Grandpas Great Granpas and what makes a PopPop

A year since you have passed....I wouldn't trade the hurt not to have had you....POPPOP

Dear PopPop,

It has been a year now....and the loss is felt no less, but I wouldn't trade it...to trade would be to never have had you in my life.....

Josh just stood and looked at you...staunch when he first saw you at Hospice...I could see his love and heartbreak all at the same time....I told him to cry and he broke down...tears of loss......Aaron stood by your casket and talked to you as if you were there...you were, weren't you??!! Albert actually broke down giving the Homily....he can always keep his composure....sometimes the heart takes over though, doesn't it??!! You lived a wonderful life....and gave wonder and magic to me and my kids and my brothers and sisters and all of your grandchildren and great grandchildren....I see what you have left....and it was truly a wonderful life you lived...and a wonderful family that still loves and misses you.

I could cry all day....but you would think that was absurd....you lived life to enjoy it!! I will never forget you and always think of you in the simple things....

Tabitha wanted to send you a picture and Aaron told her you were dead...she said she could mail it and he told her you could not receive mail in Heaven....Tabitha and Shamrock (Mary's new dog) fell asleep in your chair...you would've really loved to see that...the way you loved your great grandchildren and dogs!! Caitlin graduated, receiving her Bachelors with honors...Jacob is in the Navy and deployed....got another rank...little Joe is in the Marines....Matt and Meagan graduated high school...Meagan is off to Arizona for college....and on and on...I could share.....

Aaron has your chair now...the only one you let sit in it and you'd rock him!!...Josh has a picture of you on his dresser...the boys love dogs just like you did!!! So does Tabitha...Mary calls her the "Dog Whisperer"...

You would be so proud of all your grandchildren and great grandchildren as they come into their own. I love you!!! I miss you!!! You are alive in each of us!!

I will never say goodbye....I will see you again!! Just as we keep a space empty for you here...keep many spaces empty for us up there!!!




The Beginning.........

It starts the day you are born....someone holds you for the first time and they absolutely love and cherish you the moment they see you. They all of a sudden have an unwavering belief in you that noone else can touch. It is not what they give you monetarily, but the things that money can never replace; an everlasting unspoken feeling that holds you together, picks you up, motivates you, inspires you, yet can give you the moment of peace that you need to love them enough to let go......even as your own breaks apart in peices.

For me it was PopPop...for you it may be Grandpa...Peepa...PaPa...Great Grandpa, but whatever the name...the feeling remains the same.

Memories come from vacation visits....living close to you...picking you up from the bus stop...coming to your first game or play or recital....or sleepovers or late night breakfasts made just for you, your favorite dinners and deserts or family holidays prepared with enough to feed an army......or your day (your birthday) when they act as if there is noone and nothing else in the world that means more. Lunch and a toy store and homemade Italian ice from a stand in the middle of a neighborhood....White Castle....a blow up bed in the living room for you and your kids (when you are an adult, but still consider Him Grandpa or Papa..or Peepa or PopPop). It doesn't matter where the memories are all that matters is that there is time wanted and there is time spent and a new history that is made through the moments that will become memories and histories and through the listening that comes from stories of moments passed, their life, travels, events and feelings that you intently listen to and try to learn from or you are just in awe of because there is so much to learn from, imagine and be proud of...so much history and yesterday era to hear about and envy. The ironic thing is that if you are not the everyday around the corner grandchild or great grandchild he loves you as if you are the everyday.

A Grandpa and a Great Grandpa who's face lights up when he sees you holds an even more special meaning in your life because only you can experience and know what it feels like to be on the other end of it..you are the grand child or the great grandchild....and you know exactly how it feels.

They hold you up without words...keep you going and motivate you because they are proud of you and you in turn want to make them proud. That is a Grandpa, Great Grandpa, PaPa, PopPop, PeePa....the meaning is clear when you have them and clear when you meet others in families just like them. They do not have to hold positions of stature or authority or of high importance in the normal everyday world of others, although some do, but they do hold it in your world and you wouldn't trade them for anyone else and they go very unnoticed in others. They are your stature, your importance and "your world" and "their world".

The love of a PopPop lasts far beyond friends and parents because it upholds things sometimes parents want to leave behind...they have wisdom..they have been there..they know their children...they understand no matter the time away or the distance. I have a PopPop, who I believe led me on a path or stayed to keep me alive in a path he knew I needed to be on.....I love you...I miss you with all my heart...I think of you everyday....unspoken love for you was formed with actions and intent...although my heart breaks eveyday in knowing I cannot see you again...it comes in the form of knowing that I will make you proud.

I lived a lot of my life across the street from my PopPop...did I visit every day? Did I take the time? Was life too crazy and demanding for him and for me? Yes, but I saw him a lot more and got to know him a lot more than a lot of others...I knew him...he knew me...then I moved away and as dementia and alzheimer's took over...I became what's her face from Florida....or he would introduce me to his family (my family too) as if we didn't know each other....Would I trade it for anything???...would I change it???...the only thing I would change is being in the same place with a closer distance between us....my kids have done well and I have too and they still formed a close relationship with someone with a very great land distance between them....but land cannot mark the distance of hearts and feelings.....there are no travels that have lasted longer or endured more.....On the last day I had with my "PopPop" after traveling 17 hours.....I loved him just as much, if not more, than the day I made that distance come between "our" everyday. It was as if he knew I needed him to make it until I got there so I could be okay with his passing....I walked in and he was the skeleton of the man I had seen months before...he had lost his eyesight and could only lay there with his mouth hung open and moan when in pain....I wanted to run and cry and fall down in a ball on the floor...I even started the dart out of the room...just as something in me took hold and told me I had to do this...I had to be there...I had to let go and acknowledge...I could not walk away... that he would never want to be here and if he were on my end of it he would not leave....it was in those moments I realized that the greatest love is that of letting go....hurting and aching....but loving enough....I will miss him everyday even more now because I know I cannot hop in a car or pick up a phone to lessen it....and that is what makes a Grandpa...a Papa...a Peepa..a Great Grandpa...and MY "POPPOP".

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