Gregory Pettigrew (etherial) wrote,
Gregory Pettigrew

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Today is a bad day. I am tired and frustrated and lashing out at people and - oh by the way - I'm speaking at my grandfather's funeral. It's not very good and I'm pretty sure I'll come off as a self-centered ass, but at least it's the truth:

When I heard that Dap had died, I went to my journal and wrote down every detail I could remember. He is the only grandparent that I have had the opportunity to get to know as a person. He was more than a friendly smile, more than a strong pair of hugging arms, more than a sweet-smelling pipe, more than the source of presents and dinner conversation. I don't want to remember some idealized version of him. I want to remember him for who he really was.

He was a meddler. He always had an opinion on what you were up to, and he wasn't afraid to share it. He also wasn't afraid to let the matter drop if he wasn't making progress. He knew when the conversation was over, and he had learned, probably the hard way, when to let things go. In his final days, he often spoke of how satisfied he was with his life, and how he was accepting of his coming death. It would be easy to call this bravery, or cynically call it "giving up", but it was simple candor. He was never afraid to speak his mind, whether you wanted to hear what he had to say, or whether he was uttering an uncomfortable truth.

He was also stubborn. I think of the sunburn he got on his arm some years ago. He ignored it, lived with it, until, when he finally saw his doctor, he was simply told that it was "too late". Oh, it came in handy sometimes, he recovered quickly and well from both knee replacement surgeries. But when I have a toothache or a problem at work, I try to remember the stubbornness I inherited and get the problem fixed quickly in spite of myself.

I wish I knew more about him. There are so many stories I can't quite remember, so many details that are fuzzy. He was a living breathing human being with faults and virtues and I hope to never forget them. His actions, good and bad, can be an inspiration. I will always treasure my memories of his honesty, and I hope to be forthright because of them. And I will always remember the pitfalls of his stubborness, and I hope he can help me overcome my own.

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