I’ve learned that it’s the day-to-day, seemingly insignificant moments that you remember the strongest. And when they’re no longer there, those are the moments you miss the most.
We knew it was coming, but the words still stung. “He’s passed.”
As all people do, you had your successes and shortcomings. But I only saw the good in you and for that I’m thankful. I have no unpleasant memories or tainted stories. Every memory I have of you is full of joy, and I think that’s how it should be when you’re thinking of a grandparent.
You were always there – every soccer game, every holiday, every church performance, every end of the school year program, everything.
I remember when my parents both worked and we would come over to your house and spend the day with you. It would start off with helping you take your blood sugar (which I eventually learned was because you had diabetes and I literally thought you were allergic to candy bars haha) and then like clockwork we would eat a bowl of Cheerios at 8 am at the bar in the kitchen.
You would pour two packets of something on it which I eventually found out was sugar (luckily I learned after I was informed diabetes did not mean you were allergic to candy bars haha). I always wondered how you never got tired of eating the exact same cereal every morning, but now that I’m older I totally understand sticking with your favorite. In between bites, you would tell me stories about your life and I always loved listening to them.
I remember sometimes we would drive Grandma places in your minivan and I was short enough that I could walk up and down the aisle without touching the ceiling and I thought that was so cool. I remember sitting in your driveway with pennies, quarters, nickels and dimes in your hand as you taught me what the difference was between them all. And when I got one right, you let me keep it. I remember when you told me I was getting really good at the game and you would go broke if we kept playing so we stopped.
I remember you taking me to a local diner to meet your buddies and they had a toybox up front that kids could take toys from while they were eating. They had a panda bear with a heart and I always grabbed that one and was really bummed when it wasn’t there anymore. It seemed like from that moment on, we got each other stuffed bears randomly as Christmas or birthday gifts and it always made us smile. I didn’t think of it as “our thing” until I saw pictures of you in hospital beds holding onto the panda bear I had gotten you and multiple family members specifically asked me if I noticed that you were holding my bear.
I remember after the 2001 earthquake you were the first person to come over and make sure we were okay.
I remember you teaching Daniel and me how to play chess, but it turned into a “you and Dan” thing because he actually challenged you and made you have to think about your moves.
I remember you were the only person who gave me a gift on my brother’s birthday (and visa-versa). And you didn’t hide that Polly Pocket house very well in your office and I totally saw it 😝
I remember you had the best movie collection and you would let us borrow them but we had a limit to how many we could take before returning the others and I remember thinking it was like a library but with actually good movies haha.
I remember you let me interview you for a school project and it was during that interview that I decided I wanted to live a life full of stories like you so I would have something cool to share when I got older.
I remember I told you I wanted to get into photography so you gave me my first DSLR camera.
You were by far the biggest Seahawks fan I knew and I loved how intensely you watched the pre-game, game, and post-game shows. I could always talk to you about football.
I remember after I moved to Alabama and would come up to visit, I would hug you and wonder if that was going to be the last hug. You would always squeeze me so tight with a big sigh and say, “I miss you kid!”
My heart aches but is happy for you at the same time because I know you are finally not in pain. You can see clearly and are eating all the Cheerios you can. You probably have a panda bear as a pet and German Shepherd because that was your favorite kind of dog. I bet your room is decked out in Seahawks swag and you’re hanging out with your brother that you talked about missing so much. But I think my favorite part is knowing that you’re excited to see us when our time comes. I’m excited to see you someday too.
It’s sad to know that my girls will only know you through pictures of you two together when they were babies. They would have loved your stories and eating Cheerios with you. But I know it’ll be fun to pass down what you left me, and I am thankful for the many and sweet memories I have with you from my childhood and adult years. They will always be special to me!
I am so beyond thankful I got to talk to you on the phone that Sunday (3.24.19) one last time before you passed. After hearing all the stories of you not remembering people who you saw regularly, I was mortified that you wouldn’t remember me because I hadn’t seen you in months. But when you eagerly repeated my name and instantly talked about how much you missed me, I couldn’t help but start chocking back tears. I listened intently as you told me one last story about you being on a plane and when you told me you had to go, I quickly spit out the last words I knew I would get to say to you. “I love you very much Grandpa and every time I eat a bowl of Cheerios I think of you and every time I see a panda bear I think of you too.” I’m honestly surprised I got those words out because as soon as I stopped tears streamed down my face. “Aww I love you too hun!” and just like that, we hung up.
So I guess all of that to say, thank you for bringing Daniel and me along on your daily routine. Thank you for letting us raid your DVD collection and sit in your recliners. Thank you for the stories. Thank you for the hugs. Thank you for making us a priority and always being there. Thank you for the memories.