Monday, November 26, 2012

My Grandfather

Granddad and I on our last road trip to NC.

I've come to my blog several times over the past month knowing what I must write about next, but I just haven't been able to do it. You see what I need to write about makes me think about a huge loss I suffered last month that I've been trying to go about life here in Abu Dhabi pretending it isn't real. Kind of like remembering the event as only a bad dream. That is until I get the urge to pick up the phone and talk to one of my biggest fans, and realize I can't.

On October 16, my son's 17th birthday, my Granddad Eubanks went Home to be with God. Home to be with his wife of 58 years and my Dad who he lost over 26 years ago. Home to be with countless friends and family members he's had to say goodbye to over the years.  Home to be free from pain and free from cancer.

I've said it several times over the course of this past month, I'm happy for my Grandfather. I know he was so ready to go, and I know how very happy he must have been to finally be with my Grandmother again. We've all had to watch as he's longed for her company the past 3 years. 

Then there's the selfish side of me that wants to pretend he's still here. It's not just because he was my last living grandparent either. It's because he was a huge cheerleader and supporter of me and my family in everything we did. He was also my buddy, someone I could always count on to say yes to a lunch or dinner date.

I remember when we decided to make the move to Abu Dhabi I was so afraid to tell my Grandfather, because I knew it would upset him. He always spent a lot of time with my family, and I just didn't know how he would react to the news that we were moving to the other side of the world.

Well, he reacted just like he had all of my life. He told me how proud he was of my husband and I, and he supported our decision. That doesn't mean he liked the idea of being far from his great grandbabies, but he told me he knew how great this opportunity was for us and that we needed to take it.

Perhaps, he knew I needed his blessing. Leaving him with his age and declining health was the one thing that bothered me most about moving to Abu Dhabi. Thanks to modern technology, we were able to get past the many miles that separated us.

I'm pretty sure my Grandfather had my Google Voice phone number( a free US number I have) on his speed dial. Several times over the past couple of years my heart dropped when that line would ring and display my Grandfather's number at what I knew to be the wee hours of the morning in the states. Usually, when someone is calling you at 3am their time it's never for good news.

Not the case with Granddad, it would always be him on the other end sounding wide awake and ready to chat with me. My initial question was always "Are you ok?", followed by "What are you doing up at this hour?". He would usually say the cat or dog woke him up, and when he saw the time he knew I would be awake so he called to chat.

Oh, how I loved those chats about anything and everything. He always wanted to know every detail about what was going on in my life as well as my husband and kids' lives. We could spend an hour just going over the kids' sports. I used to joke that he was like their agent, always trying to broker deals with me to pay them if they scored or better yet if they stopped the other team from scoring.

Even better, were the chats that I got to share with him in person on my summer visits. Granddad was always willing and ready to go with me anywhere, and we normally ran our mouths the entire time we were together. He didn't mind doing simple things like going to Walmart or the hardware store with me. He would always follow me around a store in a motorized cart like a speed demon helping me search for the best deals on whatever I needed. Shopping usually ended with food, and that was almost always Carolina style BBQ, a meal we both loved. We even did a couple road trips to NC this summer with him riding shotgun. Those are trips I will cherish forever.

I am blessed to have had him in my life for so many years. He was always the supporter and fan that I know my Dad would have been if he could have. So, for me to have to write this and really acknowledge he's gone is tough, and it's taken over a month. I'm going to miss our 3am talks and BBQ dinners, but most of all I'm going to miss having someone that made me feel as though they were incredibly proud of me.

I love you Granddad.

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