Grief, again.

Our neighborhood lost a great man this week. Up until a few months ago, Mack Gorrod  was still rising early every morning to feed his cows. Whenever we had a big snow storm, he would drive his tractor over to plow our driveway. He insisted. He always brought a few treats for our cow dog, who greeted him with enthusiasm every time.

The first time I cried for Mack was the day last fall when they cut down his apple orchard. I knew that once his trees were gone, he would soon follow.

Since his death three days ago, I’ve tried numerous times to write about Ol’ Mack. Yet I find myself unable to articulate the depth of my sorrow. So I was interested to see Slate’s first installment of what looks to be a fascinating look at grief. It follows Meghan O’Rourke‘s outstanding series The Long Good-bye. (The basis of a book by the same title.) The series asked readers to describe their experiences with grief and offers a glimpse into one of our most personal emotions.

Mack had a stroke the same day that my 92-year-old grandma died, and when I saw the ambulance go by that morning–minutes after my mom had given me the news about grandma–I was beside myself. Losing Grandma Penner–my last remaining grandparent–was difficult enough. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing Ol’ Mack too.

We didn’t lose Mack that day; he held on for two more months. In retrospect I’m not sure that was what anyone wanted.

Some day when I gain my composure, I hope to write something more about Mack, but for now all I can say is, Mack was the bedrock of this place I call home.

Farewell Mack Gorrod. This place will not be the same without you.

8 thoughts on “Grief, again.”

  1. Thank you for this kind story of my Uncle Mack, he was such a wonderful man and always kind to his family, taking us to the Mesa, letting us ride in his jeep, snowmobiles and me the only city cousin dumb enough to try to ride a cow through his apple orchard. Gorrod’s were raised to help others and if you look any of us up, you will find that we are instilling this in our children as well.

    Thank you for the words that made me cry, for a man I will miss dearly and loved.

  2. By the way in the background of him on his tractor was the home of my Grandparents on the other side Clay & Virgie Bohanan.

  3. Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful tribute! Mack was my great uncle. My grandfather Walt Gorrod, was Mack’s younger brother. Both were so very much alike and he will be very missed by SO many!
    One of the things I remember most about him was how he would bring my grandparents and me fresh apples and dried apples from their orchard every summer and fall. Many a pie/cobbler etc. growing up were from those apples! I was so very sad when I had heard he had to finally cut his trees down. I too knew that it wouldn’t be long before he was gone too. His orchard and his farm really were the things that held him to this world. They were his everything!

  4. I also want to thank you for the beautiful story on Mack Gorrod…His mom Josie and my Grandpa Dawson Bowers were brother and sister…Aunt Josie helped raise my Grandpa cause there mama died in childbirth…Mack was a special man and I always loved to visit with him whenever he came to Oklahoma….We cousins in Oklahoma will miss him too!!

  5. Thank you for your kind and loving attention to Aunt Joann and for the most welcome article on Uncle Mack. Do you write professionally for magazines or ???

  6. Thank you for the tribute. Mack was my first cousin. He seemed more like an uncle to me than a cousin as he was so much older. My dad Dawson Bowers was his mom, Josie’s baby brother. Three years ago on our way home from visiting relatives (one being his oldest sister, Mary) in California, we stopped by to see Mack , Joanne and Lenora Porter. Of course, while there, the apples were ripe and we picked as many apples as we could possibly bring back. He raised the best apples in the country. The land they own was our property when I was 9 months old. But, we moved back to Oklahoma when I was 18 months old. Thanks again.

  7. Thank you for the tribute of my uncle Mack. He was my dads older and last living brother. I will miss him.
    Thanks again.

  8. […] A couple of retired diplomats my parents’ age have become some of my dearest friends, and I would have never met them had I not joined my local library board. Even my dead-end road has become a source of social comfort. I didn’t know that I needed a friendship with an 89-year-old apple farmer, and yet my life is so much richer for having known Mack Gorrod. […]

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