Losing a Hero

There’s a voice mail that you never want to receive. It goes something like this:

It’s your mom. Call me. It’s an emergency.

I returned the call hoping that the emergency was that her wireless Internet was giving her fits again. It wasn’t the case. She told me that my paternal grandfather had a heart attack. I asked if he was okay or if we needed to come immediately.

He didn’t make it.

And my world crumbled.

My grandfather, fondly called Papau by the lot of the grandchildren, was a rock in our family. A strong, loving man, he taught me how a man should love a wife by the way he devoted himself to my wonderful grandmother. He taught me to stand up straight, correcting my posture so I wasn’t slump-shouldered. Maybe that seems silly but it was something important that I learned in how to carry myself. He loved me even in the most difficult times of my life.

He was one of my heroes.

As we were driving around on the day of my dad’s surprise birthday party this past September, we had a discussion that he felt he needed to have to set things straight. I wonder now if he knew. I wonder, now, if I didn’t know something was up. Two weeks ago I thought about what I would say at his funeral. He wasn’t sick and I chastised myself for even entertaining the thought. On Saturday morning, almost exactly 24 hours before he collapsed, I bought a new black dress for the funerals I assumed we would be attending this year. Some members in my husband’s family are sick.

I didn’t realize I’d be wearing it a few short days later to my own grandfather’s funeral.

I am devastated. The family is devastated. BigBrother doesn’t quite understand. And, sadly, LittleBrother will be the first to forget him, eventually likely to claim that he never remembered him. That, in itself breaks my heart. More time. For them. For myself. I hate that I didn’t get to say goodbye.


The family is flying in from all parts of the country. His sister, eleven years his elder, will be in this evening from Arizona. The youngest of grandpa’s three sons, my dad’s youngest brother, arrived this morning from Philadelphia. The middle brother arrives via a flight from Tampa and a layover in Charlotte early this afternoon. While I love when the whole family gathers on The Farm, creating a cacophony of noise and laughter, the truth is that the whole family won’t be gathering. We’re missing one. And I’m just heartbroken.

I prefer to remember him these ways. With my children. With the woman he loved so dearly.

With BigBrother

With LittleBrother

On Their 50th Anniversary

I have so much to say about the loss of a man who meant so much to me. I have so much to say about how this loss has clarified why people do turn to the Internet in their hour of need. I have so much to say… but all I could do yesterday was take a picture. It was raining. It was appropriate.

The sky cried with me.

The Sky Cries, Too

Please keep my family in your prayers. Most of all, please keep my grandmother in your prayers. She is understandably crushed by the loss of the only man she ever loved. 53 years of marriage and a story that began when she was an infant. Theirs is the most beautiful love story. So, please, say a prayer for her.

(If you have interest in attending the viewing, the funeral or sending something, please contact me by twitter, email or phone. Leave a message if I don’t answer.)


Book Review: Out and About at the Fire Station.

Out and About at the Fire Station is another firefighting book for the younger readers. We grabbed it at the library on our last trip through the stacks. It’s 24 pages long of firefighting information and great illustrations that my boys (mostly) loved. It’s also part of a series on field trips, some of which include the Dairy Farm and the Zoo.

The story is about a class that takes a field trip to a fire station. At the very beginning of the book, we’re presented with a list of questions that one of the students in the class has about firefighters. I thought it was a great list and an important page not to just skip over if you have a child that is old enough for reading comprehension and retention. The list has these questions.

1. How do firefighters find fires?
2. What other jobs do firefighters have besides fighting fires?
3. Do firefighters sleep in their gear?
4. What do they do while they’re waiting for fires?

Those are some good questions. In fact, I just recently learned that FireDad does not, in fact, sleep in his blue workpants. You would think I would have known that as we’ve been married for five years but, well, I didn’t. I learn new things every day! I digress. The book starts out with the kids visiting the fire department and meeting Firefighter Tim and Firefighter Raj.


While this book has a good mix of skin colors both on the fire department and in the class, I did notice that the only female firefighter was on the next to last page, walking a dog. While not quite as antiquated as the old firefighter books that we have, I still find it somewhat disheartening.

The rest of the book is decent despite the lack of female firefighters on the crew. (If you’re looking for a good female centered firefighter book, read my review of My Mom is a Firefigher.) The questions at the beginning of the book are answered as are many others. We learn about trucks, what else the firefighters have (rescue boats, an ambulance) in their garage, how far a ladder on a fire engine can reach and much more. We even learn a bit about arson, as in what it is and why it’s bad, not how to do it!

No good firefighter book is complete without a lesson in safety. After we learn that firefighters are busy all day (checking trucks, visiting schools and so on), we’re given a brief lesson in fire safety. I found the particular page to be too wordy and not really geared toward the baby-preschool age group that it is supposedly written for. Hopefully parents reading this long page to their kids can keep it interesting. Ideas include actually having your kid show you how to stop, drop and roll or how to feel if their door is hot.

Despite the lack of females and the wordy last page, the book does hold its own. The illustrations are very interesting, giving both BigBrother and LittleBrother many things to look at on each page. They enjoyed pointing at things and either asking questions or telling me what they knew about life in a fire station.

As the book is only available in hardback on Amazon for $22.60, I don’t think we’ll be purchasing it. I can see them borrowing it from the library again as we have done with many a fire book in the past. If you can find it in a soft cover, it might be a welcome addition to your own library.

[Disclosure: Links are through Amazon Associates.]

Wordless Wednesday: A Moment with Books

A Moment with Books


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