Less than two years ago, my family said farewell to Grandpa Geerling. Just a few days ago, my Grandfather on my mother's side passed away.
He was a humble man. Grandpa won't be mentioned in history books. He didn't do anything incredible in the world's eyes, but he was a great family man and role model.
Grandpa helped my Grandma (who is a saintly woman in her own right, and still with us, thanks be to God!) raise six girls in a modest home, with a modest sheet metal worker's salary. I can only imagine what it must've been like to come home to a wife and six lively daughters every day!
He also helped care for Nana, my great grandmother, for many years. She was another beautiful woman, though I only knew her for a short time (mostly through baking chocolate chip cookies with her!).
Whenever someone needed assistance in repairing something, or needed a specialized tool, Grandpa was there to help. He helped my brother repair a headlight motor mount on his Firebird, and helped my sister with a new sheet metal duct for her microwave.
He sang with the vigor of an Irish tenor, in his parish choir, around the home, and for our entire family at many events. He led us in prayer and in music, even late into his life. When his voice became too weak to sing, his daughter Ellen would raise up her own beautiful voice to continue the tune.
He made a good friend in Joey, a man with a mental disability. He would take Joey to lunch, bring him to family events, and let him share in the joys and love of our extended family.
He would go to Mass at Marygrove every Saturday (until he was unable to attend due to a knee injury), and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who resided there could count on Grandpa to proclaim the readings whenever another lector was not present.
He had a beautiful fedora hat with a small feather, and he'd wear it in the proper way. He would let his grandchildren—and great grandchildren—play with the hat, touch the feather, wear it on their heads, and feel the smooth hat band.
He took coffee at the end of every meal. Sometimes at the beginning, too, so he could dunk his french fries, his chicken strips, his donut... anything that fit the brim of his mug was fair game for dunking.
He had the world's largest dictionary (as far as the grandkids knew), and it was always handy by his chair at the table. Perched atop was his word-of-the-day calendar, proclaiming "cerebral", "flue", "hirsute"—or, on the day he died, "hew."
1: to cut or fell with blows (as of an ax)
2: to give shape to with or as if with an ax
3: to conform or to adhere
"Hew", because we are now hewn from his enlivening presence and strong love. "Hew" also, as he hewed to all the great traditions of familial love and strong fatherhood. He loved his Church and his country, but most especially his wife, his children, his family, and God.
These are a few of the things I know of Grandpa Charlie.
Grandpa, you were an inspiration. You devoted your life to your family and brightened everyone's day. I pray that you may have quick passage into Heaven so you can meet those who have inspired you, and be in peaceful and eternal rest.
Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace. Amen.