Here is an entry I wrote on December 26th, 2003, after learning that my grandfather had died.

Richard Baugh Carl, my grandfather, died this early afternoon. What can one say in a little epitath about a man who was walked the length and bredth of the earth for eighty-two years? He had been a farm hand, a mechanic, a fire captain, a woodworker, a hunter, recognized as “Mr. Fix-it,” and he was a large part of my life. He taught me lessons no other could, and helped shape and mold me into the person I am. He had been preparing to come to our family’s home to celebrate Christmas when his time came. I loved him very much. I could write volumes and pages, books and scripts, about how great, inspiring, and respected my Paw Paw was. And of course none of it would come close, even had I spent the rest of my life singing his praises. Tears today fall from the eyes of all who knew this gentleman.

I have inherited his stubbornness, his impatience, and his love for creating, though I am more focused on writing and art than on handicrafts. … He took such pride in me, and my accomplishments, acheivements, and accolades. He never had a son, and he saw me as one of his greatest accomplishments in life. He never liked theatre, or approved of my study of it, but he knew that I was happy doing it, and felt that as long as I could support myself, I should be able to do what I wished. Everything I know about shaping wood, metal, plastic, everything I know about how different materials fit together, or can be attached, or whatnot … all of it was from him.

I didn’t cry when my grandmother died. Not because I didn’t love her, but because I knew I had to be strong for my sister, especially, and for my grandfather. I cried once, after leaving his house, because I saw how lonely he was. Those that know me understand that while I am very passionate, and am full of vibrant emotion, I keep most of it inside; both good and ill. And yet now, as I sit as the only person in this house (the rest of the family is at his home), tears fall like rain, tracing salty paths down my cheeks.

Tomorrow I will be able to give my respects before he is cremated. I was not given the opportunity with my grandmother. And yet, tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, the sun will rise, the winds will blow, and the world will continue.

Even we the most stoic individuals can show our feelings.

Merry Christmas, all. Visit your family