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