On Wednesday morning, God welcomed a very special angel into heaven: my grandfather.
I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was growing up. They are some of the most important people in my life. But for all of us, unfortunately, there will be a time when our grandparents leave us. It doesn’t matter if you knew the day was coming. It doesn’t matter how old you are when it happens. It doesn’t make it hurt any less.
When a grandparent passes they take a part of you: big or small. This death took a big part of me, this was my Dad’s father. My dad who passed away 17 years ago. This is the man who walked me down the aisle alongside my stepfather because my dad wasn’t there. This is the man I shared a birthday with for the past 32 years. So today a big part of me is gone. A part of me that I irrationally thought would never leave. It’s almost like I’m losing my Dad all over again.
In my 32 years I have been lucky enough to make memories with all 4 of my grandparents. One of my grandfathers passed when I was 14 and I miss him every single day. But the memories are still there. The others have been here, fairly healthy…until now. My grandfather lived a long life, he fought cancer and won the fight. He got an extra 5 years of life. But he just couldn’t fight any longer. His body was too weak, he was tired. It was his time to rest.
Living 8 hours away from a family member that is sick is hard. The hardest part about moving away in my opinion. I had to be honest with myself and not pretend otherwise. It meant I haven’t seen him as often as I did when was a child. I moved away, I have a family of my own, I work full-time. But the guilt is no less real.
He loved his family more than life itself. I am so incredibly thankful that my girls got the chance to meet him and spend time with him. That was important to me, knowing they never got to meet my dad.
I cannot say thank you enough to my Uncle for getting me to Maryland this past week. I dreaded going, I hated flying alone, I hated to leave my girls but I knew I had to go. I had to see him. It was difficult for me to accept that the last time I saw my grandfather, someone I cared about deeply, was really the last time. How do you say goodbye knowing that is the last time you will see him alive? I took that hard. But it is a moment I will never regret.
I am so beyond thankful for the alone time I had with him when I got off my flight Sunday evening. Just him and I and I truly believe he knew I was there, I couldn’t understand much of what he said but I could tell he knew it was me. If I wouldn’t have went I would have never forgiven myself.
Life is hard. It’s not easy; nothing worth while is easy. And this certainly has not been easy on me or my family. My heart hurts for my grandmother. My heart aches for my Aunts and Uncles who just lost their Dad, My heart aches for any of you who have lost a grandparent.
So, even though this has been a difficult few days for my entire family, I am comforted by the fact that my grandfather is in a better place, safe and happy. I know he is at peace, and has reunited with his first-born (my Dad) which was probably the most amazing reunion, and best birthday present my dad has received in a while. Yes, yesterday was my Dad’s Birthday. That is God’s way of telling us they are both okay. Everything happens for a reason.
Every breath’s a gift, the first one to the last.
I love you Pappy. Xoxo