The Belfast Beacon

Losing a Grandfather

Rylea and Kyle Comstock

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The following two essays were written by siblings Rylea and Kyle Comstock, reflecting on the loss of their beloved grandfather.

Grandpa

Rylea Comstock

It was December 23, 2016, a normal winter morning and one that I will never forget.  It seemed like a typical morning, except that both my parents were home from work on a work day.  That was a  morning that will always be ingrained in me.  It was a morning that brought me great sadness.  This was the morning I found out that I had lost one of the greatest men in my life to a heart attack, which forever changed my family’s lives in more ways than one.

My grandpa was the life of every party he attended.  We spent every holiday and birthday at his house, just hanging out and being together as a family.  My grandpa loved playing music from his playlist.  Every time one of his favorite songs came on, he would say “I love this song man,” and he would turn it up so loud you couldn’t even hear the person next to you.  It seems that happened often, especially after a few drinks.

My grandpa would always manage to put a smile on people’s faces.  I couldn’t name one person who disliked him, not even his ex-wife.  Even though they were divorced they still maintained a great relationship.  They become friends and communicated on all aspects of their children’s lives and their farm business.  Most importantly, they were great grandparents together.

As a grandfather, he gave the best advice and told you exactly how it was.  When it comes to my brother, my grandpa had a huge impact on his life.  Kyle and my grandpa were so close and he was a huge factor in molding Kyle into the young man he is today. He believed that first impressions were important, even something as little as a firm handshake. My grandfather was like the leader of the Comstocks, the glue that held us all together.  He is one of a kind and will always be remembered.

It’s hard to think that he won’t be there to see me grow into adulthood.  He did not see me finally achieve getting my license. He won’t be there for pictures before my senior prom.  He will not be able to attend my high school graduation or my wedding.  But most of all, my grandpa won’t be able to meet my kids.  One thought that gives me closure is that he will be with me in spirit, but it’s hard to not have him here anymore.

 

The Day My Grandfather Died

Kyle Comstock

December 22 2016: for some people it’s just another day or just three days before Christmas. But to me, it’s the day that my life took a turn for the worst, the day that tested my emotional strength, the day that my grandfather, Douglas Robert Comstock, passed away.

No one expected it: he was 68 years old and still living like he was 28. I had seen him just the day before, and he was a bit sick, but everyone in my family thought it was a cold because it was the middle of winter. He was full of life and we were talking about how we were going to have Christmas dinner at his house the 24th. I will never forget the last words I said to him: “See ya tomorrow Grandpa, I love you: ” At that time, I did not know that it would be the last time I would ever see him.

On the morning of the 22nd, I woke up to my dad sitting on the edge of my bed, and I could see that he had been crying. I asked him what was wrong and that is when I received the worst news of my life: he told me that grandpa had died of a heart attack the night before. At first it didn’t seem real, I was in shock. I did not see this coming at all. But when it hit me that it really happened, I was overcome with emotions and I just started bawling. The one person in my life that I had told everything to was now gone. The most crushing thing was realizing that my grandpa was never going to see me get my license or  graduate or get married. When I look back on it now,` I should have focused more on all the good and happy memories I had with him and my family, instead of being sad and depressed for a few weeks. Although that would have been the smarter thing to do, it is easier said than done, especially when a family member dies.

This caused so much emotional stress for my family for many reasons. One of them was that he was the head of the Comstock family for many years and he was the glue that held us together. There were so many family events that took place at his house. He also attended events at his ex wife’s (my grandmother’s) house and maintained a friendship with her despite not having a romantic relationship with her anymore. This shows just how good of a man he truly was. He touched the lives of so many people and showed me the meaning of what a real man is. He showed me that hard work and dedication can get you anything you want in life and that you can find happiness in any situation. The best example of this when immediately after breaking his rib and puncturing his lung in a four wheeler accident three years ago, he was still cracking jokes.

In the months following the tragic death of my grandfather, not even my parents knew that I was still having a hard time dealing with it and crying myself to sleep sometimes. Well, no one knew until my dad came to my room and saw me crying one night. He asked me what was wrong and I asked him how he got over grandpa dying. He said that it was hard for him to get over the death of his father and his role model, but he knew that he was still with him. He shared a story with me about the trip to Mexico that my parents and their friends had just gone on, about a bee that flew onto his drink. He told me that for some reason, when the bee was flying around him, it felt almost as if his father was still with him.

I did not experience full closure until July 22nd at my grandfather’s wake and ash burying ceremony, when I myself buried his ashes in the ground. It was at that point that I finally knew that he was in a better place and  that everything would be okay. This experience, believe it or not, helped me and prepared me for future emotional stress and showed me that if I could get through this, I could get through anything.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Losing a Grandfather”

  1. Evelyn Alessi on November 17th, 2017 8:43 pm

    These essays are a wonderful tribute to your grandfather. I’m glad you will have many memories to comfort you.

  2. Kay Comstock on November 17th, 2017 9:46 pm

    I am so proud of Rylea and Kyle, my niece and nephew, for writing this beautiful tribute to their grandfather and my brother. Doug was a great, honest and hard working man. He definitely was the glue that held his family together. We all miss him terribly.
    Thank you Rylea and Kyle. I love you
    Aunt Kay

  3. Deborah Lyman on November 18th, 2017 1:58 pm

    I love these tributes and I love the authors. There is such a special bond between many people and their grandparents. I am 100% sure that grandpa was very proud of these two.

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