Sunday, September 09, 2007
I just recently got to know my Grandpa Rod. He is my mom's stepdad and was married to my Grandma Trish before I was born, but I never really knew him until a few years ago. Growing up, we didn't spend much more than one day a year with him and Grandma Trish because my grandma had a somewhat strained relationship with my mom and her sisters. I have to confess, I never really thought much about Grandpa Rod. He seemed nice enough and collected model trains, which was cool, but I didn't mind that I knew so little about my own grandpa.
About six(?) years ago, Grandma Trish and Grandpa Rod moved from Dallas to Eddy, a small town about 15 minutes away from Waco. Our family all wondered how that proximity would change our relationship with them. We started spending more time together, and all of us grew closer to them, but I think the focus was more on Grandma than Grandpa. In January of 2005, Grandma Trish passed away after battling lung cancer. Shortly after that, Grandpa Rod discovered that he had cancer, too. My mom quickly assumed the role of his primary caregiver, driving him to appointments, making sure his house was clean, etc. All this meant that we started seeing a lot more of him. And without my grandma around, things were more pleasant. Sometimes it was awkward, having this grandpa we barely knew, but it was also really nice, since our other two grandpas died when we were all little kids.
Grandpa Rod had fascinating stories about his time in the military and other adventures. He was extremely smart, having worked as an engineer most of his life. Besides his love of trains, he also was an avid star-gazer. His declining hearing made it somewhat difficult to carry on a conversation with him, but I enjoyed listening to him tell stories. Like me, he was a reader and always had a recommendation for me. When I visited him in August, he loaned me Water for Elephants, which a friend of his had just sent him. He really liked talking with Darby, a fellow scientist, and when he found out Darby was wanting to buy some tools, he gladly gave us a bunch of his.
Grandpa Rod died on Saturday morning, the cancer finally taking its toll. My mom and his daughter Tracy were with him. I'm glad God gave me the opportunity to get to know him better before he died. Grandparents are a true blessing, and I have been blessed abundantly.