Today my heart is a little more heavy because at home my family is celebrating the life of my great grandpa Howard Ego. One of my concerns when I moved out to Kansas for school and now, that I am staying here, is the fact that these things are going to happen, and I’m not always going to be able to be there. But even though that is a scary thought, the passing of Grandpa Howard left me with a little bit a warmth and encouragement.
It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that just how much age has impacted my family structure and given me the opportunity to experience what many others don’t get to have. My family is really young, so not only do I have very close relationships with my grandparents, but I have known almost all of my great grandparents. I have been able to see life through their eyes, and to see how good it really is. To know that there are many trials that come upon us in life, mountains to climb and dragons that we won’t be able to conquer, but at the end of our lives all of that will be outweighed by the good things is in my mind the best gift that they can leave us with.
When my mom asked me if there was anything that I wanted to share about my memory of Grandpa Howard, I immediately thought of two things: hard work and his hugs.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am a very stubborn person, but my Grandpa Howard was stubborn and he was known for his hard work, and that makes me extremely proud to be a part of this family. Growing up I always heard about the daily dedication that Grandpa had toward his work and how he spent his life focused on the needs of others. I know that he was well-respected and was always humble. This quote from Thomas Edison sums him up well.
“The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.” – Thomas A. Edison
The other memory of my Grandpa Howard that will always stick with me is his hugs. A person who gives really good hugs can be hard to come by, and my grandpa was amongst the best. His hugs were big, he held you tight and he always, always picked you up. You always got one when he first saw you and when you left, and he usually tried to tell you that you had grown, even though I stopped growing when I was twelve. And even though Grandpa didn’t smile much, he had those twinkly eyes that I am convinced he reserved for those that he loved.
I’ll remember family camp outs, going to get ice cream with him and Willie, that his beer battered pancakes and french toast will always be my favorite and that I always got so excited when I got to hang out in his camp trailer in the afternoon and play cards together. I am very thankful that I had the chance to know and love my Grandpa Howard, and to have felt his love and learned from him in return. Its hard not to be spending the day with my family but I know that the next time that we are together, I will see a little bit of Grandpa Howard in each one of them.
And to Grandpa — thank you for being a strong example of what it means to live a full life filled with love. I am really going to miss those hugs.