I remember back in 2008 everyone from my Dad's side of the family went down to South Carolina for my Dad's surprise 50th birthday party. Some people stayed at a hotel, but grandpa Gene and grandma Doris were staying at my parents' house, along with me, Rob and my sisters. As funny and/or embarrassing as this may sound now, Gene and I had the same exact Verizon flip phone at the time. One afternoon I could not find my phone anywhere. I remember looking everywhere and asking everyone, including Gene, if they had seen it. Finally I called my number from another phone and I see Gene pull out 'his' cell phone thinking he got a phone call. I was like Gene! That's my phone! He still insisted it was his, and I had to go up into his bedroom and find his actual phone sitting on his night stand and bring it down to him. I never really knew if he was pulling my leg or actually thought my cell phone was his.
Grandpa Gene passed away yesterday. He had been ill for a few years now, so while it is always difficult to say goodbye and accept the loss of a loved one, I think everyone also feels a sense of peace knowing that he is now at peace and not suffering anymore. More than anything I feel for my grandma. The past few years have not been easy and she has been by his side every step of the way. She visited him at the nursing home multiple times a day, every day. They truly were a great pair.
This weekend a lot of family members, including myself, will be traveling to St Charles, Ill. for the funeral service. Even though we aren't getting together for a fun beach vacation, and funerals are never easy, it will still be nice having everyone together since it really doesn't happen very often anymore. I'm even lucky enough to get to sit next to my sister Michelle on the plane from Charlotte to Chicago and back!
I promise it was a coincidence Gene is wearing the same Largemouth Lager fish sweatshirt in the picture from my Dad's 50th birthday party and the picture of him and Grandma Doris at dinner on the last night of our family trip to Mexico. That was just his style, and he pulled it off well :)