I haven't felt like blogging these last few days, my grandpa wasn't well and it hurt my heart. He was supposed to get better, and go home from a care center where he had been staying. But Monday of this week he had a seizure, and was rushed to the hospital. Drew and I went up with my parents that night to see him and my grandma. It was hard.
My big strong grandpa, was laying frail and sick in a bed, where he was fighting for every breath that he was taking. But that's my grandpa... He's a fighter. When we walked in he feebly tried to give us a thumb's up, but just couldn't muster the strength. He was in and out of it, just trying to breathe. As we sat there and talked with my grandma, I was almost certain that would be the last time I would see my grandpa. I called my brothers to tell them to get up to see him, it wouldn't be long.
Tuesday he was diagnosed with Leukemia, and this morning, Wednesday, he was gone.
Today the family gathered together to talk about what a great man my grandpa Jack is. I just wish that Drew and I could have told him that when and if we have a boy we had already decided to name him Jack Redd. That name is a lot for a little boy to live up to.
But he's gone now, and I know he knows.
I wish I could write on here all of the incredible things I know about my grandpa. I just have a little to share. My grandpa was put up for adoption when I believe he was around 6-7 years old. His mom left him and his brother Bill with an orange, and they watched her drive away from a window of the orphanage. The were sent from home to home trying to find a nice family where they could be adopted. Back in those days, when the trial period at a home was over, if they weren't going to adopt you, you would walk home from school and if your luggage and hat were waiting for you on the front porch, that meant you weren't going to be adopted by that family. You didn't see the parents, or kids that you were hoping would be your family again. You just picked up your luggage and went back to the orphanage. So that's what Bill and Jack did. My grandpa said that whenever they moved into a new town, the first thing they had to do was beat up every other boy around. That's how you got respect. He also said that in the orphanage if a baby cried or someone got hurt, he some how became the fall boy for the mistakes. Whether it was his fault or not, they punished him. Making him anxious around babies and small children, so what he started to do, to make sure the great grandchildren knew that he loved them, was every Sunday dinner he would give them a dollar. He wasn't sure how to show affection any other way, because he was shuffled in and out of so many homes, until he was adopted at 12. He never knew what the reason was, that he and his brother went to so many homes, and weren't adopted. He just thought it was because he was such a bad boy. He did end up running into one of the children, from one of the homes where he was "trying out for". And they said that they day that they put the luggage on the porch, they had just found out that the mother had cancer and only had a few days to live. So they couldn't support 2 more boys in their home. And the family was never able to explain to Jack and Bill how sad they were, or that it wasn't there fault.
Finally one day a woman showed up at the orphanage to adopt a little boy, because her son had passed away. So they lined all of the little boys up in the orphanage for Ali, to look at. She pulled Bill out of the line and asked him a few questions, upon deciding he was the one. Someone from the orphanage said, well he has a brother. When Ali's husband said "We didn't come here to adopt the whole orphanage." But Ali asked Jack to come forward, and took the two brothers home for good.
My grandpa loved his mother Ali, whenever he spoke about her, you could see the tears well up in his eyes. He thought this was just going to be another home that he would be out of in a few weeks, so him and his brother Bill thought they would just see how much trouble they could cause. Ali, with a major in Psychology saw right through these troubled boys, and told them they were a part of the family now, and broke down the rough and tough, street wise boys, and made them a home. Later on someone would go on to ask my great grandpa which kids were his, and which were adopted, to which he responded, "Ya know, I can't seem to remember." The Redd's were incredible people, who raised my incredible grandfather.
There are a thousand more stories, and successes about my grandpa. How a lost little boy, turned into such successful man. All of my thoughts are jumbled, and I'm a mess, I just wanted to send a small tribute to one of the greatest men I knew.
My heart swells every time I introduce myself, and someone says, "Oh are you Jack Redd's granddaughter." I love that my answer is YES! I love you grandpa, thank you for your legacy. I will miss your smile, and your big hearty laugh! I love you!