Today I said my final good bye to my grandfather. As I left the funeral home, I went up to the open casket, brushed my left hand across his white, soft hair. A tear drop fell in the casket as I said, “Goodbye Papa Charlie,” and then I walked outside to waiting family, tears falling hard.
It was difficult to watch my grandmother have to walk away from my grandfather today. They would have been married sixty years on August 11th. I cannot fathom what she must feel like, having been married for that long and not have him to look at tonight. She told me tonight that she is worried about leaving him in the ground because he will be so cold. It broke my heart to hear her say that.
I want to remember some things from today, so…..
The casket covered with an American flag as my grandfather’s close friend and family carried him across the cemetery to his place of rest.
Large fluffy clouds filled with rain on one side, the sun shining on the other.
Beautiful strikes of lightning hitting in the distance.
My brother in his Marine dress uniform standing next to his wife, saluting my grandfather.
My Dad and Aunt surrounding my grandmother.
The tears of love flowing from so many.
My grandfather’s close friend wiping down the casket from some rain droplets that had fallen on it. He wanted it to stay dry before they closed the vault on my grandfather.
My father selecting the perfect rose to lay alongside the pallbearers flowers on the casket.
The gun salute, my grandfather was retired Air Force.
My cousins, constantly hugging my grandmother.
My grandmother receiving the folded flag from the men in uniform.
I took pictures at my grandmother’s request. I was glad I had a job to do at the graveside. Getting to capture those last moments with my grandfather above ground will get to stay with me.
I will miss him a lot. A few weeks ago, we said our last in person good byes. I have never received such a heartfelt, “I love you.” I could feel the “I love you” inside me, it was the most genuine expression of love I have ever received. I will remember that moment forever. Now my heart aches for my grandmother as she learns to live without “her Charlie.”