Paul Hainault, my maternal grandfather, died yesterday. He was 90 years old, and had been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer two and a half years ago (at that point, it was already metastasized to his bones). He didn't just survive those years, he lived them. From what I've heard so far, it sounds like he died a quiet and peaceful death.
I've been thinking a lot since I got the news about the things Grandpa taught me. More than my other grandparents, this is how I will remember him, as someone who directly and indirectly (through how he lived) taught me a great many things. Perhaps this is appropriate, given that he spent many years as a teacher, a professor at Michigan Tech, but none of the others were teachers as their profession. In any case, here are some of the things he taught me (in no particular order).
Grandpa taught me to print clearly and quickly.
Grandpa taught me there is almost always time for a game of cards.
Grandpa taught me that if a story is worth telling, then it's worth telling well and repeatedly.
Grandpa taught me that faith is about how you live, not just how you spend Sunday morning.
Grandpa taught me how to live all of the marriage vows, most recently "in sickness and in health" -- you just do it, no matter what.
Grandpa taught me that it's okay to be passionately interested in a topic, even if it's a topic that seems odd or unnecessary to others.
Grandpa taught me that people are more important than money. Always.
Grandpa taught me to look and see the wonders of nature and the world around me.
Grandpa taught me to sleep whenever you need to and can.
Grandpa taught me to enjoy the drive, and try new routes when possible.
For the record, Grandpa is not the only person who taught me these things. But these are some of the things I will remember about him in particular.
God bless you, Grandpa. God certainly blessed me in giving me so many years with you here as my Grandpa. Give Granny a hug and a kiss and tell her I love her, eh? I will miss you both, always...