11 July 2011

Grandpa: personal

Dear Grandpa,

You know how people always remember loved ones who have passed on, saying things like "it feels like just yesterday they were here." I know what they mean now. I know how it feels like in an instant I went from a 13 year old who loved on you every second I had and now I'm 25 and hoping I've made you proud.  I know now what it feels like to see your family try and pick up the pieces after the one who held us together is gone. I know too, how it feels to see that family celebrate when we added a family member just a few months ago and after all the weather guys said "rain rain rain," the sun burst forth and everybody got sunburned sitting there at the park, watching Kayla and Andrew get married. And I know that all of us knew you had a little something to do with that.

You always had that way about you, convincing people to do things like let you into Disneyland campground when you didn't have a reservation or telling me to just eat the peas because they were good for me. All you had to do was smile, just keep smiling.

I remember the week I spent with you and Grandma and Aunt Nell instead of going back to finish up the last week of seventh grade. That was probably the first grown-up decision I ever made and I could tell you were really glad I made it. Even though you were in the hospital then, I spent as much time as I could with you, just holding your hand or watching you, trying to embed images of you in my head so I would never forget.

And I haven't. Every single day I think about you and laugh, knowing you're probably up there telling Jesus all these tall tales and silly jokes. For a few years after you left, I kept hoping you'd be around the corner, or pull up into the driveway and tell me just one more. I know someday, I'll hear one again and give you just one more giggly eye-roll.

I keep this image on my phone, on my computer, on my dresser just so I can see you every day. Your leaving us taught me the power behind images - that they really do have the capability to invoke feeling and memories. Losing you made me (and Spenser and Ryan and Kayla and Sarah) all grow up a little bit faster, knowing we had a job to do: keep you alive for the rest of us. And I think we have. Your smiling face in this photo makes me want to create those memories for other people's families. Spens and Ry have our name tattooed on them and Kayla and Sarah? You would be so proud of the women they are growing up to be.

The week you left us, most of us had lunch at this buffet and my fortune was something along the tune of: your family will become closer. Something about bonding a family or remembering a family. I burst into tears right there and then and knew you were still with us.

You're always here with us, sometimes in a big way like a sunny wedding day, but sometimes in a little way like the way my Daddy tells those corny jokes and I roll my eyes at him.

I am so proud to call you ours and know you would be so proud of me, of all of us. So proud of how we've all grown up and graduated high school and gone to college and gotten real jobs and followed our dreams. We're hopeful for the future but always keeping you in our hearts, knowing you're the one that holds us all together.

I love you forever,
sydnee re.

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