My New Happy: When You've Only Got A Hundred Years To Live

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

When You've Only Got A Hundred Years To Live

Last Saturday, the world lost a truly amazing human.  After a long, wonderful life, Grandpa Ed decided that his time here was done.  He would have been 101 years old in September, and while his mind was still sharp, and his sense of humor intact, his body was finally giving out.

After nearly five years of dialysis, he was exhausted.  He couldn't drive anymore, or golf, or head to the library.  And I think he was ready to see Grandma Mary and his son, Rick.

I will miss so many things about him.  His hugs.  His laugh.  The way he listened intently to what you had to say.  The way he loved his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and cared so much about each one of us.  Grandpa Ed was the sun of our family, and we circled around him like planets, trying to soak up everything we could.

I've learned so many things from him.  A few years ago I wrote about a few of his "lessons", and in honor of his life well lived, I'm sharing it again.

Family is important.

Grandpa Ed and Grandma Mary had four children.  When my mom was eight, grandpa was offered a job that required him to travel around the United States, staying in each town for several months at a time.  He didn't want to leave his wife and kids behind, but he needed the job.  So they sold their house, bought a 20 foot trailer, and took off as a family.  I can't imagine living in a small trailer with six people, traveling the country, for seven years.  I'm pretty sure I'd be heading back home after a few weeks.  But that's what they did.  And they never regretted it, because they were together.  

From those four kids, grandpa has eleven grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren, and we all love him madly. He makes time for each and every one of us, because family is important.

Stay active.

Did I mention Grandpa Ed is 96?  He still lives in his own home, drives, and his mind is as sharp as ever.  Every week he golfs 18 holes, and only in the last year has he used a golf cart because his hips hurt.  He walks around the block every day, and he's been known to pull his bike out when his car is in the shop.  When I asked if he wore a helmet, he just giggled.  Guess what he's getting for his birthday!  He says staying active has kept him alive this long, and I'm not going to argue with him. 

The simple things in life are usually the best things.

Last year my boys wanted to take grandpa to Pink's in downtown Los Angeles, because they are known for their fabulous hot dogs, and hot dogs are one of grandpa's favorite foods.  He was a little dubious about Pink's, but being the trooper he is, he was willing to drive an hour and wait in line another thirty minutes to try a dog, because the boys said it was worth it.  His verdict?  The ones at Costco are just as good, half the price, and way less trouble. Sometimes the simple things in life are the best things.

A positive attitude helps you get through anything.

Grandpa Ed's life certainly hasn't been perfect, and he's had his share of health troubles. He's survived prostate cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer and melanoma.  Luckily everything was caught early when most treatable, but through every surgery and illness he maintains a positive attitude.  He tells me there's no point in being depressed about it - what will be, will be. Except when grandma died, I've never seen him sad - he just smiles and gets on with living.  

Life doesn't end when you get older.

When he was 80, grandpa took up painting and drawing as a hobby, and he's pretty good at it. He set up an art studio in his formal living room when grandma passed (I'm sure she haunts him over this - we were never even allowed in that room).  He goes to the senior center every week - always on the lookout for new friends.  Not a day goes by that he doesn't get up at 7am, get dressed in his signature jeans and polo shirt, and head out of the house.  Sure, there's an afternoon nap every day, but not until he's accomplished something.

Don't blink

Just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your "better half"
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't blink

-Kenny Chesney


  1. I know Grandpa Ed is such a special man. I love this post about him and that Kenny Chesney song is so true.

  2. What a life! So sorry for your loss of such an inspiration.

  3. Your Grandpa had an amazing outlook on life and sounds like such a special man! I'm so sorry for your loss!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

  4. Oh, I'm so sorry Lana, but reading this made me so happy, not sad!! He's truly a remarkable man in every way!
    Talk about thinking outside the box by living in a trailer to all be together!! Isn't that perfect??
    We could all learn a ton from Grandpa!! I'm so glad he was part of your life!

  5. Oh wow, it is never easy to see someone go even when they've lived almost 101 years! What an incredible life and I am so sorry for your loss Lana. Ugh, it hurts, I know. Hugs to you sweet friend.

  6. He reminds me so much of my grandparents - who also both lived to 100 1/2. Sending you all love. I love his hot dog philosophy. The price is right with the Costco ones, and the wait time too! I love how he, like my grandparents, believed that life doesn't end when you get older. My grandparents were 70 when I was born, and still had 30 more years to live. That's awesome! And they loved junk food and look what happened. Nothing bad!

  7. I am so sorry for your loss of your grandfather Ed. He lived a long life. Take care Lana.

  8. He was such a special guy! I'm so sorry for your loss but know you have beautiful memories of him. Hugs to you friend!

  9. Aww, what a great guy! Lived such a great life, and yes 100 years does go by fast!

  10. I loved this story about your Grandpa. I'm so sorry for your loss, but you and your family are so fortunate for having him in your lives. Thanks for sharing his story with us.


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