The whole grief process is fortunately pretty new to me. I have lived such a happy, love filled life with very little loss. I realize that my grandpa is no longer hurting and that I should be happy for him, but logic does not seem to soothe my spirit. At this point, the grief is just sitting on my chest, emptying my stomach, and immobilizing my body. I miss him and have my fair share of "what ifs". On one hand, I wish so badly the sadness would pass, but on the other hand, I am afraid that the memories will fade with the tears. Hopefully, the list below will expand rather than diminish with time. Hopefully, writing down happy times will prove cathartic. Hopefully, reading this will encourage you and me to make the most of our time on earth. Hopefully, I can be half as good of a person as my grandpa was.
In no particular order, things I never want to forget:
- How my sister used to attempt a French farewell of "Au revoir, Grandpa!" but it came out "Borshwa, 'Rampa!" and he never corrected her or cared.
- How he would drive my sister and I through McDonald's for "white" and "pink" shakes, respectively.
- How he called ice cream sandwiches "granola bars".
- How he read to my mother's first grade class every Friday...and how he loved kids in general.
- How he dressed up as Santa every Christmas that he could.
- How he ached for those in need to the point of gullibility. I remember one instance of him giving $20 to a man begging for gas money despite my grandmother's protests.
- How he would sing "You Are my Sunshine" as I held his hands, walked my feet up his body, and flipped over.
- How he always had a camera around his neck.
- How fast he dropped his beloved camera to the sand when I was ripped out to sea by an undercurrent at the age of 8.
- How we would go down the "roller coaster" in his car (C Hill in Carlsbad, NM).
- How he had two mugs of hot chocolate waiting every morning for my sister and I on our way to high school.
- How he made a spaghetti feast for our midnight snacks (really 9:00) during sleepovers at his house.
- How we stayed every Friday night with him and my grandmother growing up.
- How he would tell lame jokes and everyone would laugh anyway.
- How he argued to open presents on Christmas Day every year, despite the family tradition being Christmas Eve.
- How he would do something ornery and sip a glass of water while hearing about it from my grandmother.
- How he built me a pink treehouse in his back yard.
- How he would bring Arby's jalapeño poppers to me as a snack before my orthodontist appointments (I have no clue how this started or was seen as a good idea. Lol).
- How he'd call me "just to hear [my] voice".
- How he could palm a basketball and spin it on his finger indefinitely.
- How he tried to sound like Donald Duck.
- How we'd listen to his Elvis, Glen Campbell, and Ray Steven's tapes.
- How he let me drive his mint green truck, which I believe was bought from the Arkansas Dept. of Forestry, down the alley when I was a kid.
- How he cried at one of my wedding dress fittings.
- How I could yell his name in the lobby of his work and see his head peak over the bannister a few floors up.
- How he'd repeat the same few observations on traffic or weather or whatever while driving through town. They became recurring jokes between my sister, dad, and I.
- How he'd tell us "legends" as bed time stories on those Friday night sleepovers.
- How he could strike up a conversation with anyone.
- How he would stifle every. single. sneeze.
- How he loved Westerns.
- How sentimental he was.
- How he'd mix all his food on his plate.
- How he neatly stacked all his trash at restaurants...namely the half and half containers after Saturday morning breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
- How he'd draw Bugs Bunny on every card to me.
- How chest boastingly proud he was of every little accomplishment in my life.
Even now, with selfish tears warming my cheeks, I have such a smile plastered across my face. My grandpa was a great man who brought so much unconditional love and happiness into my life and countless others. I know it is typical to speak hyperbolically after the passing of a loved one, but this comes with no exaggeration at all. My grandpa was the most selfless, kind, honorable, trusting, loving man I have ever known. Both he and my grandmother made it their life mission to prove to my sister and I how precious we are in their world. I am forever grateful for the special time I was granted with him.
The few pictures of him I have stored on my hard drive manage to capture a fraction of his spirit. You can't help but smile with him.
I'll love and miss you forever, 'Rampa. Borshwa!