grandpa and me
i am not sure if you can read this. and if you can, i am not sure you can understand. but i am going to write to you like it is the old days, like nothing has changed. it is the only thing i know how to do right now. to write to you like this isn't happening. to write to you like i wish i would have more. to write to you like you were always so diligent in doing to me.
do you know i love you grandpa? i feel it every moment of every day, but i don't always say it. i love you grandpa. more than the sun and stars and the earth, i love you grandpa. i love your bald head, and your laugh, and your black socks and sandals. i love the way your eyes light up when you see your grandkids, your great grandkids. i love how hard you work, how strong you hug, how you always drive the dumpy car and let grandma drive the nice one. i love the way you love Christ. i love the way you love me. i love you grandpa forever and always, no matter where you are.
do you remember how you used to take us to the park to play, or to the hill to sled in the snow? when mom and grandma were too busy, you always had the time. to take us to the pool at cimmaron, to take us to the ball field, to take us to the park to run and swing. i am sure it is because of you that in kindergarten when kevin was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up; he said he wanted to be a dad and take his kids to the park everyday. thank you grandpa, for taking time out of your busy day to sit outside with us. thank you for sacrificing your own time to make time for us.
i am sorry we kept you up every christmas eve, keeping you from sleep all those years. i am sorry you had to come down into the basement in your underwear to yell at us to pipe down so many times. and i am sorry for giggling again the second you shut the door. thank you for letting us continue to come, thank you for inviting us again.
as a little girl i remember rifiling through your desk, counting your hundreds of pens. we were always wanting to buy you new pens, to add to your collection. and when we did, you thanked us whole heartedly. we loved to play with your label maker, until we ran it out of ticker tape. you would get a little mad, but it would quickly pass. did you know that i love label makers to this day? that making a label puts a heart in my song. did you know i obsess over new pens, and to make my day, all it takes is a notebook and a new pack of pens? it dates back to the days of playing in your desk, it's because it brings me memories of you.
i used to think you were king of the world, running the church library. how proud i was of you. "my grandpa is the librarian, you know?" i would say, as if labeling and knowledge of the dewey decimal system made you the most important man in the world. seeing you with a book always in your hand. reading your recomendations, and telling you about the stories i read. watching you helped me love reading. and reading made me want to write. you always read along with me, and read what i wrote. and you enouraged me. you and grandma both. helped shape such a big part of me. thank you grandpa. thank you for reading, and trips to the library, and for encouraging me to read. thank you for reading those silly stories and poetry i wrote as a child, and for encouraging and believing in me. i used to dream of owning a bookstore with you. there could not be a more ideal setting, you and me and a room full of books. everything would be just as it should be.
i used to be afraid of you. did you know that grandpa? i was. when i was a little bitty girl and we didn't live 3 streets over; to me you seemed like a big, mean, giant, hovering over me without a smile for anyone. as a child your dry sense of humor, your seriousness, your large demeanor, was very intimidating. as i grew i saw the smile behind your straight lips and furrowed eyes. as i grew, i saw a rough exterior, leathered from years of work and a life harder than most, hiding a beautiful soul, a gentle soul, a true gentle giant of a man. a gentle giant of a man i couldn't have been happier to have as my grandpa.
whenever i see a beautiful vegetable garden, i think about you grandpa. whenever i see a mailman, or an army uniform, or a grandpa loving his grandchild, i think of you grandpa. the yankees, the rockies, the broncos, anything to do with the state of oklahoma, they all make me think of you. everytime i hear O Holy Night, or see a woman with her thong hanging out the top of her jeans. a sledding hill, or a tornado cloud near a little league baseball field. postcards, and pens, and label makers, they all make me think of you.
i am so glad asher got to meet you, so glad he got to sit in your lap. someday when we are reminiscing, when we are talking about how much we miss you, and how awesome you are, when we are telling him how wonderful his great grandpa was, i can tell him, "you met him asher, he held you on his lap and told you he loved you. he looked at you like you were a wonder to see." i wish so bad that he could be with you grandpa. i wish he could learn from you. i wish you could watch him grow.
you have helped shape me into who i am today. with every rose given to me after a play or concert or volleyball game, you grew my self esteem. with every compliment, and time you told me i was beautiful, i grew stronger and more able. your love and support meant the world to me.
thank you for every letter, every postcard, every card, every piece of sent mail. i've saved every one, i will cherish them for as long as i live, and after that my children will cherish them, reading about your life. i'm sorry i didn't return it grandpa, i know you wanted to hear from me. i know you know i love you, but know i'm sorry too. i love you, and if i could do it again, i would reply to every piece of mail i received.
i am sorry i had to move away grandpa. i am sorry i left you there. i am sorry i don't get to see you everyday anymore. i am sorry i wasn't there when the doctors said the word most dreaded by everyone in humanity. i am sorry i wasn't there to take you to your appointments, or to sit with you at home. i am sorry i wasn't there to help grandma through this time, though she tries to keep a straight face, i know she could use the help. i am sorry i am so far away. maybe more for me, than for you. i will always wish i could have spent more time with you. i will always wish that i could have been there with you. because, i know i am missing out on moments with one of the greatest men i have ever known. i know that my husband, and my baby, will never know you like i do. and i will always wish that they did. he's so much like you grandpa. they say that daughters marry men like thier daddy's. and my momma sure did. and then i did. i am so glad i did. he is strong and a hard worker, just like you. he is calm and centered and sure, just like you. he loves sports like you, and would like to sit alone and watch the game. he saves his words, he's quiet, like you. he hides behind a straight face, but his eyes glow with happiness just like yours do. he loves Jesus like you. he is stubborn, just like you. he doens't tell stories like you. don't tell matthew, but i wish he did. i could listen to you tell stories forever, matthew is nowhere near as good as you. ;)
grandpa, you've worked hard. you've fought hard. every single day of your life. you don't have to keep working, you don't have to keep fighting. you're tired. you don't have to keep taking care of us. we have learned form you, we can take care of the family. don't keep fighting for us. for once think about what is best for you, what will bring you peace and joy. where you're headed, grandpa... it will be beautiful. you will see Jesus' face. and He will look at you, and He will say, "you were not perfect, you made mistakes. but to you I can say, 'well done, my good and faithful servant.'" how i wish i could see your face, as you fall on your knees and hear the angels rejoicing. and you will join them in singing;
"Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!"
~O Holy Night
and you will feel no more pain. you won't have to work or fight again. you can lay down at the feet of Jesus, and praise Him. oh grandpa, what joy you will feel.
and we will miss you. i will miss you. i will miss kisisng your bald head. i will miss seeing you light up. i will miss your stories. i will miss your laugh. i will walk to the mailbox everyday, still wondering if there will be a postcard inside from you. and i will let a tear fall down my cheek, when i remember there will never be again. we will miss you everyday. but you have left a legacy here on this earth. you have left 7 children, and dozens of family members with a legacy that is worth talking about, worth passing, worth living for. we will have hope, grandpa. we will rejoice in knowing that you are singing with the angels, that you are in no more pain. we will rejoice knowing that one day, someday, we will see you again.
i love you grandpa. forever.
grandpa, asher, molly, levi, max