My grandpa (dad’s dad) passed away from lung cancer at age 81 in 1995, so it has been awhile, but am missing him the past few days, I think because we are just back from the British Isles (including near Liverpool and Birkenhead, where he and his parents were born), although he was also was an American patriot.
Like all of us, he had flaws that I think were generated by his background and some extent generational, but on the other hand he was good to his family and he made an effort throughout my life to make time for me, whether it was taking me golfing, coming to my ballgames, or playing me a game of pool (he had a pool table in his basement). Although he was a large, booming, gruff former drill sergeant, I always knew he cared for me. I also always felt welcome at his house, even after he remarried in 1982.
I drifted from him a little bit the last 5 years, partly because I was focused on my future wife M, partly because some of his biases were hard for me to take in my early 20s, and partly because I was fighting through some of my own invisible demons at that age. I really wish that I could tell him right now how much I appreciate that time and effort he gave to me.