Hi, Grandpop. How’s the weather up there today? It looks like you’ve worked your magic and sent us another beautiful day to remind us you’re looking after us. Sunshine and a high of 84? It seems like perfect weather to sit out on the deck and have a cold Red, White & Blue in your honor. Thanks for that.
I can’t believe it’s been 14 years since we lost you. Or that I have lived more of my life without you in it than I did with you. Except that I’m not without you – you are always with me, every single day. When I’m having a bad day, I think of your smile and your hugs and everything is OK.
I want to thank you for everything you taught me in the 10 too-short years I knew you. The meaning of love. A sense of adventure. The value of family. Dignity and grace.
And of course there were the less “meaningful” lessons too. That vinegar is one hell of a tanning agent. That nobody’s pickles in the entire world will ever taste as good as the ones you made from the cucumbers you grew. That rocking short-shorts and a sweatband while building a shed is the way to go. That a big belly laugh and a hug can cure a lot of things.
I wish I had more memories of you. I deserved more memories of you. We all did. But you (and we) deserved an end to your suffering too.
You would be so proud of all your grandkids, Grandpop. We’ve grown into some pretty cool people and we’ve all got our heads on our shoulders. And I can’t even imagine how much you would love your great-grandson. I think Nana loves him enough for both of you though.
It makes me sad that my memories of your death are more vibrant than my memories of your life. But the way your death was handled was so representative of the way you lived your life. We threw one hell of a party in your honor, Grandpop. There was no mistaking the lives you touched on that day.
Even now, anytime we get together with people from “the old neighborhood” – your daughters’ friends, like Rose and Bev and Rox and Cookie – they can’t help but talk about you at some point. You always come up in conversation.
They recount stories of how you busted them for breaking curfew or how you saved them from a bad situation. Their faces light up when they talk about you and they say to me and my cousins, “Oh, if only you could have known him more. He was the greatest man I knew.”
That seems to be consensus, and for good reason. Thank you for everything, Grandpop. For teaching us how to live and love.
We love you and miss you every day.