"Were you close to your Grandpa?" My co-worker asked me. As I thought back over the lifespan of my relationship with my Grandpa, I decided that we weren't close in the classic sense. He wasn't a traditionally affectionate man. There weren't a lot of hugs or kisses or nicknames like 'sweetheart' or 'princess', that I can remember.
What I do remember is his laugh, and how he would slap his hand down on the dining room table while he did it. I remember wild pony rides on his knee and thumping his big belly while he told us he had a watermelon growing in there. I remember how he would crunch our knuckles together while shaking our hand so hard that our arms would shake like jelly. I remember him threatening to give us a 'knuckle' sandwich. I remember him telling us when we pouted to stick our bottom lip out further so a bird could fly by and poop on it.
My Grandma is the thread that holds our family together but my Grandpa was like the batting of a quilt. You don't realize how much it adds until it isn't there. While my family gathered in my Grandparents house, the same house they have lived in my entire life, on the evening of my Grandpa's funeral service, it was just like old times. There was a lot of laughter...a lot of happiness. And yet, there was something missing...as there always will be.