9" monochrome
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I'm here
2007-12-04, 20:02

Deepest sympathies Paul. It is wonderful to hear how close you were to him and how he was surrounded by the ones he loved before his passing though. That is a blessing.

And, not to take away from how you are feeling, but I know what you mean when you wrote that it isn't the same driving past his house. My nonna passed in January last year and I felt the same - walking by her house a few times at night (she lived in Lismore, Australia) would bring up many happy memories from my childhood, but it just felt strange to know I had no reason to visit that place again. That was a really tough time for me.

I hope you're doing OK and are finding support from your family and friends. My thoughts are with you.

All I want is a simple life
Veteran Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
2007-12-04, 20:12

Your post is a wonderful memorial and tribute, Paul. The part about your grandparents practically raising you especially hit home. In some ways, you lost a parent today.

Nothing wrong with grieving. But it sounds like you were blessed with him in life. This blessing will stay with you always.

When there's an eel in the lake that's as long as a snake that's a moray.
Veteran Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
2007-12-04, 20:24

My deepest condolences, Paul,
Such a great loss, and so beautiful you can share it with us. Your story and the reactions in this thread evoke a lot of emotion here too. This is life and the only way to deal with it, is to share it. Which is exactly what you do.

A black hole is where god divided by zero.
geri to my friends
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Heaven
2007-12-04, 20:38

Sorry to hear of your loss Paul.
But it was lovely to read about Howard, and i am glad you were able to share that with us.
Ice Arrow Sniper
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Great Bay Temple
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2007-12-04, 21:04

My condolences, Paul.
Likes his boobies blue.
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
2007-12-04, 22:02

Condolences, Paul - it's never easy to lose loved ones, even when it's not exactly unexpected.
Veteran Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Promise Land of Trustafarians
2007-12-04, 22:19

My condolences as well, Paul. This is never easy.
Mr. Farmiga
Join Date: May 2004
2007-12-05, 01:12

Thanks, guys. Been a long, happy (then sad) kinda day. I'm fine and cool, all of us are, but then a memory or thought will flash into my mind at the strangest, out-of-the-blue moments and my eyes get a bit leaky...

But it's only because the memories are so good and full, and because he'll genuinely be missed. It's all good stuff, and they're "smiley tears".

Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts...I do appreciate them, and they make me smile and feel good.

Here's an obit that appeared in a local website (it appears in print tomorrow in the local paper). My Mom chose a great pic...that's so him: his Dickies coveralls, a smile and tomatoes from his garden (the pic in the opening post was the second photo I took on my iPhone, the day I got it...he was amazed at how they fit all those features into "something that little").

Went over to his house tonight (I've had a key to the place since I was a teenager) and just sat in his chair for a while by myself...thinking, remembering and looking at some pictures on the wall. Just felt nice to be there, alone, and do that. His stuff is still there, and just as it was when he left for the hospital two days ago. But it made me happy, and was comforting in some sort of way, seeing his little personal items there on the table beside his chair, his bedside nightstand and kitchen counter. Was nice to see those "pieces of him", still in place and all. I don't know why, it just did.

I'm going to bed...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Veteran Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
2007-12-05, 11:33

I lost my grandfather just about 3 years ago now so although I don't know exactly how you're feeling, I know it's a tough road to go down.

My deepest sympathies on your loss Paul. It must have made his life a little brighter everyday to know he had such a great grandson in you.

You and you family will be in my prayers.

Come waste your time with me
feeling my oats
Join Date: May 2004
Location: there are nice people here...that makes me happy
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2007-12-05, 14:25

paul, it will be interesting if children think the same way about us as we do "that generation"...

my grandfather had his flaws, but he too served in WWII in the pacific rim...he also had many stories and gave his opinions and reasons why...sang in his church choir and every birthday sent you a card with a hand-drawn charlie brown character and punch line...he loved woodstock the best...but perhaps that was the character that was easiest to draw for him?

he died at 87 a couple of years ago...his wife, at 88, followed the next year...they were good people, kind and strong...i miss them both still...mostly i am happy to have known them and for the time i got to spend with them...

take care...


crazy is not a rare human condition

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Mr. Farmiga
Join Date: May 2004
2007-12-05, 15:37

Thanks, g.

Originally Posted by thegelding View Post
paul, it will be interesting if children think the same way about us as we do "that generation"...
I don't know. Most likely not...why would they? I don't mean that in a snarky, "we're not worthy" way at all, but we've not had some history-changing, cohesive and "bigger than ourselves" event or circumstances - and a huge, unified response to it - that define us in any sort of unique, special way. We'll be loved and admired by our children, grandchildren and others who know us, of course. But simply for the people we are, on an individual basis. Not with any sort of "oh wow...those guys from the 90's really stepped up and did something amazing".

Doesn't make us bad, and that's not a gripe. We don't have control over the timing and circumstances that seem to have anchored themselves to men and women of a certain age in this country. And, sadly, as they fade out in the coming decade or so, those feelings will wane as well, except in those who make a conscious effort to remember or think about it. Our grandfathers didn't ask for the thing, and they just did what was asked of them when circumstances beyond their doing required it. It became this bigger, more noble thing, to the rest of us over time.

I can't imagine a modern-day counterpart to that. Short of a full-on invasion from outer space or something (because at this point, I don't think any man-made or earthbound situations would be enough), I can't imagine something so big - and so "okay, we're all in the same boat together...we must do something!" - that would stretch across all these societal, racial, political and other lines, and result in those types of feelings or labels (any sort of great breakthroughs in science or medicine are often a single person, or small, varied group; not anything that's going to equal the "that generation" vibe. It pretty much has to be a huge, awful thing - and the response to it - that would rival that. And you can't predict or manufacture such a thing. Timing is just happened, and became what it became.

We're the iPod generation...we'll be too deaf - and "leveled out" on prescription meds - to even hear our grandkids say they love us.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2007-12-05 at 15:52.
Right Honourable Member
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2007-12-05, 15:59

pscates, thanks for sharing. I'm sorry for your loss.
Less than Stellar Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2007-12-05, 16:23

I can only echo the sentiments voiced in here. It sounds like your grandfather will live on in your memory for a long time to come.

As he will in ours, now that you've shared. Thanks.
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