I wrote this little note on a piece of paper I still have today in the hours after my Grandpa passed away Super Bowl Sunday when I was 15. He and my Grandma were driving home and hit a patch of black ice and in a matter of minutes...maybe seconds it was over. His life was over. No goodbyes, no last words, nothing. And life is like that sometimes...a sucker punch to the gut that leaves you breathless and seeing stars...
I wonder what torture that must have been for my Grandma to hear the love of her life take his final breaths. And its hard to think about. I was supposed to be in the car with them that evening. I spent part of the day with my Grandpa because he was helping me practice parallel parking so that come May I could get my license. I am so thankful that I had that time with him. I wish I would have known because I wouldn't have ever stopped hugging him. I would have breathed in his scent and memorized the way it felt to be hugged by him. I would have recorded the sound of his laughter. You see, he had a great laugh. When I think of him I think of that. It was one of those laughs that is contagious and even if something isn't that funny you cant help but laugh along.
I said I was supposed to be with them...BUT it was Super Bowl Sunday and I wanted to hang out with my boyfriend and some other kids from school. I used to wonder if I could have saved him...
like maybe he would have let me drive for the extra practice and I might have missed the black ice and I wouldn't be talking about him dying. Then I think...what if I would have died...
It's too much to think about and I'll never know so I stopped torturing myself years ago. Denial is a funny thing, it makes the craziest of thoughts seem sane. Like, I used to think his death was some sort of conspiracy and I used to look for his face in cars that passed by... It was really hard to accept that he was gone forever.
I can't really explain who my Grandpa was to me except that he was my favorite person. He had this special way of making me feel important. I can remember when he would introduce me to anyone he always used adjectives..not just; "hey, this is my grand daughter" but more like; "This is MY grand daughter, we think she is something special, smart, wonderful, etc. I always felt like I was his favorite. But then I think everyone who knew him probably thought that because that's the kind of guy he was. He used to call my Grandma his girlfriend in a silly, flirty voice. I remember seeing him sometimes brush and braid her hair...it was long.. and I just remember thinking he was so gentle. Sometimes my Grandma's yells said otherwise. If we went to restaurants he made it a point to know the waitress' name... and that's what I mean about him making people feel special. There are people who are genuine and who notice and that's the kind of guy he was. He always had a pocket protector and an abundance of pens in his shirt pocket. He had this certain smell, and that laugh...I can't say enough about it.
I can remember when he and my Grandma would come to visit one of the ways we
(my siblings and I ) showed our love was to make sure when we set the table he got the special blue flower plate...we had a matching set of plates but in my mind and my sibling's minds the blue flower plate was a badge of honor. So, Grandpa...I hope you eat every meal in heaven off a pretty blue flower plate. We would FIGHT over who got to sit next to him, and I always wanted to hold his hand. And when we left restaurants or other places if we were holding hands he would run with me and jump and it was just so fun and magical. The crazy thing is we only saw them a couple of times a year but that speaks volumes about the kind of Grandparent and person he was. He managed to cram lifetimes of memories into days and weeks.
I actually wanted to ask him if when I got married he would walk me down the aisle...I wanted to make him promise but I was afraid if I asked he would die before that day came...like I would jinx it...I was so dark geez! I wish I would have asked anyway...because then you he would know.
My favorite memory I have of him happens to be captured in a photograph but then maybe thats not a coincidence..maybe the photograph helped solidify that memory because I was young. I was five I think and he and Grandma came to visit us in California and we went hiking around. We were standing on what felt like and looked like a cliff to me and he wanted me to jump down. It felt impossible and scary but he held my hand and we leapt...at least it felt that way. It was exhilarating and I was so proud of myself after. Im so glad there is a picture. Ive had it framed and with me for the last 17 years.
Anyway, I am a HUGE "This is Us" fan and Im a little obsessed with Jack so like every other American woman my heart died a little when his character's death was finally revealed. "Crazy" that the episode aired on Super Bowl Sunday and his character died on Super Bowl Sunday all those years ago. I KNOW its fiction but the feelings and emotions hit me like a ton of bricks. Suddenly I was 15 again and my heart was breaking all over again. Thank God I didn't actually watch it on Super Bowl Sunday. Not sure how cathartic that would have been. Super Bowls used to be tough for me but enough time has gone by that life has gone on...its not the same but lets just say Im not looking for my Grandpa's face in cars passing me on the highway.
When I found out he died I was SO mad at God....More mad then I've ever been about anything. At that point in my life I was pretty sure everyone sucked and I kind of hated people...And I thought why would you (God) take someone so good. I felt like the world was so full of terrible people and so God should leave the good ones alone...like we seriously need people like my Grandpa on this earth...did He not know that...was He selfish?? Did He want him all to himself. Did God not know how much we all needed him, how much I needed him...In my mind it was like God orchestrated the whole thing.
This is all terribly sad but I had to talk about him and how wonderful he was so I could talk about my husband and how wonderful he is. They are two men cut from the same cloth! Oh Austin, you would have loved my Grandpa. He was a pilot too so you would have lots to talk about!
And your laugh...yeah its a great one! It's loud and contagious. And even if something isn't that funny you cant help but laugh along with you.
Seriously, Austin...YOU are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You have seen me in pieces so broken I thought there was no hope and you didn't leave. You might have wanted to sometimes..I think you saw the real me and you thought I was worth it.
You are one of the good ones and I am one of the lucky ones. You are a man of integrity. You have principals and morals and values that quite honestly not a lot of men have these days. And let me just say this...You as a father have surpassed any and every expectation I could have ever had. You genuinely want to spend time with our family. Like...you sleep with Landon in his tiny twin bed just to make him feel special...You take him hunting and fishing when I know it would be so much easier to go alone. You "camp" out with him in the playroom because you said you would even though you have a trip the next day and you have to be up at 5AM. You ask him to help with projects even thought he probably adds on hours to the task because you know it will benefit him..And I know how you love your golf yet you take Landon with you any chance you get..again, its about him and not you..your selfless like that, and I notice.
You work hard for our family and you give me the freedom to choose whether I stay home with our babes or go to work. And there is no judgement...that's true freedom, you never have "agendas". You support my interests and hobbies, you encourage me to have friendships and you make it easy to go out with girlfriends and to have time to myself. I LOVE you for this because I need this. You have changed just as many dirty diapers as I have and when I was spiraling with post-partum depression after Landon you were an anchor for our family. And thats what you are...You are my rock.
When I look back on our 12 years together I realize we've grown up together...
We jumped out of an airplane together and you asked me to marry you!
We survived Cancun together as a 20 and 22 year old WOW...
We've made babies together! WE are responsible for two little lives together.
I watched you lose your sister, I know it broke you and it broke me to see that.
We've been through so MANY moves together... ugh!
We finally bought a house together!
We said goodbye to Stewie together.
We lost a baby together.
We were together when your mom battled cancer.
You shaved my head for me when my best friend had cancer and lost her hair.
Through it all; the highest highs and the lowest lows...its been us.
Its like its always been us and it will always be us!
I can't imagine living this life with anyone else.
You are hundreds of miles away and you made me feel special today.
I hope you read this and you feel special.
You are the real deal, you are who they write about...
You are the stuff of fairly tales and happily ever afters.
You are the character people can only imagine and dream up.
I love you.
|Im in love with you seeing you fall in love with Logan|
|You teaching Landon..|
|this one is delicious|
|my boys, my whole world..|
|this...this is why i love you!|
|You told me I could, so I believed you.|