Tonight, I want to dedicate a very special post to one of the greatest men I've ever known: my grandpa.
Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of his death, and on days like today, I enjoy remembering the special memories we had together.
Sixteen years ago, I was five years old, sitting in my bedroom when my mom came home to tell me some of the worst news I've ever received. My grandpa had been sick for quite a while, and she had gone to his house to help him "prepare to go to Heaven." She didn't realize that he would be going so soon. Neither did I.
When I think back about my time with my grandpa, I don't remember him being sick. I remember the fun times we had together, the goofy memories, the laughs we shared. I think about the way he would let my cousin and I prick his finger when it was time for his daily diabetes check, because we had some sick fascination with the way that the little drop of blood appeared. I remember the way he loved all of his grandchild unconditionally, from his biological grandkids, to his foster grandkids, to my best friend (for whom my mom babysat) who wasn't even technically his grandchild at all. I remember the way nothing else mattered except for us; he didn't care about being in the picture if one of our faces could be captured on film instead. I remember how much fun it used to be when he and his three brothers would get together and tell stories, each trying to be funnier than the next; I wish I could remember more about his relationship with his sister, but she passed away when I was very young. I remember how he was always there for me, no matter what.
Sixteen years is a long time to go without hearing his voice; I don't even remember what it sounds like anymore, so I'm looking forward to going through the home videos we just found as we were packing. Sometimes I forget specific features on his face, or how different he looked when he was sick compared to when he was healthy. You don't really remember anything from before you were two or three, which means I only remember about half of the time I had with him. I think some of the things I remember aren't even memories at all, but stories that my parents have told me over the years. Like the way he would try to convince me to eat a chocolate chip cookie with him, but I would politely refuse since I had enjoyed a cookie the day before (yeah, where's that kid now?)... I just remember my mom telling me about that, but I don't remember actually having that conversation with him. I don't have memories of how much he loved ice cream, but my mom always tells me how that would be his go-to treat if his diabetes were under control on any given day. I thought about him when I made an ice cream run tonight.
My grandpa didn't live long enough to meet my siblings. He didn't live long enough to see me go to prom, or head to college, or graduate with my degree in education. He didn't live long enough to hear about the book I'm writing, or to read my blog, or to see the new house we're moving to in Florida. But he did live long enough to make a lasting impression on me, and to help my life begin in the best way possible, surrounded by love and family. He lived long enough to make me believe that he would be so proud of me for everything that I'm accomplishing.
I live my life in a way that I hope would make my grandpa proud. I wish he was here to talk to when I'm unsure of myself, or to give me a hug when I'm feeling sad, but I know that he's looking down on me and he's always in my heart. I just have to think of him to know that he's looking out for me and my family, guiding us through our lives. And even though the pain of losing him will never go away, I've learned to cope with it and use that pain to propel me through any obstacles that I face throughout my life. I know that's what he would have wanted. I loved him so much, and will continue to love him each and every day for the rest of my life. I'll never stop missing him.
I hope to continue to make my grandpa proud as I move forward with my writing journey. I hope you'll help me reach my goal of 150 likes on my Facebook author page by the time I'm celebrating a year of blogging on July 29th, and it would mean so much to me if everyone could like and share my page. It's as simple as clicking the two buttons at the top right of any blog page, so it only takes a few seconds of your time! As I've mentioned before, when I reach 150 likes, I will share information about the novel that I've been working on, so I'm really excited to hit that milestone!
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