On March 31, 2011, my dad, August W. ‘Bill’ Grein, passed over to the other side. That evening I sat and, through a series of Facebook posts and comments, created a letter about and to him.
Many of my friends and family saw us through this difiicult time, and I feel so blessed to have them all in my life.
I have combined my notes and comments into a document that I’d like to share with you all (edited to read a little clearer):
To Everyone Who Supported UsThank you so much for your support, kindness and prayers on this difficult day. My father was a great man, and will be missed by many. He was a past Grand Master of his Masonic lodge, and is survived by 6 children, 14 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. (This number is larger now, but this as of the day he passed, and who knows … they may actually be more … he did love kids)When my wife and I had some troubles 4 years ago and lost our home, he and my step-mother, Karen Grein, stepped in gave my two youngest children a warm, safe and stable place to live. My son Woody is still there, and is thriving. We owe Karen and Dad a debt that can never be repaid. In the end, he was my hero, someone who stepped up when no one else could or would.
To My DadI love you Dad. I miss you already, and I only hope that when we meet again in the clearing past the end of the road, that I can look back at my life and say that I was half the man you were.We had our disagreements, and we let each other down once or twice, but in the end, you taught me so much about life. You got me my first REAL job, and together we built an awesome garage – (it's still there Dad, and is nicer than the home next to it). The gorgeous house you built in Sunrise Terrace is still there too, and is still as beautiful as the day you drove home that last nail.Thank you for giving me my first thrilling love of computers. Together we rocked the ATARI user's group back in 1984, and we built our first IBM PC's not long after. You kept at it with the upgrades till the end, and I'll make sure that your last gift to Cricket, that PC you were upgrading again, gets finished.You taught me so many things; how to zip my pants up the SAFE way, how to balance a framing hammer in my hand and how to thread a 3/4" copper pipe. You taught me how to change my oil, use a transit and shingle a roof. But most of all, you taught me that the older I got, the smarter you became.For all the times I thought I was so much smarter than you, and for the times I was angry at you for the breakup of our family, I am truly sorry. I was too young to really understand what happened between you and Mom, and I took out my pain in anger.We got to know each other again after I became an adult, and you never excluded me, or any of us kids, from being a part of your family; you showed me that love and family can survive breakups and distance, and that time, and maturity, heals old wounds and helps to strengthen the ties that bind us. Thank you for never repaying my anger in kind, and being ready to reach back out to me when I was ready.I know that you finally learned NOT to try and sing when you were drunk (the tape recording of ANGEL OF THE MORNING that you made in 1971 or 1972 stuck around in my drawer until at least 1983, and used to bring tears of pain and hours of laughter to any who heard it).It's not easy to sum up my 47 years of memories of my Dad. I'll finish by saying that the great man that my dad was never made me feel unloved, and was there when I needed him - and that I love him and miss him with all my heart.Until we meet again, old man, I love you.
Don’t Wait To Tell Them
I was very lucky, in that I was able to visit with my dad, right before he passed, and tell him how much I loved him. He even made a joke about my belly looking pregnant, and giving him another grandchild (that was probably the morphine talking, ha ha) … but I was able to say goodbye.
Please don’t miss any chances you have to tell those you love how you feel. I now always try to say I Love You to all of my family whenever I can … It’s the one thing you’ll never regret saying, and should rightfully be our last words to each other when the time comes to say goodbye.
This heart-felt truth comes, as always,
From Grandpa’s Heart …