My grandpa ("Pop-pop") died this week. He was 90, and lived quite an adventurous life. He outlived 3 wives, the last one being my "Grandma". She was six years older than him, and passed away last year.
With my grandparents being so old, I've spent about the past 10 years thinking (and being told) "OK, this could be the last visit". We have always lived far apart, so visits were only made once or twice per year. However, I spoke to them on the phone every week as I was growing up, so we actually had a close relationship in spite of the distance.
Knowing the end had to be nearing, there were a few things I really wanted to tell them like:
-- Pop, thanks for teaching me that if I ever got swept away in high creek water, to curl in a ball and wrap my arms over my head so as not to hit my head on the rocks.
thanks for taking me up in your airplane to count all the blue speck swimming pools below.
thanks for always taking my arm in yours to cross the street; always opening the door for ladies; always saying "Thank You"; always being a gentleman.
thanks for loving grandma and for being exactly who she needed.
---Grandma, thanks for welcoming all into the family.
thanks for loving to giggle and have fun.
thanks for being strong, and still wearing your heart on your sleeve.
thanks for your example of empathy, sympathy, and compassion.
thanks for creating a lovely and peaceful home for you and your husband, and a perfect "grandparents' house" for me to come to.
I meant to tell them all of these things, but "I'll do it tonight" turned into "I'll do it tomorrow"; and 'nearing the end' became THE END............ there was never a question about how much we loved each other; I'm not going insane over loose ends left untied, but I do wish all those "I meant to's" were "I did's".