Yesterday marked the 4th anniversary of Papa Junior's passing. He's the first and so far only grandparent I've lost. I count myself blessed to have enjoyed him for as many years as I did because I'm mindful others aren't as fortunate. That being said, it doesn't make Christmas or family get togethers any easier. His chair, now 4 years removed from the house,
and not from our minds, is empty.
My grandpa's chair sat directly in front of the door. He's was the first person to get a glimpse of anyone who entered, the last person you saw before you left. Each time I enter, I still feel the void of that chair, although new funiture has taken over it's spot. My grandpa was strong and funny. He could hold my hands and arms so tight I couldn't move. He was so strong from many, many hard years of work at the highway department. His skin was always tanned and tough.
My grandpa passed away during my semester of student teaching. He passed away 6 months before my wedding. I'm forever grateful for the fact that he knew Trevor many years and knew and approved of our wedding plans. The very last memory I have of my grandpa was just the two of us. I knew he wasn't going to make it to my wedding, at least not here on earth, so I brought my wedding dress to his house to try on for him. Just the two of us, him sitting his his hospital chair, (Trevor hidding in another room to avoid seeing me) we spent a few moments both aware why this moment was taking place right then.
I wrote this about my grandpa the day he died.
My grandpa took pictures with a camera he didn't know how to use, of people he couldn't quite see because family is important.
My grandpa kept a Happy Meal Furby that I gave him for a decade, and 3 books under his shelf that had been read 100 times because family is important.
My grandpa showed me how to fix his sage dressing at Christmas and teased me about green beans because family is important
My grandpa called me every week to ask about college life, he asks me what I'm cooking cause he knows I love to cook and family is important
When I visit he wants to know when I'm coming back to stay longer, because family is important
My grandpa takes me to The Rocking Chair restraunt to get coconut cream pie because he knows it's my favorite and family is important
My grandpa tells me about his life and family history, he wants me to know where we've come from because family is important
He listens to Trevor's bluegrass band CD in his van, because even new members of the family are important
He lectures me on tatoos, toe rings, and piercing because he cares about the way I present myself because family is important
I call him to ask a sausage question I know the answer to, because I want him to know he's important
I wrote a paper on his life and family because I want him to know I care about where he came from, and he's important
I show him my wedding dress early because I know he won't see me on my day and I want him to know he's important
My grandpa is strong, proud, brave, loyal, and stubborn. All those things he passed on to me to stories, teasing, time invested over the phone, meals, holidays, and summers. How do I know my grandpa loved me? He lived it...louder than words.