For Grandpa

September 22, 2010 at 1:33 am
filed under family, life, things that make me cry
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Grandpa at Christmastime 2008

To Grandpa, I know you can’t read this, but who knows? Maybe you can. You are with us even though your physical self has gone quiet. Even though I’ll never see you again in this life, my heart feels so full.

Thinking about you all the time. You left us too soon, but you gave us so much. Thank you for every countless piece of licorice or cookie you gave me (“one for each hand”), every single time you picked me up from school or work and called me granny for walking so slowly, every school assembly you came to, every bag of Better Made chips on Halloween, every camping trip or family vacation, every 2-liter of pop when we were “dying of thirst” next door and water wouldn’t do, every McIntosh apple in the fall, every joke you made, every birthday, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and ordinary day spent hanging out at your house, all the times we kids spent the night and I cried for my parents in the wee hours and you watched out your front door with your porch light turned on for me to walk safely home, every summer day spent swimming and eating watermelon in your backyard til our Polish complexions burnt crisp, every VHS tape you copied for us and let us watch on repeat until it must’ve driven you crazy, every ride around the yard in the back of the tractor – that was my favorite – and thank you for the simplest things like every neighborly borrowed cup of sugar. Thank you for giving my parents a place to live.

A tractor ride - his specialty!

 Thank you for being such a positive male influence in my life and for radiating pure love. Thank you for the silent, enveloping comfort it provided me, when I was a kid, to peer down from my seat up in the choir loft at St. Joes to see the top of your head in your unchanging spot on the pew – I never told you this, but as a small child, my way of confirming your identity from way up there was by the mole on the back of your head. 🙂 For giving me toast and orange juice for breakfast because I didn’t like milk and letting me draw pictures on a paper plate each morning before I went to afternoon kindergarten, for playing euchre with us at family gatherings, for teaching me how to make stuffed cabbage, for “stealing” my bike to teach me a lesson when I left it out unlocked, for reminding me to study hard every single day I went to school, thank you.

Thank you for raising my mom to love my dad, my sisters and me with wreckless abandon. And thank you for making sure that I have a network of aunts, uncles and cousins whose well being will always be first in each other’s lives.

Heaven is a more fortunate place now that you’re up there. You told me at the end that you were looking forward to finding out what it would be like. You said that when we get as old as you are, we wouldn’t be afraid of it. I know you said you’d like to be at my wedding some day, but that you didn’t think it would happen. Thank you for telling me that the man in my life is a good one and that I’m lucky to have him. I will miss you every time I walk into your house and think, “Where’s Grandpa?” and your perpetual seat at your family table is unfilled. My heart will break every time I think of how much you loved and spoiled our dogs and how they knew you by name and loved you, and how even the two of them sense that things are different now.

I hope you’ll tell Grandma I love her. You are incredible and unforgettable, and the world is better off for having had you in it. My world won’t be the same without you, but it’s been rich because you’ve been a part of it. It is true that love never dies, and you instilled a love so deep in all of us that it will be paid forward forever in the future. Your home and your heart were always open to anyone who needed love, help, comfort, safety, food, sweets, advice, prayers, childcare, entertainment, talk, coffee, cookies, or company, and I can only aspire to live like that. Thank you, Grandpa, for everything.

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