Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Saying Goodbye With Love and Hats

This weekend we laid my grandfather Nathaniel Harrison Hartshorne to rest. Our family gathered together and donned his many hats to parade in a line (in order of our age) to the Blawenburg cemetery and bury his ashes. We held hands and took turns throwing dirt into the spot and saying a few words of thanks or "love you". My grandmother started it off with a smile saying "save a space for me!" Tears were shed, then we shared a moment of silence on a cold, crisp, spring morning that he would most certainly have loved. It was short, sweet, and a perfect send off. We will have a large memorial service in the summer, with the many friends and extended family members who were touched by Bumpy's life, but this week it was just us, and we all needed that.

My grandparents' house feels so different now. It is cozy and warm as always, and my grandmother is the most adorable and hilarious person in the world (putting things away in the most bizarre places, plates slid in among the cookbooks, orange juice on top of the washing machine) who is still able to laugh at herself and see the joy in life. But it is so strange to have spent the past 37 years coming into a house and now suddenly not find Bumpy in his office writing, or out chopping wood in the barn. Death is the most unsettling of situations, because even when you understand it and are at peace with it, you still find yourself looking around for that person and feeling the hole they have left in you. We each took one of Bumpy's hats home, and I will hang mine in my closet and look at it daily when I get dressed, to remind myself of the pride Bumpy took in getting dressed each day. Forever a dapper gentleman, wearing button down shirts right up until the end, I will strive to take that kind of pride in myself.

Thank you, Bumpy, for always listening, and for teaching us all to be the best we can be. Farewell.

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