Despite being braced for the news, hearing that my grandfather passed away yesterday isn’t easy. I want to be with my family right now to both grieve and celebrate his life. I’m so grateful that I have incredible new friends here in Botswana who offered their support to me (we are in week 3 now), though I often like to deal with my emotions on my own.
I was asked today if I was close to my grandpa, and I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer. You have to understand that my immediate family in Michigan is small, consisting of fewer than 10 people at our usual get-togethers. I think this has made us all close-knit, and I have great memories with those people at holidays and weekly dinners when we were younger. When I think back to the time I shared with my grandpa, I’m quickly drawn to my earliest moments of consciousness and photographs prior to them. I have images of us playing with my toys or finding seashells together at Huntington Beach where we all lived together. I couldn’t have asked for more love from him. He had his own ways of showing it, but it came without condition – he was the rock of the Hardy family. He is loved and dearly missed.
Most recently health became the factor as he fought Parkinson’s disease. Times of hardship are sometimes the best displays of the deep love that can course through a family. The empty chair at the card table will be a reminder to me of that love. Please keep the members of my family in your thoughts; they are all in mine.