This is has been a very weird, hard week. We started out having fun with Mike’s dad visiting from Florida for Mike’s 30th birthday. On Tuesday he turned 30 which was fun to celebrate. During this time both of my grandmothers ended up in the hospital. Both had fallen for various reasons and luckily my paternal grandmother ended up not being super serious and was able to go home after a few days. Wednesday night however, we were not sure my Grammy Cramer, my maternal grandmother, would make it through the night. Mike was away on business and I was preparing to say good bye to my Grammy. I was thinking all week of what I would write about her on my blog to honor her and share her life with others Long story short, she is doing ok and I think we have bought her some more time. But in the midst of all this I ended up going today to say good bye to someone else…Joe Paterno.
While, I didn’t ever meet him personally (I have had the privilege of meeting his wife and one son who were just lovely people) he was definitely a big part of my life. I am a Penn State Alum, my husband is Penn State Alum, my grandmother is Penn State Alum, my daughter was born in Happy Valley and I currently still live in Happy Valley. There really isn’t a way to be a part of the Penn State community or the State College community and not have your life touched by The Paterno family. I am and always will be proud to be a part of these communities with such an amazing family.
The whole thing has just been very surreal. When Joepa was fired on November 9th I cried. I hadn’t sat in front of the tv crying while watching the news since 9/11 ( and I am in no way saying that Joepa being fired is a tragedy even closely comparable to 9/11) but I did that day. It just wasn’t how things were suppose to end. He was suppose to leave of his own accord. Somehow everything just went terribly wrong! So when I got the news of his passing I was surprised that I didn’t cry. I think because this was natural, we all knew he would die one day and of course no one wanted him to suffer. So I felt a little bit of peace this morning that he went quietly with his family around him without months of pain and suffering. But as Mike and Ella and I drove through campus this morning on our way to pay our respects at the Joepa statue I had such a weird and empty feeling. Something just didn’t seem right about the campus. Even once they had fired him I still took comfort that he was still here in town. I knew that just because he wasn’t coaching any more didn’t mean he would stop being a prescence in our community. There is this cheesy Christian song that says, “There’s a God shaped hole in all of us”. As we drove I kept thinking that this morning there is a Joepa shaped hole in Happy Valley. This town and Univerestity is more than just Joepa and football. There are so many amazing people here that make Happy Valley what it is and while we will always miss him terribly we will carry on and continue to make this region a happy and great place to live. We can never repay Joepa for all that he has done for Penn State and State College but hopefully we can carry on his memory and bring as much honor to it as he has brought to us.
My brother and I tailgating in 2002.