Saying Goodbye to a Great Man: Grampa Passes at Age 90

This last week was spent saying my goodbyes to my Grampa Roger W. Eastman, he passed away at age 90 just about a month shy of turning 91 years of age. This is a man who was in WWII, was on a school board, part of the VT farming bureau and so much more. This man did so many things and what I learned at his funeral was that he was a man who loved food.

One tidbit of information shared at his funeral was that he was a man who loved food to the point that he would choose his hospital based on the quality of their food and he wouldn’t allow them to check him out of the hospital until they served him lunch.

I giggled at that, this man truly was an amazing man from a generation full of other amazing people. This is a dying breed, I don’t think we have any generation the same as this one around these days. A man of honesty, integrity and while he wasn’t known for being super sentimental, I always got a hug from Gramps. Just about two months before he passed I recall giving him a hug, and seeing him toss his head back in a little laugh while we chit chatted watching my three kids run around. I love this man dearly, he meant so much to me.

I recall learning to play solitaire with Grampa, he would play that with me a lot when I was a super young child. Another memory that came back to me was when I was younger he would always take the Mini Pages out of the Sunday Paper for me, he did this well into my teen years. I faintly remember telling my Dad, when I was a teen, I am too old for this and my Dad told me to accept the Mini Pages from my Grampa because it was important to him. You see, that is how I was raised, whether you like it or not you respect your elders and you accept any gift given to you, even if you feel you are “too old for that gift” because that is simply what you do!

Grampa Roger W EastmanI attended my first open casket wake, I walked into this place not knowing what to expect. My friends had told me that this could be really hard on me and some couldn’t believe I was taking my children with me to open casket. I felt if my children wanted to go, they could, we talk about death and life a lot around here. My middle child didn’t want to go, so I allowed him to stay home but my oldest age 11 and youngest age 6 decided to go with me to the wake. Ki and K spent most of their time in the room sitting with their Great Grampa resting peacefully in his coffin for us to all wish him farewell. I walked in with tears in my eyes, but quickly noticed my Grampa looked at peace. He looked happy. I felt a sigh of relief, this was a man who was resting in peace, finally. He has had a rough half a year if not longer, and now he truly looked like he was resting in peace where he should be after living such a long, wonderful life!

My youngest and my oldest child agreed, the youngest even went on to say that “Great Grampa looks like he is happy, as if he has eaten ice cream his whole life”, leave it to my youngest to make me giggle at a wake. He is a sweet boy, and I could tell both of those children loved their Great Grampa and looked up to him. I am blessed in more ways than I can express and I feel as if my Grampa is resting in peace, up there in Heaven with the mother of his children who passed away when my own father was a baby. Grampa lost his wife when their five children were between the ages of 1 and 14 years of age … they are both laid to rest next to each other now and I bet they are happy to reunite.

I said goodbye to Grampa, it was hard, and it was sad. As the guns fired off that salute for this WWII vet, the music of the instrument playing is what put me into tears, unstoppable tears. I felt so sad in that moment, yet so happy that my Grampa led such a long, fulfilling life. I still cry from time to time, when a memory hits me, and so I ask you all to bear with me if I seem sad, this is partially why – I have lost a grandparent for the first time and while it’s great that he lived a full life; it’s still sad for me in moments when I think about the memories of him.

I love you Grampa and may you Rest Peace.

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