My dad was Albert Charles Grimm. He was the only son of Clarence and Martha Grimm…to their great sadness. He was in the first graduating class (1942) of the King’s College which for many years was in Briarcliff Manor, NY but is now in the Empire State Building. Back then, I think it was in Delaware. He then went on to Faith Seminary and was in an early class of that school (1945). (Many of his fellow grads later formed the denomination that started Covenant Seminary…the College too!)
If he had lived, he would have turned 91 today-July 7, 2010. I can’t even imagine him as an old man! He died very suddenly in his church office of a heart attack, without the secretary in the next room being aware that he was in any distress. Yes, it was sudden. He was only 54 years old and was in apparent good health.
It was one of those landmark events of my life! I was 27, a young mother of two little girls with the youngest only 7+ months old. When my mother called to tell me what had happened, it was such unbelievable news that I corrected her and said, “You mean grandaddy don’t you?” Of course, she didn’t. Now that was a classic case of denial!
It was the first funeral of anyone in our family that was remotely close to us…except for the mother of a friend years when I was in 9th grade. This was the first really close family member who had died and there had been no time for final good-byes. We weren’t a family that was given to expressing kind words to each other, or even much in the way of sincere compliments.
NOT GOOD AT GOOD-BYES
We had said many “good-byes” over years of traveling to the U.S. for high school and back to Costa Rica for short visits. We did not know how to do “good-byes” well. We were so focused on not crying that we never said anything meaningful. After a short time of misery and awkward discomfort, we would hug and say “good-bye”. There were always so many things left unsaid…and so much sadness as we trudged off from home and at least a year away from our family. Truthfully, I don’t think I have really learned how to do “good-byes” yet. I hate them! But, I digress.
I had always felt a kinship with my dad. I don’t know if it was because we had each been the oldest, or in his case only, children in our families. It may have been because of a bond that formed when my mom became ill with appendicitis when I was only six weeks old. With her ten-day hospitalization and subsequent recuperation he had plenty of bonding time to spend with me that he didn’t have with my other siblings. Another way we probably bonded was during the three years my parents were missionaries in Bolivia (late 40′s). My mother and younger sister had multiple health problems. There were a few times when they had to travel a distance to get medical care and I stayed with my dad (age one-four yrs.).
Another way we bonded was when I occasionally helped him in the yard. He liked to get out there and work hard, and I liked to be with him. He liked people and had a great sense of humor. I was proud to be his daughter. It was fun to be with him in whatever group he was. There was sure to be plenty of laughter and I enjoyed the break from my very serious mind that seemed to find ways to maufacture all kinds of fearful, anxious thoughts. (to be continued)