This is a picture of Cassidy’s first step. She didn’t walk till after she was year old because she was STUBBORN as hell. I tried for MONTHS to get her to JUST TAKE A STEP. All it took was Gerald baiting her with bubbles. Pa could get her to do anything he wanted, if he promised bubbles.
Every day when he got done with his service calls he’d come home and the second Cassidy would hear the garage door opening, she’d beeline for the door and wait on him. He’d come in and sit down and she’d pull off his shoes, then his socks, then he’d pick her up and carry her into the kitchen to grab a snack and they’d sit on the couch together and eat while Ada and I chatted with him about his day.
He was a very interesting character. He’d say the most OFF THE WALL things at the most random times. But his one true love in life was all of his ‘grandbabies’. Even though Cassidy and Carrielee weren’t technically his grand kids, he treated them like they were his very own blood. He spoiled them rotten and they all loved to fawn over him and take care of him.
After Ada died, Gerald was never really the same. At the end of her life I think he really, for the first time in a long time, fell passionately back in love with her. When he lost that love, I think that little sparkle in his eye faded some and, understandably, his general outlook on life faltered a bit. He still loved his grandkids. And he loved day trips to the casino. And he loved his family. But he wasn’t he same.
Three days before my last trip to Bakersfield (about a month ago), he found out that he had terminal cancer. It was everywhere. In every part of his body. They gave him months. He passed away peacefully this evening around 5:30PM. I spoke to his son and he said that Gerald was ready. He was in intense, constant pain. Hospice came out and gave him some pain medicine, made him comfortable, and shortly after that his body finally let go.
I had planned to go down there next weekend to see him. When I first got the news today I felt INCREDIBLY guilty for not having been there. I almost felt like I let Ada, Amber and Gene down. But I know now that this happened for a reason. It was his time, he was ready, and for whatever reason I was not meant to be there. When I saw him a month ago he told me that he was really proud of the little girl that Cassidy had grown into. And that he was happy for me and the life that I had built for myself here in San Jose with Ben. I understand now that he was saying goodbye then.
The service is Saturday so I’ll either be traveling down there tomorrow night or very early Saturday morning and won’t be around online much till probably early next week. So have a good weekend everybody, and let this be a reminder to hug the ones you love. Remind them how much you love them and how lucky you are to have today to be together.