grandpa used to pronounce pinch "peench", just like i do now. every time i would visit, from the time i was too young to pronounce anything he'd give me a good peench right on my arm. i'd run away but soon enough would sneak up and give him a peench right back. i knew that to grandpa it meant love.
he'd collect pennies for me, too, so on my visits i'd take the pennies he'd saved up and put them into his penny bank, a giant green glass jar. i'd delight at it filling up each time i plinked a penny into it. today my sister told me that they would make sure there were pennies for me there, waiting to be dropped into the green jar, because they knew how much i looked forward to my special job.
when i was big enough to walk, i got to gather the eggs from the chicken coop in grandmama and grandpa's backyard. grandpa took my sister and i and a bucket of compost to keep the hens busy while we stole inside to find the prizes in their nests. my heart leapt each time there were eggs waiting for us.
all of these things meant grandpa loved us. he was quiet but he found ways to show love that were unmistakable. also unmistakable was how much he loved grandmama. i don't remember a single time when he wasn't right by her side. when she got sick, he made sure there was nothing she wanted for... and it didn't matter if she was watching soap operas (her stories) or working in the yard, he was right there just in case she needed him for anything. always doting on her... that was his job and he did it well.
grandpa passed away last night. he was at home with grandmama when the time came for him to go. he held her hand tight as she told him she'd be okay. she knew he couldn't pass on peacefully if he thought she wouldn't be alright. my mom was there, too, and told him she'd take care of grandmama and that he shouldn't worry. he squeezed her hand one last time and was still holding her hand as he passed from this world to the next. still loving her all the while.
we'll miss you, grandpa. your family here will miss your presence at every gathering and each time we look at grandmama, half of her missing with your passing on. you were loved by so many and we'll cherish the memories you left us with.
rest in peace.