Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Grandpa Griswold

Two weeks ago, on St. Patrick's Day, my Grandpa Griswold passed away in his home of 60 years surrounded by many of his children.  It's fitting that he passed away on St. Patrick's Day because he was the biggest Notre Dame fan I know. He loved those Fighting Irish!  I have so many fond memories of my Grandpa and will miss him very much in the years to come. Hornell, the town in upstate New York where he and both of my parents grew up, will not be the same without him because he did so much in his lifetime and touched so many people.  You can read about his life in his very long obituary found here.  I knew my Grandpa as a jokester first and foremost, but also as a person who told the best stories and gave lots of advice about life. I loved sitting and talking with him and listening to his memories from his childhood, of my Grandma, and of my mom and her siblings when they were growing up.
Summer 2010 Cambria and I went to visit Grandpa with my mom. 
Summer 2011 our family drove up to New York for a week long visit with my Grandpa.
47 Bennett Street is a special place. 
It would've been too much stress and money to drive or fly our whole family, so Avett and I flew up by ourselves last weekend to be there for the funeral.  The trip was easy and for the most part stress-free.  Despite the circumstances, it was wonderful seeing so many of my extended family members I don't get to see often. My mom comes from a family of 13 children and my dad 10, so I have lots and lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Avett was an amazing travel companion on our journey there and back. I don't recall him crying at all either time! We flew out of Savannah, had a layover in LaGuardia where we met up with my sister Amber, and then flew into Rochester. In Rochester we met up with Ashley, Casey and Raya and stayed in a hotel for the night before driving to Hornell Sunday morning. 

Waiting for Aunt Amber in LaGuardia. 
Waiting to takeoff to Rochester. 
I was excited to have Amber on the flight with us! 
Avett Patrick <3

Got to spend some quality Raya time on the drive to Hornell.  It was nice having smiling faces like hers around. 
Our stay in Hornell was busy with viewings, family time and my Grandpa's funeral. It was an exhausting and sad few days, but it was also a very peaceful visit for me. It was nice being able to focus solely on Avett and to slow our pace a little bit.
Mommy and Avett.
Can't give him enough kisses. 
My mom snuck a picture of us before we woke up on Monday morning. 
On Monday we had my Grandpa's funeral and then went to the cemetery where all of my grandparents and great-grandparents are buried. It is such a beautiful cemetery, especially when there is snow on the ground. Afterwards my mom and all of her siblings took a picture in my Grandpa's backyard.  In the background you can see the 13 trees my grandparents planted years ago in the back of the yard, one for each of their children.

My mother with her eleven {living} siblings.  They are in birth order from right to left. 
Avett with Aunt Amber. 
With my Aunt Margaret. 
With my cousin Jennifer, her son Caden, Ashley, and Raya. 
All of the Griswold children having a family meeting. 
On Tuesday morning my Aunt Bobbie drove us to the airport and within a few hours we were home.  We were all so happy to see each other again! 
On our last flight home. 
All my babies together again. 
I am happy I was able to make the trip to New York to celebrate my Grandpa's life and to say my last goodbye. I will make sure my children know about him and what he meant to me. Death is sad, but it is also the thing that all of us have in common, so for me it's a reminder to live life in the best way possible now because tomorrow is never promised. My Grandpa lived a full life and left such a beautiful legacy!