My grandfather died last Tuesday.
His name was Tebo. Thomas, really, Tom to my grandmother, but Tebo to us.
The stories on why this is are varying. I like to think that I named him, because I’m the oldest grandchild, but in reality I think that people called him T-boy growing up/in college and it kind of stuck/evolved into Tebo.
Not T-bo, T-bow, or Tebow, for the record. Or T-bone. This was a source of great confusion for people throughout his whole life.
Tebo lived a GREAT life, and we had such a wonderful time celebrating him this weekend. Jay, my sister Emily, and I drove up to NC on Thursday night and got to spend the night with our uncle Jim and aunt Roxanne. We had a blast talking about funny memories of Tebo, and Emily and I loved learning about how it was to grow up with him as a father.
We had a service on Friday. My dad, his three brothers, and their families (minus one aunt and two cousins) were all there. It was the first time we’d all been together in five full years. We loved it, and I think Tebo did too. My grandmother certainly did. She’s spent a lot of time over the past 7 years caring for her husband, who had Parkinson’s, and that’s WORK, people. She didn’t like travelling without Tebo, and he couldn’t travel for years.
That’s some of my family, way back when. The redhead kid in the front with striped jacket and tie? That’s my dad. Heh. Tebo’s on the top row, looking dashing third from the left. We had a BLAST this weekend looking at all the pictures around my grandmother’s house. Pictures of my dad and uncles as kids, pictures of US as kids…pictures of my sisters and I wearing dresses made of carpet material….you know – flattering stuff.
This is us more recently. Grandmother is the outlier on the right, third row or so from the back, and Tebo is to her right. See that little girl on the front right? I’m pretty sure that’s when I peaked – physically, at least.
We spent a lot of time this weekend planning the rest of Grandmother’s year for her, too. I’m sure she appreciated that. I think she’s going to come to our wedding! Fingers crossed.
The service was just family, and it was just gorgeous. It was sunny! And flowers were blooming! Tebo is now in his family plot right across from Duke University – his alma mater and DAMN did he love that school. He wore his Duke hat up until…last week? I’m really not exaggerating on that one.
For the rest of the day we just were…together. Our family has spread out over the last several years, and family get-togethers are few and far between. We talked about other times this year that we might all come together, and it was a great comfort to everyone to know that this sad event might give us more happy things to look forward to.
Tebo was a vet. 2 time cancer survivor. Married for 62 years. Father of 4 boys. Grandfather of 9 (I started that!)! Singer – a great singer. Hospital administrator. Involved in multiple charities in every city he ever lived in. My grandmother wrote a beautiful obituary for him – you can read it if you want.
After some of the family left for the day, my oldest sister after me, Emily, Jay, and our uncles drank scotch with grandmother (Tebo’s second love), and she said to us (after not remembering something she was trying to tell us) –
You know, it’s always been like this (forgetting small details). I used to say and do just the DUMBEST things, and Tebo … just loved me. He never stopped.
The part about my grandmother being dumb is full on hogwash. The woman is brilliant, and still sharp as a tack. The part about Tebo, though – that was his shtick. To love his wife, to love his family, and to love his life.
He taught us a lot, that man. It was really a great weekend.