Grandpa's Ten Pointer
his back as he bounded away.
My only thought was, “No! No! No! That didn’t just happen.” I hung my head against the tree and stared down in disbelief.
Back at my dad’s place, I told the story with a halfhearted smile. My 4-year-old son, Sam, listened intently. He told me he wanted to feel the antlers and touch the fur. “Daddy, I want to go to deer hunting,” he said.
“Not tonight, Bub. Daddy blew it,” was my only reply.
My wife, Katie, and our 1-year-old, Tyler, arrived to a full house the following night. I related the story again, and by then I was able to tell it with a whole-hearted smile. What was more important to me was that our families made the trip safely, and we were celebrating a belated Christmas together.
A day later, on New Year’s Eve, the phone rang and my stepmom answered. “Yeah, he’s right here,” she said, and handed me the phone.
Right then I knew what it was. I could hear Mom crying on the other end of the line. “It’s your grandpa,” she said. “He passed away in his sleep early this morning.”
My grandpa, who I am proudly named after, was 91 and had been in failing health for some time. We made the trip to Iowa that past Thanksgiving to say our final good-byes. I wanted him to see both of his great-grandchildren, the oldest of which is also named after him. I knew then it would be the last time we’d see him down here.
I had tried to prepare for this moment because we knew it was coming. But it’s still a shock when it finally happens. I consoled Mom as best I could, and we discussed the funeral arrangements.
“Wednesday afternoon,” she said. I told her we’d be up Monday. Thankfully, I was surrounded by a supportive family. Most everyone on my dad’s side knew and loved Grandpa, and they mourned his loss along with me.
By Sunday morning, New Year’s Day, the initial shock of Grandpa’s passing had worn off, and we continued to enjoy time together with our families. Everyone else was heading back home that day, so we said our goodbyes and Katie and I started packing for our trip to Iowa.
I then remembered leaving my stand in the woods. I wanted to retrieve it before we left, so I decided to hunt from it one last afternoon and bring it