Grandpa Kinman passed away at 7:30 this morning. He'd been on hospice care for about two weeks and of ever diminishing mental acuity for the last few years. He had delusions often related to his time in the war. (paratroopers landing on the front lawn, etc.)
When I was younger, grandpa was a master finish carpenter making decorative alder items for tole painters. They loved his work because his pieces were always as smooth as glass and they never got splinters- ever! I loved to pet his finished pieces because they were so soft and smooth. I have wonderful memories of sitting next to the wood stove in the shop happily sanding on a block of wood, or when I was older one of the pieces that needed finish sanding, while grandpa worked on cutting out or assembling other pieces.
Before that, grandpa and Dad owned a commercial Salmon/ tuna boat and we spent summers at the coast. I also spent many hours in the woods with dad and grandpa cutting and stacking firewood. I have seen them cut down a tree twice as large as their largest chainsaw bar and using a springboard to work on trees over large banks.
He was an amazing man who taught us all the value of hard work and making an honest living against all odds. My dad is the man he is because of the example grandpa set and that has been passed down, I hope, to my brother and me.
In some ways, this is a relief. The man I so admired has been lost to dementia for many years. He is no longer confused and suffering or wondering where grandma is or why he's in this strange place.
We have been missing him for years and today, although we have the sorrow of loss, we also have the blessing of completion and victory for a life well lived.