(My grandfather in his younger years in Washington recovering from Tuberculosis.)
It's been a long Summer and a hard one at that. I pretty much set everything aside to help my family care for our father/grandfather, Thomas. He went to be with the Lord on August 25, 2010. I called him "Dad." Him and my grandmother ("Mom") raised me since I was very little. They have instilled so much love and compassion in me and I am glad to share that with my own family.
(My grandfather with his younger brother, Ira, who died from tuberculosis as a young boy.)
My grandfather was born near Flaxman Island, Alaska to the Saavgaq Family and moved to Barrow, Alaska with his adoptive parents, the Panningona's, when he was a small boy. He began work since he was 12 years old to help support his parents and siblings. He believed in hard work and was never lazy. Although he was uneducated, he was skilled in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical and did not need to draw out a plan to build his cabins, garage, sleds, etc... He knew basic math only to figure out how much his supplies would cost before his next project.
(My grandmother, Dorothy, and my grandfather, Thomas, at my wedding reception.)
After his passing, I received emails and comments from other people in the community telling me how my grandfather was such a good man. They told me how he used to help others in their time of need, how he was such a gentlemen, and how he was a hard worker with good morals. My grandfather used to tell us stories of the past and I loved it when he would talk to us about how he met our grandmother. He also told us that his father used to read the Bible to him every morning when he was a child. I believe those words from the Bible burned into his heart and became reality when he showed his love for his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We were a close family before, but now, I believe we have become closer and stronger after his death. My grandfather is an inspiration to us and now we are trying to follow his example in life.
(My grandfather in his last days. Laying next to him is my youngest child, Tucker. They loved each other so much. Baby Tucker used to run into his bedroom to give his Amau (great-grandfather) a hug and a kiss. I am so grateful that they got to know each other.)
I can go on and on about my Dad (grandfather). He is surely missed. The memories with him live on in our hearts and I like to say, It's not "goodbye", it's "I'll see you later."