Sunday, March 2, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Grandpa

Hey there, I just wanted to pop in for a moment and say 'hey' to everybody, including all the new followers. I assure you, I'm not usually this quiet on here! The past couple weeks I had a steady stream of posts planned, mainly on my Tasmanian and Great Lakes road trips, but then one of those unplanned, unfortunate life events happened; my Grandpa died.

It came as a shock to everybody, as he was doing all his usual bumming around and making jokes the few days before we received the call about him being rushed to the hospital in critical condition. I knew it was serious, but he'd had heart problems before. I assumed he'd come out the hospital as he usually did in the past. But this time he didn't. A group of us gathered around him as he took his last breaths.

While I don't usually get too personal here, on the blog, this seems like one of one the more worthy personal details of my life worth mentioning. When I was twelve, my grandpa had retired and sold everything on his farm after my grandma had died. It was sad seeing that part of his life being sold off at auction, but it gave him a freedom that led him all over the U.S. and abroad.

Being so young at the time, it was hugely influential on me, especially as he started using a digital camera and need my help with processing his photos. I started itching for my own adventures as I went through the memory cards of his first few trips around Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii.

While I've always been determined to get a bachelors degree, mostly out of sheer stubbornness, I took a few years off of studying to fulfill the urges to explore. My Grandpa took advantage of his retirement to adventure, I didn't want to wait until then.

I really think the standard to shoving kids off to college right after high school is a waste of the new found freedom of adulthood. After a year and a half into my studies, I dropped-out and moved to Australia while meeting and badgering foreigners with questions about the world of traveling. I liked school, but I didn't want to get stuck in the same rut as everybody else, fulfilling what we're all 'suppose' to do as we graduate.

Before I go off on too long of a tangent, I'm going to bring it back to my Grandpa, who I was fortunate enough to have with me my first 24 years of life. Half of those, on the farm, doing chores in the barn. The other half, seeing his more adventurous, worry-free side. It's bittersweet not having him around anymore, but at least he was still able-bodied and free to do all his usual mischief til the end. Never once did we have to see him suffer, and while I selfishly believe he should have lived another 25 years, I am happy that he had a good 74, almost 75, years on earth.

I'm going to get back to my flow of posting more regularly, but these last couple weeks away from the blog had been much needed as everything sunk in and the family gathered to prepare all the proper arrangements.

 It's been close to two-weeks since he passed, and it still feels so surreal. 

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