february angel

by aconnotation

it feels strange to talk about someone in the past tense when i am so used to using the present.
“my grandfather was the epitome of goodness.”
when i desperately want to say, “my grandfather is the epitome of goodness.”
he really, really was.

i don’t know why the most prominent trait that stays with me is his laughter. maybe because he was always doing it. laughing. or because it was just so honest. he had big, booming laughter. the kind that you would hear from the next room and it made you want to run over and see what was happening. he was always lifting weights or just finishing a work out. he was always smoking a marlboro. he had the most penetrating blue eyes i’ve ever seen, but they were also the kindest. he was hardworking and did everything he could for his family. he believed in honor and pride. he was a true example of a real american man.

i remember sleepovers at his house when i was a little girl. the jars of peanuts and candies in his kitchen. the exact set-up of the living room. his dog luke standing guard at the front door. the room at the end of the hallway with a desk in it that i never quite understood the purpose of. you know how there are certain places that stick with you and are your go-to images when you hear a word? well, when i hear the word ‘basement’, no matter what someone is referring to, i immediately think of the basement in that house. small, but comfortable. he had a pool table and a punching bag.

i was his first granddaughter and he was my Meepa. i gave him his name since grandpa was far too hard for me to pronounce and just not worthy enough of his awesomeness.the respect i have for him is immeasurable and i will try my best each day moving forward to be half of the person that he was.

closure is a tricky thing. sometimes it can come incredibly easily, moreso than you believed it could. other times it is much more difficult to attain.

i was not there when my grandfather had a stroke. i was not there when he was in the hospital holding on long enough for everyone to get there. i was 3,500 miles away unable to do anything. i did not see him take his last breath. i did not witness his body jump and then collapse into the calm. i was not there to hold my mother when she did.

my last memories of him come from christmas, when i was home for the holidays and we were eating lasagna at my aunt’s house. i was lucky enough to be seated next to him at the dinner table and kept trying to coax him into eating. at the request of my mother, we all got together for a family portrait. my brother and i drove him home that night and he paused to catch his breath outside of the car in the 20 degree weather. i asked him if he was okay and he assured me that he was just fine. we walked him inside of his house and spent some extra time chatting with him before we went back home. i am so thankful for that night. for saying “i love you” five times. for hugging him and telling him i would see him soon.

that was the best way that i could have said goodbye.

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