Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grandad Keith Memoir

I promised in my last blog that I would post this tribute from Rebecca to her Grandad Keith.  She wrote this the day after he died and we had it framed at his visitation.  Please take a minute to read it.

For my Grandad Keith:

It’s hard to sum my Grandad Keith up in any one word or category. He represents so many things in my mind. I have always considered him a man of refined taste—I picture him alongside nice restaurants with black napkins, fancy wines that I can’t pronounce, and classic Bloody Marys—almost a James Bond (he looks so handsome in the old pictures). He was also a philosopher; no conversation could remain surface level with him—he always expressed deep conceptions behind every notion—everything he believed had been pondered through and through. I can’t remember ever leaving a discussion with Grandad without feeling thoroughly outmatched and feeling like I had learned so much. But he never belittled anyone. I respect his wealth of knowledge greatly. He was also a historian in his own way--he remembered so many stories from his own life, from my dad and his siblings’ lives, from my life, about Nana…so many great intriguing stories from a life well-lived. His memoirs are fascinating and amazingly detailed. And he was a historian of things outside his own life as well—TV shows, movies, sports, books, politicians. No conversation with Grandad would be complete without a quote or story from a TV show, book, movie, or distinguished person.

But despite all these other things, Grandad has always defined love and sensitivity for me as well. The love he and Nana shared could inspire any great playwright. In one glance at Nana or even Nana’s picture, Grandad demonstrated more love than many feel in their entire lives. And this extended to Grandad’s kids and grandkids. He loved so deeply and fully and was not afraid to say it—joyfully or tearfully but always sincerely. From the way he answered the phone when I called or said my name to others I could always tell that I was precious to him and that he was so proud. And I have always so admired how well he preserves connections and friendships with others. So many people in this world let friendships fade or destroy relationships over small things, but Grandad always treasured every person in his life continually no matter what choice they made or what situation changed. So many of my memories of Grandad are not about events or places but are about people and family moments—heartfelt dinner conversations at Thanksgiving or Christmas, long quiet breakfasts of coffee cake with him and Nana, long casual chats in the sunroom over appetizers, playing games in the pool or the hot-tub or on the rope-swing, reading books in Lisa’s old bedroom…. In all these different places I can picture his smile, hear his laugh, and see his love-filled eyes. He will be sorely missed, but my life will forever be different because of the love he shared with me during his life.

With prayers and respect and so much love,

Rebecca Elise Wright, granddaughter of Grandad Keith

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