Today is the 11th anniversary of my Grandpa's death. The day completely slipped by me until this evening when I was talking to my Mom on the phone and she reminded me of it. Now I sit here feeling that loss and that deep ache that comes with wishing I could just hug him again...wishing that I could hear him laugh again...see him smile again. He was an incredible man...an amazing father to my Mom and her 2 sisters...and the world's greatest Grandpa to my brother, myself, and my cousins. He was a school teacher. He loved to golf. He loved trains. He was always a happy person. I can honestly say that I do not have a single memory of him being upset or crying. I have so many fond memories of him from my childhood. His birthday was on Christmas Eve, so my family would always gather at our house to celebrate together. One year we all got him a beautiful train set. I will never forget the look on my Grandpa's face when he pulled the wrapping paper off and saw what was inside. He had a huge smile on his face and had a sparkle in his eye that instantly made me see that little kid version of himself...so excited...so happy...it was amazing. I remember him putting me on the crossbar of his 10-speed bicycle when I was a kid and riding me to the park to play. It was like no one else in the world mattered...it was just the two of us out for a ride on a nice summer day...my Grandpa and I. I remember how he would sit down at the kitchen table with me and color. He would talk to me about school and he would make me laugh by sticking his false teeth out. He was funny, kind, caring, and always made me feel important.
Even though it has been 11 years, I still think of him all the time. I think about how great it would have been to have Emma get to meet him. I think about how he would have loved her and she would have loved him. They would have colored together...played together...laughed together. When Emma was much smaller...I think probably around 2 years old...she told me that she saw an old man in the house one time. I was stunned at first and thought that maybe she was just making up silly stories like most 2 year olds do. So, just to play along...I asked her what he looked like. She told me that he had white hair, wore glasses, and had on jeans and a grey shirt with blue and yellow letters on it. Well, my jaw hit the floor...my stomach leapt up into my throat, I couldn't believe it....she had just described my Grandpa. He had a Notre Dame shirt that he really liked to wear that were those exact colors, he wore glasses, he had white hair. I truly believe that she did see him that day. I think kids are more perceptive to seeing things of that nature than adults are. We become too jaded as we get older...we close our minds to the whole idea of something like that being possible.
I speak to my Grandpa often still. When I am up in the wee hours of the morning, struggling to get Emma's blood sugars in range, scared that I will fail and she will die....I talk to him...I ask him to help me...I ask him to watch out for us and help us get through this horrible situation. When Emma was still on injections, I have many times walked upstairs to her room with the BG meter in my hand...talking to my Grandpa...asking him to be there with me...saying that I just need her BG to be a 10.0 so I could know that she would make it through the night...and it would turn out to be that exact number.
I know he is with us. I know he is watching over us. I know that one day I will get the chance to hug him and tell him thank you for being there for Emma and I. I know that one day will come.
Until then, Grandpa...I love you with all of my heart and miss you terribly. I hope that you are getting to enjoy all the golf games you like...and that you have the most amazing train set up there to play with whenever you desire. I love you and when I lay my head down on my pillow tonight, know that I am sending a kiss and hug up to you.