It is July 4th, which means a day of family, something I know you always enjoyed so much. I can hardly believe you have been gone almost 14 years now, it seems like just yesterday you called on my birthday. I know you loved holidays because 4 generations of the family would come together and celebrate. We are carrying on the tradition now that you and grandma are gone, but it just isn’t the same.
I miss you asking about my kids, how they were doing and marveling at their progress. You’d be so proud, Mike did master the Highland bagpipes shortly after you left us, and made it on to the sheriff’s department. His career is 8 years long already, and you’d beam I’m certain as much as I do when he is in uniform. And I know you’d pray every day for his safety as much as I do too. Liesl’s love of animals has taken her on to college and into the Veterinarian Tech. program, kind of vet nurses. She loves her job at the animal clinic and is on the dean’s list every term.
The day we buried you I had determined to be so strong…then in the back of church Liesl looked up at me, deaths reality finally hitting her 6 year old mind and she said, “mommy, he is never coming back again is he?” through her tears. Flood gates open, so much for staying strong. I so wished Michael had been ready to play the pipes then. He played them at Grandma’s though, the first great grandchild escorting her out of the church, I know you would have approved.
On Christmas Eve I miss you in the Santa hat, handing out gifts to the many gathered together to celebrate. We still gather but again, it just doesn’t feel quite the same without you there.
I think the thing I miss most is you sharing your knowledge and encouraging me to be the best person I can be in spite of my circumstances. I taught my kids the things you taught me, like if you don’t have anything nice to say it isn’t necessary to say anything at all. I have no idea if it is where you first heard it, but after seeing it in the movie, Bambi, I started calling it the Thumper rule. I also taught them not to judge others and to always give the benefit of the doubt. I always knew I could come to you with any problem I was having and you’d have advice and wisdom to share that when pondered would help.
I am SO missing you right now, and wish so much I could have just 10 minutes with you again to ask for your knowledge. My heart is in so many pieces and while I do have mostly great days and focus on the silver lining in the storm clouds currently swirling in my life, there are just those times when I wonder, “what would Fred say?” and I try to imagine. I sometimes go to the cemetery and just sit by your stone and talk to you, wishing you could hear and answer. I know I will get through this, I am your granddaughter and my mother’s daughter, it is what we do. I just wish so much you were here to talk too. Oh and I know you’d get a huge kick out of the Diva Den/Princess Palace and completely give your blessing to us women in the family pulling together to take care of each other this way.
I will always be thankful for the special relationship that we had because I was the first grandchild and we shared a birthday. I will always be thankful you were here with us for so long, in sound mind and body until the end, that my children had the rare blessing of knowing their great-grandparents. We’re back to 3 generations on holidays, but soon enough one of the great-grandkids will have children of their own and I know from somewhere up above you’ll lean over to Grandma and say “look what we started”.
I never thought it could still hurt so much after so long, and yet here I am in tears again that you are gone.
I miss you, Grandpa.
*photo credit: Salvatore Vuono – Freedigitalphotos.net