Well, I don't exactly know how to write this..and I am not sure it's so good to write this on a public journal but I am feeling that I need to get my thoughts out. Today I was presented with some very bad news. My neighbor, whom I lived next door to for 20 years, passed away. He was basically the only grandpa that I really ever knew because my dad's father sadly died at a young age and my mom's father lived far away from us. So Clarence, my neighbor, had taken the role of my pseudo grandpa. He was an amazing man who did not really have any family and had very few that he considered close friends. We were definitely the grandkids that he never had and he devoted many hours to us throughout the years. He never did admit it, but I know that he would come outside at the same time every morning so that he could talk to us while we were on our way to the bus stop and sure enough, each day we'd come around the corner to find Clarence waiting for us as we passed by. We lived on a dirt road and he had been one of the few to pave his section of the road, so he had put up a basketball hoop on his garage for us and painted us a hopscotch board. His eyes sparkled when we would meet with him. He was always very active until about 7 or 8 years ago when his health declined. He'd ride his bike (always carrying a fly swatter to keep away the pests), roller blade, ice skate and take walks. He was an avid hunter and outdoor enthusiast. It was hard for him to get older and become more and more dependent on others. He didn't mind having my mother do the shopping for him when we went to town. He hated driving to the "big city" so that was always a treat on Saturday when we'd stop by with his groceries. He shared "birthday week" with our family (everyone's birthday was in the same summer week except mine) and he joined us for dinners at gramma's house. He was part of the clan. Although some looked at him as a hermit in his later years, I looked at him as a hero. Somone who had the greatest capacity to love and recollect on his past. He'd tell us about the Navy as he shared with us his disney movies, favorite game shows, baseball and hockey games while sipping on pepsi in his koolaide man cups. He eagerly displayed the cards that my sister and I made him for every holiday. I feel bad because I missed St. Patty's and Easter this year....but he definitely had thousands from the past. His mantel displayed pictures of my sister and I growing up through the years and he never failed to mention how proud he was to have them there. He always had his small christmas tree lit near them :) Clarence was someone I could go to to relax. He'd throw darts with us almost everytime we left his house but not before handing us some Omaha steak or other various frozen item that he claimed he "didn't like" but I am sure just wanted to share . I will really miss his house and how he had clipped from Sportsmans magazines various pictures of animals and hung them around his house. He'd always poke his head out the window when we'd swim or boat in front of his house and yell "Clarence..look out here at us" while waving our arms, wildly. When we would do housework/yardwork for him, he'd over pay us claiming that our efforts were well worth the money. he'd alwys join us outside, after he couldn't take care of his yard alone, and help anyway he could while we mowed, planted, painted and clipped. i will never never forget him..never ever.
I am writing this because I came to terms with finding out that Clarence had passed away. I realized that he had lived a full life and for the most part, a happy one. This was until I found out what had really happened. Clarence had decided to take his own life. I was shocked and afraid...and ...lost. I never thought that something like this would happen to anyone I knew..let alone someone I loved so much. I am so hurt right now...I don't know what to do with myself. I know that when people have this idea in their minds, it is already made up...I feel bad though because I was going to see him (I live far away at this point) on Tuesday and it happened on Wednesday. I know that it wouldn't have changed anything. I feel horrible though bc the last time I saw him was 3 weeks ago...I just ran out of time on Tuesday. I hope he knows how much he meant to me and I hope he is looking down on me from heaven and watching over me. I also feel sad that I did not tell him that I got into school for nursing. I found out last month and told him about the school before I found out I got in. I know that he knows now and I hope that he is proud. I hope that my mom and gramma can keep him company...my boyfriend says now that he is in heaven he can walk around without a shirt all the time and no one will judge..his house was like an oven and he always always wore his bathing suit no matter what. RIP Clarence...8/1/1925-3/26/2008
Goofy Daddy long legs (he always called me this...and my sister was Short stuff..ha :) )
Member Comments About This Blog Post
Hey there, I was just checking in on you and read your blog. I am so sorry to hear about Clarence.
Mainerocks couldn't have said it better. ..It sounds like you have some wonderful memories to keep his memory alive in your heart. I also have some "surrogate" grandparents and it's definitely that times you shared that makes the relationship, not the true chemistry
So sorry to hear about your Grandpa!!!
3561 days ago
Oh sweetheart - I'm so sorry. Life's a crazy thing, isn't it? Sending giant hugs your way!
3569 days ago
OK, now you've got ME crying. Just reading that I fell in love with Clarence myself and I can absolutely tell how much he loved you. Please don't feel any guilt. Clarence lived a long life. It's hard to understand when someone takes their own life, but with his health declining, it seems he was nearing the end either way. You've already lost two very close family members so it seems particularly sad to me that you've now lost this third. :-( Biological or not, he was your grandfather in your heart and I'm sure you will grieve for some time.
Just reading what you wrote, I can see that you are recalling all the fond memories. Keep doing that. Don't focus on the end - what you didn't tell him, or how it ended. Remember how happy you made each other. The elderly are so frequently forgotten and I think it is truly AMAZING how wonderful your family was to him. He clearly appreciated it, and if you really think about it, you guys changed his life. You made what could have been an old lonely man, a content and well loved man, and for that, I am certain he is smiling down from heaven and thanking you for.
3580 days ago
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