Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday in Heaven, Grampa

On August 2, 2012, my grandfather passed away. My sister and I were always close to grampa. I remember growing up visiting the farm and spending hours playing outside in the fields and surrounding woods. My grampa was always one to tease, he would refer to my sister and I as "pests" and threaten to feed us to the coyotes if we did not do as we were told. Everyone knew that teasing was grampa's way of telling you that he loved you. I come from a good French Catholic family, my mom is one of five children and I am one of twelve grandchildren. Every single one of us took grampa's passing hard.

My grandfather passed exactly 10 days before what would have been his 80th birthday. After a long a difficult couple of months, my mom thought it would be a good idea to celebrate my grampa's birthday anyway, so that my family could gather together again with happier circumstances. My grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins agreed and over the course of a day or two the event was planned. It was a simple, nothing fancy, a family barbecue with burgers and hot dogs, everyone brought a dish to share. Country music was playing and horseshoes were thrown. We also had a balloon release, as a means of sending our birthday wishes up to grampa in heaven. My grandmother, along with each of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren each wrote birthday wishes on a balloon. After the count of three, and a big "Happy Birthday" the balloons were released to the sky.

Following the balloon release, we had birthday cake. My cousin Ashley managed to get a photo cake put together with less than 24 hours notice. The cake was perfect, complete with a pipe. My grandmother and the original five posed with the cake before we cut it. Notice all the orange, that was grampa's favorite color.

Overall, it was a wonderful day. It was nice to spend time with family, and we all needed something to smile about. I think grampa was happy that we had the party as well, because shortly after the balloon release the sky cleared and the sun came out. My mom saw a rainbow her drive home. Grampa, let it be known that words will never describe how much you meant to our family. You will be forever in our hearts and sorely missed. You were a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and I am sure that God has set aside a farm in heaven, just for you.

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