Blossoms for Bill
I made almond blossom pins last night for Commander William G. Chace Jr, or as I knew him, Opa. He was my boyfriend's grandfather, mentor, and wise old sage, who left us suddenly two days before Christmas. I am giving the pins to his family to wear today at his memorial service.
I only spent time with Opa on holidays and family birthdays and I deeply regret not being able to have visited with him more. Opa was a big man; big in heart, big in his laugh, big in his bear hugs and enthusiasm for his life and his family. He was a traveler (even at 82!), years before that an almond farmer, and some years before that, a commander in the US Navy. Every interaction I had with him always left me in a state of warmth, as he radiated generosity, snarkiness, energy and love. He was always interested in what kind of projects I was working on, asked me all about Boston, having spent time on the east coast himself and we shared geeky facts about biology and botany together over holiday dinners.
Once I got to know Opa, I could see where my boyfriend got some of his best and most shining, lovable qualities from. Opa was, deservedly so, the most important person in my boyfriend's life and thus, strengthened and built one of the most important people in my own life. It is that reason and more that I am so deeply grateful and weep for him today and remember the big, pushbroom mustached smile that preceded the bear hug I was about to receive.
Here's to you, Opa. We'll talk about hybrid trees and New England autumns one day yet.