Last week was hard.  But also beautiful.  And terrible.  And lovely.

I sat in a room filled with family as we all shared stories about my wonderful grandfather.  We laughed as much as we cried and the nurses looked the other way when we smuggled in my grandfathers dog – Buster – for a final snuggle before he passed.  It was a hard thing to witness, but beyond the sadness of his last moments I witnessed the greatest people I’ve ever loved gathering to be there for the kindest man I’ve ever known and it made me realize how lucky we are to have someone who is so hard to say goodbye to.

“This is what it’s supposed to be like,” I told Victor.  “A celebration.  Kindness.  Understanding.  Laughter.  Compassion.  This is how you know you made a difference.  This is what we all should hope for in the end.”

I learned stories about my grandfather I’d never heard before.  About being raised by bootleggers during prohibition and inventing imaginary cows and working on planes in the military.   He was the most religious man I’ve ever met but his brand of religion was in kindness and love.  He was a quiet man but he wasn’t afraid to speak out when the church made what he thought were recent missteps.  Hailey came out as gay at the same time his church decided to not conduct gay marriage and although I never knew it he let his disappointment in their decision be known.  I know that he’d have felt the same way whether Hailey was gay or not, but it was so lovely to know that he was fighting for her and for others like her in his own quiet way.   I wonder how often others are fighting for us behind the scenes.  They say that you never know what battles others are fighting at the moment but I often forget that we never know how many good and wonderful people quietly move the world forward in such important and positive ways.  Those people don’t make the news.  But they make the world.

If you read my post before this one you read about the silver moth and how I saw it as a sign that we’d all gather together to be with my grandfather as he flew away home.  On the night that he passed the moon was so enormous in the sky that I pulled my mom and sister outside and we stared at it in silence.  August’s full moon is sometimes called The Flying Up Moon, because it’s when birds fledge and fly away.  It felt like a sign.  But things often do when you are reaching for meaning in sadness.

Then at the burial my grandfather’s dear friend told a parable about belief in the afterlife even when you doubt and it seemed fitting.  And then everyone gathered together at the grave sang a song I had not been expecting.  I’ll Fly Away.

I am a girl who believes in signs.

My grandfather was such a force for good that he leaves a hole in the world.  I hope to fill it.  With compassion and love and forgiveness and generosity and most importantly joy.  Instead of flowers he asked that people support Planned Parenthood or Bread for the World or – most importantly – to go out and commit a simple act of kindness for a friend or loved one or a stranger.

Be kind to one another.  It makes a difference.



214 thoughts on “Papa

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I love you, Jenny, and I will go out and do something awesome for someone in his honor since I’m a little tight on money at the moment. <3

  2. Your grandpa was adorable and the kind of man I wish I’d have been able to meet and know. <3 I’m so sorry for this enormous loss but happy that you got to actually say your goodbyes and receive the little messages he sent you. xoxox

  3. This is beautiful and heartbreaking and I’m so sorry for your loss but agree with your gratitude at the good fortune of having such a force of positivity and light in your life. My grandfather passed last November and your description of your grandpa is so similar to mine. Now I need to go back to NOT crying at my desk at work…

  4. I tried to do an act of kindness today; a colleague left his badge at work and couldn’t get back on base after lunch. I walked off base to get it to him, stepped off a curb… and fell flat on my face in the road. 😂
    Oh well, I tried.

  5. That was beautiful. I’m sorry for your loss, but so happy for his life. I’m glad you had someone so wonderful in your life.

  6. Beautiful, Jenny. Your grandfather was a wonderful man and you are continuing his legacy—thank you so much for everything you do to make this world a better place. Sending much love and peace to you and yours today.

  7. He sounds like a truly extraordinary man. How lucky you were to have him in your life! And how hard it must be to lose him. Sympathies.

  8. Your grandfather sounds like a lovely man. How fortunate you are for having in your life!

  9. Jenny, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m thinking of you & your family.

  10. This was a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. Godspeed sir, your family’s got this.

  11. I’m so sorry for your loss. As a nurse, I promise I will always help smuggle in a dog for a final good bye. I’m so glad you were able to be with your family during that time.

  12. ❤❤❤ Blessings to you and your family, I am so happy that your grandfather was a blessing to you.

  13. This is really lovely and I’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss. I also wish you’d talk more about the made up cows, but maybe it’s too soon.

  14. I am sorry for your loss of such a wonderful man. I hope the signs keep coming and remind you that they are still with us, sending us love and support. I see signs from my parents often and it is always a comfort!

    Sending big hugs to you and to all who are missing people today!

  15. Thank you for sharing your lovely tribute to your grandfather. I also believe in signs, and while I know his death has left a hole in the world, he seems to very much still be here in the moth, the moon, the music, and all of you who love him so much. Sending much love and healing and future joy to you and your family.

  16. I am sorry and glad for you at the same time. To have learned such great lessons and be prepared to carry them forward is such a sign of love and respect for this honorable man. And you and yours have learned it at an early age and have the resources to fulfill his legacy. Happy memories to you, and peace.

  17. Thank you for these well formed words. I also believe there are signs everywhere. I’m sending you light and so much love.

  18. What a beautiful legacy he leaves full of people who adored him. That song is special to me, as I sang it at a dear friend’s graveside – it is one of hope, of rebirth, of sadness and joy all at the same time. Thank you for sharing such special, difficult, vulnerable moments with us.

  19. May his memory be a blessing to you and your family.

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

  20. Jenny, you fill that hole already, so consistently it’s overflowing, spilling joy and kindness all over the internet. We take it and spread it in our lives and neighbourhoods. The world will keep getting better because of your grandfather, because of you. Thank you both ❤️

  21. Sorry for your loss Jenny. Being kind to others is a wonderful way to be remembered and honored.

  22. What a wonderful tribute, and what a gift for Hailey to have her Great Grand Father alive at an age where she can remember him. This is sweet and touching and and hard and wonderful. Thank you for sharing once again.

  23. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenny. He sounds like an amazing man who has obviously been a huge influence on you, because you are definitely following in his footsteps with your kindness and generosity, the way you stick up for people, and the joy you bring to all of us. <3

  24. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s always hard to lose a wonderful grandparent. He sounds like he was amazing. Sending hugs.

  25. I am so sorry for your loss. You were lucky to have him and he was a blessed man to have lived his life surrounded by loved ones. In the end that is the most we can all hope for. To love and be loved and you all are. My you find peace in knowing that he has left a legacy to kindness, hope and fighting for the powerless.

  26. You often fill the gaps in my life with your candid posts that give so much to many you’ll never meet. I hope you feel the love and thoughts for comfort and peace so many are sending to you.

  27. I’m so very sad for your loss, Jenny. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being you.
    …it’s RAK time.

  28. This was beautiful. My grandmother recently had a stroke and we’re just waiting for the phone call.

    When I had my daughter in January, it was the same day my neighbor growing up was taken off of life support. She was my adopted grandmother. When we got home with my daughter, there were two doves waiting on our fence. My father had passed 7 years before, on that same week. My husband and I believe the doves were my father and neighbor, checking in on the little girl they would never meet but would have loved above anything. The world sends us signs. God or nature or whatever you wish to believe. Our loved ones are always there, just out of sight.

  29. We recently lost my dad, another kind, generous, queit soul who left the world a better place than he found it. My kids also called him Papa. I hope he meets your Papa wherever they are, kindred spirits in eternity, watching over us. Peace, Jenny.

  30. Beautifully written. The world was made brighter by your grandfather and family. AND by YOU. My family always sings I’ll Fly Away. It has been a tradition for over 100 years, and will continue.

  31. What a perfect song. I also seek signs from the universe, and I’m glad that there are others who watch for joyful signals on the wind and in the sky.

    Sending my love to all of you.

  32. What a fabulous send off!! I am so pleased you could all be there, including his fur-fur. They know what is happening too. Love from all my heart…….

  33. Oh Jenny, your grandfather sounds like he was just the best person, no wonder he was so loved by so many. The picture of Buster with him is so sweet, it’s almost like Buster is saying Can you believe he’s going to leave us? I’m so sorry for your loss, hugs to you and your family and Buster.

  34. I am sending buckets of love with all of your names on it. Your grandpa sounds like a super rad guy. ❤️

  35. What a wonderful man your grandfather was. I am sorry for your loss but I know he will be in your hearts forever.

  36. I love your tribute. I am a doubting Thomas when it comes to organized religion, but I am a believer in the healing powers of love and nature and song. I feel actual, real, love for you, Jenny — an author I enjoy but have never met — not because of your books (though they are ridiculously fabulous) but because of this post. This post brought me right into the room with you and I felt so much love for you and for your grandfather who was, clearly, one of the very best of our (human)kind. I’m sorry for your loss – for the ripped seam in the fabric of your universe – but I am so happy that when you were in the midst of all that sadness, you were surrounded by, buffeted by, lifted up by…so very much love. Sending true hugs to you and your family.

  37. Thank you for sharing this very personal and sad time in your life with us. I wish we didn’t have to say goodbye to the people we love, that you didn’t have to say goodbye to your grandfather. The grief can feel overwhelming, but we only grieve deeply what we have loved deeply. I hope that you find comfort in all the good memories you have of your grandfather, and in the love of family and friends.

  38. Sending hugs and love. It’s said a lot, but grief is truly the price we pay for having amazing people like your grandfather to love. This is a beautiful remembrance of him, and he was surely lucky to have you too. I lost my beloved aunt unexpectedly last week, and happened upon Stephen Colbert’s interview with Anderson Cooper recently where he talked about loss and grief. It helped me tremendously, just to pass it on to everyone.

  39. I’m so sorry for your loss, but you’re right that it’s good to have people in your life like he was, even if it means missing them.

    I just love this: “It felt like a sign. But things often do when you are reaching for meaning in sadness.”

  40. Jenny, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Dad last summer and the size of the hole his passing left in both my heart and my life is breathtaking. But I try to remember how lucky I was to have him in my life for as long as I did; not everyone is so fortunate.

  41. What a beautiful way to remember such a kind and gentle man. My grandfathers were wonderful and I loved them with a ‘different’ kind of love that was always specially reserved for them. Whenever I smell freshly cut lumber or see someone with a ‘chaw’ of tobacco in their cheek I think of that special love. Jenny, let your good memories sustain you and hold on to that special love. ❤️

  42. PS I believe in signs, too. My Dad was an internist and he donated his body to science. On the eve of the first anniversary of his death, I was running on a local path. Just as the song “Superman” came on I happened to look at a tag on one of the plants and it read “I donated my body to science.” I dissolved in a puddle of tears.

  43. So sorry for your loss. I lost my grandfather 4 yrs ago. I only have 1 grandmother left and she’s 95.

  44. My condolences on your loss. He sounds like he was one of the best of that generation and I just love that he asked for donations for planned parenthood. Don’t know of any men of that vintage in my family that would be that thoughtful.

  45. Jenny, I recently buried my mom on May 4. She was a Medicine Woman and Pipe Carrier and she taught me to believe in signs too. Her Indian name was in Lakota was Wambli Wasu Winyan which means Hail Eagle Woman. Mom taught me that when she passed to look for feathers. About a day or so after we gathered at McKinley Beach in Milwaukee to say goodbye I encountered a drummer playing on the street and I invited him to my Artist’s Way Circle and handed him my business card and $5 tip. He thanked me profusely and packed up and left me alone on the street. Then all of a sudden hundreds of sea gulls circled above dropping white feathers. This was a sign from Mom. Telling me she is still with me. Encouraging me to continue my work supporting Artists and fighting for the underdog and social justice. That I am not alone in my Creative Journey. Love 💕, Wenona

  46. I too believe in signs. It’s kind of like learning a new language.

    When you are ready, I would love to hear the story about inventing cows!

  47. What a lovely man! Sorry for your loss. Ditto what Krista said – I don’t know of any men of that generation in my family who woulda been that thoughtful regarding his donation request (and so many other details you shared).

  48. I hardly ever cry, I’ve become so jaded and hard. But your story just broke me open a little. I love you.

  49. You were blessed to have such a grandfather. He was blessed to have such a granddaughter. We are blessed to have such a Bloggess. <3

  50. I’m of the belief that the afterlife is what and when people remember you. Imagine what a wonderful afterlife your grandfather has, not only from his gentleness, but from all the memories you’ve shared today.

  51. What a beautiful tribute to man obviously worthy such admiration. I’m certain he felt just as honored to have you in his life.

  52. I wrote this for my sister as she was dying:
    Let me sit beside you in that dim hall
    While you wait for Eternity to fulfill its promise
    We will be children again
    Running and laughing
    And twirling and twirling till we fall down
    And I look up
    And you are gone.
    Life is a fragile spark
    A flash of light on water
    We enter to great applause
    And wish on stars
    Bang our heads against walls
    Cross our fingers and take a chance
    Always counting on the days to come
    Until we find ourselves here
    Without tomorrow
    Only this one certain moment
    That has always been moving toward us.
    Let it find you greatly loved!
    So I will hold your hand here
    Till you let go there
    And soar across the universe toward God!

  53. Sorry for your loss Jenny. I had to let you know how much you are already filling the space he left with kindness. You’ve been doing it all along. Your kindness and honesty have reached all the edges of the world. They were all signs and I’m sure you’ll keep getting them.

  54. I’m sorry for your family’s loss. How fitting that you are his granddaughter. I know that he would be so proud of you and the difference that you make in the world.

  55. Your grandfather, and you, give me faith in humanity. There are people out there fighting the good fight. I’m sending all the hugs and comfort your way. He sounds like an awesome man and it sounds like his impact will not be forgotten. <3

  56. I strive to do kind things for people every day because people like your grandfather continue to show me it does make a difference. I’m so glad you had such an amazing man in your life and sorry you have to know one without him. By sharing him here though, we all have part of his light for our own. Thank you! <3 <3 <3

  57. He sounds like a lovely person. You are doing very well continuing his legacy and passing it along to the next generation. Never, ever doubt that you make a difference.

  58. You have in turn blessed us with knowledge of a wonderful man, his beliefs and actions. His legacy is a worthy goal. I am thankful for experiencing this beauty.

  59. I am so glad that your grandfather sent you and your family beautiful signs to recognise and bring you comfort during this difficult time. Faith is a gift, and I’m lucky to say I have faith in a number of areas. I believe in signs as well. I know something is a sign when I feel it deep in my gut.

    My husband’s grandmother passed away on Saturday. He saw a hummingbird hover unusually close to him on our patio the day she passed-didn’t seek out flowers-just hovered. He also saw a hummingbird years ago when his father died. Moments after he got the news a hummingbird flew near his 2nd story bedroom window and lingered.

    I believe our loved ones help us from the other side, which includes sending us signs that bring us comfort, peace, and healing. I’m sure your grandfather was delighted and comforted that all of you gathered at the hospital lovingly the way you did with Buster in toe for him, but also for each other. I’m sure he also deeply endorses the touching tribute you carried out both at his service and also what you wrote here. Love never dies…it simply transforms.

  60. His memory will be a blessing. How lucky you all were to have him. How lucky you all are to have each other.

  61. Jenny,
    I am so sorry for your loss and really what sounds like a loss to all of us, given the kindness he put into the world. I’m also so very grateful for your way with words and your willingness to share this story with us all. It puts into words exactly why I get up every morning, even when I’d darkly rather not. Because even when it hurts to breathe, I can choose to be kind. Every person and all their moments and acts of kindness matter forever more, even if one never sees the impact.
    Again, I am so sorry for the loss of your grandfather.

  62. You are right, Jenny- we all would be lucky to leave such a beautiful legacy of love and kindness. Love and Light to you and your family. ❤

  63. Jenny, I’m so sorry for your loss, but so happy you had such a wonderful man as a part of your life.

  64. You are right, Jenny- we all would be lucky to leave such a legacy of kindness and love. Beautiful words, beautiful tribute. Sending Love and Light to you and your family. ❤

  65. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sounds like your grandfather was a really great man. You’ve shared a wonderful tribute to him with us, thank you.

  66. He makes you know this world is capable of so much goodness and it was so much richer for him being in it. Thank you for sharing him with us, I hope the seeds of kindness he has sown will thrive and multiply.

  67. Many people don’t realize that the universe is communicating if you only take a moment to listen… and it sounds like you did. So many hugs <3

  68. What a beautiful tribute you wrote about your grandfather. He sounds like an amazing individual. I’m a hospice nurse and people often tell me they don’t know how I do it, but in my opinion, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. You’re so right about what it’s supposed to be like when you pass and know that you have made a difference. Yes, death is sad but it can also be beautiful…a beautiful reminder of what truly matters in this crazy world & it brings us back to prioritizing what’s important. You’re an awesome person who has made me laugh and cry through your writing. Thank you for all you do for those of us who are “mental”❤️🙏🏼

  69. I’ll Fly Away was the song at my grandfathers funeral as well. He loved it. I also lost my dad on Friday the thirteenth. August if 2010. When he passed we walked outside of the hospital several dragonflies were buzzing right in front of us. Every time I see one, it reminds me of my dad. When I am having a bad day ( which occurs often, unfortunately) I see a dragonfly. I totally believe in signs.. . God bless y’all. Praying for you and your family.

  70. This was just lovely – and just a little heartbreaking. I am so sorry for your loss and wishing you and your family peace and comfort.

  71. Thank you for sharing this. Loss is hard. Grief is hard. It’s a testament to the depth of love.

  72. What a splendid human being your grandfather was and how lucky you are to have had him in your life. I love that you’re committed to filling his spot with love and kindness – I join you in your pledge. Hugs and love to you and your family.

  73. i am sitting at my desk at work crying. tears of joy your grandfather is very proud of you, spreading love and joy the way you do.

  74. I am so, so sorry. He seems like a wonderful man. Peace and love to you all.

  75. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather. It sounds like everyone paid your grandfather a great tribute by being there with him and by sharing stories about his life. It’s wonderful that Buster was able to say goodbye, as well.

  76. You are already filling in the hole left by your grandfather. You give us truths, a place to come together in our strangeness, & a lot of laughter. Thank you for being you. Remember him with love & laughter.

  77. I commented on your ‘gram’ post I believe yesterday it was, that when we find beauty within pain, we are truly living. This blog is by far one of my faves of yours! I believe in signs too! In an ignorant and selfish world I struggled to find hope in after losing my infant son and than partner of over a decade soon after, you couldn’t be more correct that the “many good and wonderful people quietly move the world forward in such important and positive ways. Those people don’t make the news. But they make the world.” It took a few years of self discovery and some profound grief to realize that those good and wonderful, people and things is what deserves my time and attention. I created a blog in January to document and show that there is beauty to be found. My Afterglow. We all have one in the wake of darkness. In deepest sympathy to you and your family on the loss of such a wonderful man. May his greatness carry on through you all and through his shared memory. Beautiful words, Jenny.

  78. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul. A Cardinal visits me from time to time –my Grandmother who made her transition at 103, a couple of years ago … body is temporary; spirit, eternal. Praying peace and comfort for you and your family.

  79. So sorry for your family’s loss of your grandfather. Blessings to all of you in this sad time. Just a reminder to cuddle Buster because he is sad, too.

  80. The legacy your grandfather has left you is alive and well in you. Amen to all you said. My deepest sympathies. May your spirit fly away with joy every time you think of him and may your sadness at his parting be that of someone who knows that this parting is temporary.

  81. What an awesome person. Thank you for sharing him with us. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤

  82. What you wrote was beautiful and touching. What a loving tribute. I am so sorry for your loss, but so glad you had this wonderful man in your life.

  83. What a wonderful person. He left a pretty high bar for us to live up to, but I know I’ll do my best. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  84. lovely, lovely, lovely. So sorry for your loss but what a wonderful person to have had in your life.

  85. I’m a girl who believes in signs, too. Thanks for sharing this one with us all.

  86. What a lovely tribute to your grandfather who must have been a lovely man.
    I like his wish that friends go out and preform an act of kindness instead of sending flowers.
    I’m also curious if his church was the Methodist church which recently voted not to conduct same-sex weddings.
    As a member, this was a great disappointment.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  87. Thanks Jenny for posting the song and video. It brings me such joy and serenity. Sorry for your and everyone else’s loss.

  88. I realized recently how fortunate I am to have a family that always says I love you and mean it, that always give hugs and mean them too.

    I had someone I care for pass away and I see signs everywhere. Sunbeams filtering through clouds just as a shared favorite song comes on. Deer that stopped and stood only a few feet from me just as I was thinking of my lost friend and just hung out for a while. I joked that they were the sun in someone else’s sky (a bit of unrequited love here) and after they passed I thought of them as a new star in the night sky, and I’ve seen a couple of shooting stars.

  89. Hugs to you <3 My Gramma was the same kind of person and my mom is very similar too. Big shoes to fill but the happiness (and occasional frustration) I feel as I try, try, try every day to fill them is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous and wonderful story with us with every blog post, every tweet and every Instagram photo.

  90. This was beautiful and gloria and heart breaking. What an amazing tribute. you can feel the love.

    Thank you and may you find peace in all of your wonderful memories.

  91. I want I’ll Fly Away at my funeral. If it’s in the faith tradition I follow, they will not allow it. But, who knows?
    I am so sorry to read about your grandfather, and so glad you were be able to be there. Although this is hard, it is a gift not granted to many. Grieve now, never let anyone tell you “please don’t cry.” As you know, the scar forms and occasionally that grief scar starts to itch and you grieve some more. But, it becomes a memory and a treasure to remember your grandfather with.

  92. I’ll Fly Away is on my memorial service playlist. Which we all have, right?

  93. I look for signs everywhere and believe in them fiercely. Also, that is one of my favorite songs by the incomparable Allison Krause ❤️ Wishing you and yours, love and light in your difficult time.

  94. I look for signs everywhere and believe in them fiercely. Also, that is one of my favorite songs by the incomparable Allison Krauss ❤️ Wishing you and yours, love and light in your difficult time.

  95. This is life and death and love. The sweet, the bitter and the magic. ♥️

  96. Sending hugs and love to you and your family. It’s wonderful that you have a close family that will gather like that and tell stories and share memories.

  97. what a blessing it is to me to get to read your stories about everything, including this very personal moment. thank you for betting open and oh so kind. you are already doing him proud. i will pass the kindness on.

  98. I am so sorry for your loss. Your relationship with your grandfather sounds so similar to the one I had with my grandmother. I was lucky enough to be with her when she left this planet and flew home to be with my grandfather and her beloved sisters. That moment changed the trajectory of my life — I saw the beauty of the life my grandmother created and how precious it was to be surrounded by family and love at the end of life. So after deciding in my early 20s to never have children, I changed my mind — I now have a 4 year old girl. . . named after my grandmother.

    Sending you love – what a gift to have known and loved him.

  99. I am so sorry for your loss, but so filled with joy at the man your grandfther was, and the legacy that I believe you carry on. Blessings to you and your family and thank you, Jenny, for all you give us weary strangers on this journey we call life.

  100. Dear, sweet Jenny. Though I did not know your grandfather, I love him, too. I am profoundly sorry for your loss, and grateful to have your writings in my life.

  101. Dear, sweet Jenny. I did not know your grandfather, but I love him, too I am profoundly sorry for your loss and am grateful to have your writing in my life…..

  102. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenny. It sounds like your grandfather made a huge impact in this world… and wishes others to do the same. Good for him for being one of the good ones…

  103. I was just saying to a friend today, “Why can’t we all just be kind to one another?” This was said in regard to the zipper merge, but I meant it in a larger context as well! This administration has me so depressed I just want to be as kind as possible to everyone in every situation. I’m sorry you lost your dear Grandfather, but I’m so grateful for the gentle kindness he brought to the world and I’m sure you’ll do a great job carrying on the tradition.

  104. My Dad became the single parent of me when I was three years old in 1962. He fought hard at 26 years old to take on a toddler single-handedly. He raised me right and was my hero. All my life, my Dad was the person I would call for advice or just to chat, fly from Portland OR to po-dunk North FL. He died last May. He made me strong.

  105. Dear Jenny – what a lovely man and a lovely tribute. I’m sure he will be in your lives for a long time to come.

  106. I believe in signs, too. I’d never seen a red cardinal on the east coast, where I grew up, or in California, where I settled. After my mother died in 2018 I was sitting in the kitchen of the lovely people who took me in after I lost everything in Los Angeles, and a red cardinal appeared in a tree outside their kitchen window in Madison Wisconsin. I mentioned it to a friend who said that a red cardinal is a recently deceased person coming by to say hello. And then others told me the same thing. When I finally got to Paris I noticed a painting my stepfather had and gave to my mother. It is huge and I so want to take it home with me when I leave France. It had a red cardinal sitting on one of the branches. I’d never noticed it in all the decades I’ve looked at that painting.

  107. I never knetwo of my grandfathers as they died before I was ever born. I have two faded memories of my step-grandfather. He died when I was too young. I wish I had more. Family, and kindness, love and peace, theses are things that are important.
    Thank you for this read. I am sorry for your loss. God bless you and you family.

  108. Sending you so much love Jenny. Your kindness and compassion are so needed and appreciated, I can’t even begin to tell you how much.

  109. May your memories sustain you as you mourn the loss of this special man. l
    Love and light. Sincerely, Robin Mead

  110. I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for the generosity and beauty in sharing your Papa’s passing.

  111. Thank you once again for sharing your life with us. This was such a beautiful tribute that I cried and I’ve never met you.

  112. Thank you for sharing your Grandpa with us. My face is leaking now. Thanks for sharing yourself so generously, too.

  113. Last night, I dreamed I was with my grandma and we cuddled a lot. That was the whole dream, it always is when I dream of her, and I always interpret it as if she’s actually come to give me love again when I need it the most. She was just like your grandad, and my best friend, my greatest support. She died ten years ago last June. I woke up and cried because I miss her. I read this and cried again. I am so, so sorry for your loss. ❤️

  114. I had just sent a donation to Planned Parenthood based on the Title X news, then I clicked your link and started weeping. I hope it’s just a droplet compared to the wave of support they see due to Papa.

  115. Awww. I think “bootleggers and imaginary cows” needs to be worked into some part of your book store — in text, in a mural, printed at the bottom of every receipt, whatever.

  116. ” Those people don’t make the news. But they make the world.” Can I get an Amen?

  117. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. It has been my experience that the people we care about remain close to us. May the memories of your grandfather be a blessing. Namaste.

  118. Thank you for sharing your grandfather, your family and your love and loss. Sending you and yours lots of healing thoughts. xo

  119. Jenny, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that your family continues to share his stories with each other. My stepdad passed away at the end of July. I got the call that we needed to get there soon, and my family arrived as quickly as we could. He waited for us to get there, and took his last few breaths. While I’m so sad for my children to have seen their Papa pass, I’m so glad they saw the love we all had for him.

  120. What a phenomenonal person to have had in your life. I am deeply sorry for your loss but I love how you celebrated his last life step with grace and laughter and tears. We should all be so lucky to be celebrated like your grandfather was.

  121. Sending you so much love and gratitude for sharing your love and grief with all of us. We are all lucky that your grandfather was in this world.

  122. What a lovely tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss-sending you love and positive vibes.

  123. Jenny, you’re already doing a wonderful job of filling holes in human hearts with love and support and laughs and warmth.

  124. What an amazing legacy he left behind. So much love and compassion. And because of you, the world gets to know him and celebrate him too. What a gift. <3

  125. Sending love to you and yours during this difficult time.

    When my father passed, I got a 2:45 am call to come RIGHT NOW. He was probably already gone, and I was 90 minutes away. I busted *** and got there in 45 minutes. I missed saying goodbye but Dad had previously suffered from a AAA – abdominal aortic aneurysm that burst, and he survived for 2 years, so I had those 2 years I should not have had.

    Dad wasn’t religious. But seeing his body was possibly a final gift from him – it was clearly no longer him, you could have hung a sign “Moved – left no forwarding address”. But the sense of him wasn’t gone. Just no longer a part of our world. I mourned and I still mourn, but it’s due to my own loss, not his. Wherever “he” is, he’s fine.

    We also lost a really great guy at work recently – it was sudden and, despite his health history, completely unexpected. Jack was a really great guy, one of the nicest and kindest men I’ve ever met. I try to carry his legacy forward, to keep a part of him with me. It’s one of the best things I think I can do to remember him.

    Reminders to appreciate the ones you have while you have them, and to be kind, are always appreciated.


  126. What an absolutely beautiful tribute and a sign of how you became who you are. Blessings to you and your family. I have two gay daughters and understand the struggle with churches or companies or individuals who cannot move past their belief systems. My oldest daughter and I discuss this often on when is the time for me to make a hard stance and speak out against ignorant comments made by so called friends, or retail stores, or anyone unaccepting of the LGBT community. When do you walk away and boycott a store (every time for me) and when do you stand up to offensive comments? I was meant to have the children I have and I love them unconditionally for all that they are.

  127. So sorry for your loss. Your grandfather sounds like a tremendously special person who lived the kind of life we should all strive for. You’re filling his shoes admirably!

  128. Thank you for sharing him with us, Jenny. I was doing fine, loving your excellent words, until I listened to the song. It’s always been one of my favorite hymns, but this time it caught me hard in the feels. We lost my dad a few months ago, similarly after a long time expecting it, and that video hit me harder than his funeral did. Thank you for giving me an excuse to let it out.

  129. Jenny – I am so sorry that you lost your grandfather – he sounds like a wonderful man.
    I’m glad you have a lot of good things to remember him by, and we can all only wish to come near the goodness that he did in life.

    Though I’m sure you’ll make it. 🙂

    And yet another sign it’s time to increase the monthly donation to Planned Parenthood…

  130. Sending love to you amid your loss. Now, and as long as you need it, until your heart heals. Your grandfather sounds like the best kind of human, and hearing about him is healing my heart today.

  131. how lucky you are in your family, and how lucky you are in yourselves. If we must die (and we all must) this seems to be the best way, with our favorite dog and our favorite people all around.
    And the kindness of nurses who allowed his dog to be there.

    Be well, Jenny. He doesn’t hurt anymore. There is that.

  132. I’m sorry for your loss. I lost my last grandparent, my dear grandmother, almost two years ago and I still wish I had that amazing woman in my life.

    You are making a positive difference in the world already, and I’m sure your grandfather knew that while he was still on this earth. Just as I’m sure wherever he is now, he still knows it and is looking down on you, fondly and with great love.

  133. Beautifully written about a beautiful man. I wish you and your family well on your road to healing the hole in your hearts.

  134. Love and hugs to you and your family. This is a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. Cherish the memories.

  135. So sorry for your loss. You speak of your grandfather the way my wife speaks of her late
    grandfather. She is Native American. When her grandfather passed, to honor him & move
    through her grief, she made what she called a tribute jacket. It is beautiful buckskin all hand
    cut, sewn & elaborately decorated with beadwork of tribal motifs & the Comanche tribal
    seal on the back. Now, wherever she wears it, he is with her. I thought it was a great
    tradition to create something that reminds you of your loved one & represents the best
    of yourself at the same time. Maybe you will write his story? Wishing you peace.

  136. What lovely words and what a beautiful tribute. He made your world a better place, and was clearly loved.
    Thank you for continuing his tradition. The world is a better place with you in it.


  137. If it weren’t for my late grandma, I wouldn’t know about unconditional love. Grandparents are an amazing gift to our lives. I’m so happy that you had your grandpa and his love in yours. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

  138. Oh Jenny. I’ve been sitting here, staring at the picture of Buster and listening to I’ll Fly Away and just weeping. What a beautiful tribute to a truly wonderful person. My heart goes out to you and your family as you mourn.
    A song you may like is “A Gathering of Spirits” by Carrie Newcomer.

  139. Sorry, let me try the link again.
    A song you may like is “A Gathering of Spirits” by Carrie Newcomer.
    If that doesn’t work just google it (I suck at links).

  140. I have been present when someone has died and it’s a very moving experience. I considered it an honour to be there. I still miss my Grandpa and he died over 45 years ago. He was a wonderful man.

  141. My condolences to you & your family.
    And on Buster’s behalf, my thanks for bringing him to say goodbye too, so he understands. Our animals understand more about death than many people believe — and although Buster will be sad, he won’t believe himself abandoned. Good for all of you & the nurses too.

  142. I am sorry for your loss.

    I found when my grandparents passed, it was more of a passage for them than an ending. I was sad for me because I wasn’t going to see them again, but I was at peace for them. It sounds like your grandfather’s passing was beautiful. <3 Sending you love.

  143. “My grandfather was such a force for good that he leaves a hole in the world. I hope to fill it.” Your post reminded me of when my own parents passed on, and I love this line. It’s the best we can aspire to. And your words already help make you a force for good. Grateful to have read your healing words, which are a force for good. Condolences on your loss.

  144. I love the synchronicity of all the signs! I wish we could all have a Papa like your Papa. It seems he was The Best.

  145. Way to make me cry!! Beautiful tribute to what sounds like a wonderful man. Love to you and yours as you grieve this loss.

  146. Tears of happiness. My grandpa wasn’t my blood but what a great guy. Bus driver for the local school and had a yearbook dedicated to him. In 2006 my dad passed and people in our town came by. One man and his wife happened to stop by. The man grew up in our town and remembered my grandpa flying his “plane”, landing in the cornfield and giving rides to the kids who raced over there. Go figure. I never Met or knew that man but what a memory!

  147. I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather. He sounds wonderful and well-loved. I am so glad that Buster was able to come in for a last hug I’m sure it meant the world to them both. Hugs and blessings for you, Jenny.

  148. Thank you for always filling the world with compassion and kindness. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man, and I’m glad to know him, even this little bit.

  149. Oh Jenny, I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing him with all of us. Your commitment to living your truth and sharing his story spread his memory and his big heart far and wide. It seems like just the sort of light we need more of right now. That and the sacred passage your family gave him are the most beautiful tribute anyone could ever hope for. I’ll go donate for him. You just keep doing him proud.

  150. Hi. I came to your blog because I’m a FB fan of eShakti. I am awaiting my first order at the moment, and thought I might enter your giveaway, because I’m already looking at my wish list and thinking of what to order next.
    And then I kept reading. And I’m writing this instead.
    I love the way you write, and I love your grandfather. LOVE him. Thank you for sharing these sacred moments with a stranger. I want to be a better, more gentle person from reading them. I think you’re wonderful, too. It is clear that he loved you, so very much, and you have honored him well here. Thank you.

  151. I am so happy that your family had such an amazing celebration for your grandfather. As usual, I am touched by your story—but as an ICU nurse I am doubly touched by your family’s presence at his bedside (and Buster!) as he passed 💓

  152. Looks like your family got to say goodbye in a lovely way. That’s the best you can hope for. Sending love your way.

  153. My father passed away a few years ago but before he did he told me the meaning of life – and it sounds like your grandfather would have agreed with my dad. The meaning of life is this: there is a good force and a bad force, and we are put here on this Earth to move the world a bit closer to the good side. My dad was also a strong silent type that was quite religious but in a way that didn’t always agree with the Church. I am sorry for your loss but glad that you had someone so dear to you in your life.

  154. Just reading this post now and tearing up like I’m sure you did when you wrote it. I am so sorry you had to lose this lovely man and wonderful grandfather, but how lucky you had someone so inspirational to help make you who you are. No wonder you turned out so cool. His lovely spirit is flying free somewhere and resting after a job very well done.

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