Friday, January 4, 2013

A Letter to Farfar


2013 has not started out exactly as planned. But hey, we're not the ones in charge, right? I'm starting to figure that out. I always considered myself fortunate to still have all my grandparents. In fact, I've never lost anyone close to me. Until this week.

My Farfar (grandpa) passed away late Tuesday evening. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in November, and celebrated his 90th Birthday November 29, just two days before our wedding. Our entire family made it out to Seattle to see him over the New Year's holiday—except for me. There hasn't been an obituary written about Farfar yet, so I'm going to write what I remember. I don't know the whole story, but this is the Farfar I knew.

Tore Driflot November 29, 1922—January 1, 2013

Farfar was born in Norway in 1922 and came over to the States after WWII. I don't know any of his war stories from Norway, but I wish I could go back and have him tell me a few. When immigrated over, his name was Tore Drivflaadt. It was changed to Driflot in Chicago, and my maiden name was born. There were only 6 Driflot's ever—my Farfar, my grandma, my dad, me, my sister, and my brother.

Farfar was a craftsman, and could make anything your heart desired out of wood. After meeting my grandma down on the Golden Gardens beaches by the Ballard Locks, they fell fast in love. They had their first and only child, my dad, in 1957. My grandfather, being the craftsman he is, built their home in Ballard. It's the home my grandma still lives in today.

To me, Farfar was always a quiet man. I remember him sitting in his room, in his favorite chair, reading the paper and watching the news. He loved the news. When we would come to visit, he would usually come out and give us a great big hug, and then we would always join together in the living room to chat. Farfar always wanted to be kept up with our happenings. After a long while of sitting and talking, he would usually watch us play with our Hotwheels cars and Barbie's, happy to just be around us. As the years passed, his hearing got worse and he wasn't as talkative, but he still loved us... and we loved him. I was his first grandchild (of three). The bottom right photo above is from the night he and my Papa found out they were going to be grandparents. Farfar is holding a bottle of Old Grand-Dad whiskey in the photo, a gift from my parents when they told him they were expecting (it was a party to celebrate Christmas Eve 1985). That smile from Farfar is the one I will always remember.

As I leave today for Seattle to join my family in a small remembrance gathering on Sunday, I have a couple words for Farfar that I want to remember.

Farfar—you were a great man. I always respected you. I'm so sorry I didn't have a chance to give you one last hug. I didn't even say goodbye. I cherish all the times we had together. You gave me so many things over the years—beautiful wood carvings, big & strong hugs, memories to last a lifetime... but the best gift you've ever given me is my Dad. Thank you for being my Farfar. We love you.        
Love always, Icy

33 comments:

Elisha said...

I'm SO sorry for your loss Aunie. Praying for you in your grief! xoxo

Stephanie said...

I'm sorry for your loss Aunie, I know he was special to you. He sounds like a wonderful man.

Krista Lynn said...

So sorry to hear of your loss Aunie. It is always difficult losing someone who meant so much to you! Sending lots of thoughts your way.

Krista

jess said...

So sorry for your loss. He sounds so wonderful, and you have remembered him so beautifully. {HUGS}

It's Sooo Fluffy! said...

I'm so sorry. He sounds like a wonderful man

Amanda said...

So sorry for your loss :( when my gram died in October I was able to say goodbye either... I'm praying for you today.

Maggie B. said...

I'm so sorry. My prayers are with your family.

Maria said...

I'm so so sorry for your loss. My prayers will be with you and your family throughout the next few weeks.
xo, Maria

Halie Renee said...

Even in the midst of your loss, you still wrote a beautiful post in memory of him. You and your family will be in my prayers over the weekend!

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said...

I am sending you love, my dear. FarFar is keeping your seated saved and warm for you in Heaven now. :)

Leah said...

i'm sorry for your loss Annie. he sounds like a wonderful gentleman that anyone would've been lucky to meet.
praying that you and your family can have peace and strenght.

Jessica Odom said...

So sorry for your loss. I lost two grandparents last year and it really hit me hard. My prayers are with you! The story of your Farfar is beautiful.

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

Aw hon, I'm sorry. I just lost my grandma a little while ago and I still catch myself sometimes and start to cry. It's really hard, I won't lie.

Thinking of you and your family.

gayle t. said...

Aunie, I'm so sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful post. It truly honors the great man he was. If I had to guess, I'd say it probably was very healing to write it, as well.

I wrote about my Gramma Martha when she passed away. I vividly remember sitting and typing it out, computer blurry through my tears. You can find it here:

http://missgayle.blogspot.com/2011/01/gramma-martha.html

Blessings to you and your family.

Allyssa said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Aunie. Farfar sounds like he was an amazing man.

MMB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Autumn said...

Few posts can make me tear up, but I also had/have a fierce love for my Grandma.

Sending love your way.

MMB said...

I am praying for you Aunie. I so understand what it's like to have a deep connection with your grandparents. I am struggling with the same part of growing up. I still have my all grandparents with me, but they are all deteriorating in health. Your obituary brought tears to my ears. Your love and beautiful memories with your grandfather are so apparent. Sending you prayers of comfort and love!

Lindsay said...

So sorry for your (and your families) loss. My thoughts and prayers are with guys at this hard time. He sounds like a great man and that is so awesome you guys have many memories together. Safe travels.

Lindsay

Kristen @ KV Confessions said...

I'm so sorry for your loss :( It's always hard when a family member passes, but he will stay alive through the memories you share. I see a lot of you in his youngest portrait - you have his eyes.

Tina Byland said...

This makes me cry. It makes me cry a lot. There aren't many of us who have all 4 grandparents and have never lost someone close to us. All four of my grandparents are looking straight into their final days and every time I get up to Michigan to see them, I hug them like it's my last. I'm not too certain how I will handle losing them (and whoever goes first, well, it's going to be hard).

Aren't we fortunate, though, to spend a whole quarter of a century knowing four amazing grandparents? I am so sorry that your year has started out this way. I'm thinking about you. And Farfar is in my prayers. :)

Kimberley Tobin said...

Love and hugs to you and your family :( My Grampy is currently battling prostate cancer and it is starting to win, but his spirit isn't. Thank you for reminding me to hold him tighter. I hope that you are able to find comfort and peace in those around you at this difficult time xoxo

Eesh said...

Oh Aunie, I'm so sorry for your loss. You & your family are in my prayers.

xo

Katie said...

Aunie, I am so sorry for your loss. It is always hard losing someone who is important and close to you. I'll be praying for you and your family. Lots of love to you all.

Miss Angie said...

So sorry for your loss! Sending love and good energies!

Betsy Transatlantically said...

oh Aunie, I'm so sorry. much love to you and your family as you grieve for and celebrate this wonderful man.

Melanie Montgomery said...

Such a sweet beautiful letter to someone you obviously loved and admired a lot. I lost my grandparents years ago and it never gets easier.

Ashley @ LocalPostcards said...

So sorry to hear about your Farfar- but happy for you that you were able to have him in your life for as long as you did!

Christin Theiss said...

sorry for the loss! your in my prayers sweetie! <3 Christin

Rachel said...

what a lovely tribute- so much love shared! I'm so sorry- I wish I had words to ease your grief!

Priya said...

Aunie, wow. I am so impressed you were able to write such a beautiful memoir! I can't even imagine how hard this is for you, but I really hope you are being comforted and surrounded by love right now. It is so special that you were able to remember him in this way! Sounds like he was a tremendous person.

perfectly priya

Emily said...

So sorry for your loss Aunie! Your tribute to his life is indeed beautiful.

Lindsay Watson said...

Ah this made me cry. I'm so sorry for your loss.

AddThis