A Love Letter to Grandpa on Father’s Day
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I miss you. Really miss you. I didn’t have to see you every day or even every month to know that you were there. You were sitting in that chair with your comically large magnifying glass and the newspaper. You were drinking coffee early in the day after having changed into pants with a belt, and a button-down shirt with a pocket to hold your comb, all before I was awake. You read the newspaper early so you could share it with your girlfriend who lived in the building and get your walk in down the halls. She would bring you leftovers to share for dinner while you watched TV together and I’d ask who got the first-overs knowing she didn’t want you to know it was a bother to cook for you both. Likely it wasn’t.
You had an enviable life. You died with a family who adored you, a community who respected you, a wife of 55 years waiting for you to be reunited and a new friend of 24 years waiting to see you again at her time. I am in awe. I am in awe at your capacity for love and compassion. Your capacity to live fully and laugh with all your body. I am grateful for the dance at my cousin’s wedding and the moment I saw joy in your eyes as you said to me, “Krissy, no one else is dancing.” “That’s okay.” And, you replied, “I haven’t danced in years. How about another one?” I am grateful to have had the time to sit by your bedside while you slept, to hug your slight frame when I came to visit, and to watch you show off your physical fitness and training.
You were my spare father growing up. My dad had his hand’s full and you were always at the ready to teach me how to play cribbage, stare at me wide-eyed when I was able to finish the Rubik’s Cube or to offer up a magic trick. You would listen with rapt attention to the banal stories I would offer and glow like I was filling you with sunshine every time. You sat patiently when I interviewed you for countless school projects, asked you to watch the dance I created, or even now as I talk to you in the kitchen with our one-sided dialogue.
Grandpa, I only hope to be half the person you were to others and to my grandchildren one day. Because that was your secret. You treated everyone like they were your grandchildren and deserved your time, respect, reverence, listening ears, and patience. You were a gift to the world and, most certainly to me and the rest of our family.
Happy Father’s Day Grandpa. I love you.
Lest anyone get the idea to call me Krissy… only two people in the world ever called me that. When they died, so did the name 🙂 Although, if you called me Krissy on occasion, it might make me smile so I’m a bit torn. Also, Grandpa loved this picture because he looked so young. Me too. Same reason.